Watch CBS News

Best Bourbon Cocktails In Detroit

Bourbon has been a mainstay on the American landscape since it was first distilled in the 1700s. Made from grain, usually corn, the standard process involves aging the spirit in a charred oak barrel. To be considered true bourbon, the alcohol must be contain a minimum of 51 percent corn that is produced in the United States. Savor history with every sip of bourbon at one of these outstanding bars in Detroit. Bottoms up!
Two James
2445 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216

At Two James Distillery, bourbon-affectianados will find one of the best spots for bourbon in town. After all, this bar is billed as the "first legal distillery in Detroit since Prohibition." The tasting room is where visitors can watch bartenders create a mean drink, served up with a smile. The chill vibe meshes perfectly with the modern decor, offering a relaxed place to kick back while the bourbon is a-flowing. Try the  Grass Widow Bourbon, made exclusively on-site — just beyond view, behind the barrels — in the distillery. The high-rye mash content makes every batch of bourbon special, while hints of hazelnut and raisins take it to the next level. The 91 proof on the label ensures it'll knock your socks off in more ways than one. Don't leave without trying "The Vessel," which features bitters and a maple-vanilla foam or the "Disco in the D," made with agave simple syrup and lemon. Can't get enough? Then go for the Brown Bomber, made using Green Widow Bourbon and named after the infamous heavyweight champion Joe Louis.

Related: Best Bars With Local Liquor And Brews In Detroit

Cornerstone Barrel House
1456 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI
(313) 338-3400

With almost 50 bottles of bourbon to choose from, Cornerstone Barrel House pretty much has the bourbon game on lock. This downtown spot specializes in drinks for sipping, and serves up perfection in a glass. Sports fans will appreciate the flat screens located throughout the space. The recently-updated, ultra-modern establishment caters to those looking to savor this fine spirit in all its glory.

Detroit City Distillery
2462 Riopelle St.
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 338-3760

At Detroit City Distillery, almost everything, from beginning to end, is made from scratch. That includes the bourbon. Made in small batches, spirits are made on-site using locally-sourced ingredients. Order a "Liberal," a stiff drink made from citrus, amaro and the distillery's own house-produced Two-Faced Bourbon. Or, take a walk on the wild side and try the unusual "Post Party Depression," made again with Two-Faced Bourbon, cinnamon syrup, cream and nutmeg — the perfect drink for a chilly autumn eve.

Related: Best Historically-Significant Bars In Detroit

Sugar House
2130 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 962-0123

Sugar House takes the classics to create a contemporary speakeasy that specializes in hand-crafted cocktails. The drinks are unsurpassed in their execution and patrons will be hard-pressed to find drinks prepared with more fanfare elsewhere. With nearly 100 bottles of bourbon, there's surely one calling your name. Those in the market for a bourbon cocktail should check out "The Knackery," made with lime, peach preserves, bitters, mint and Four Roses Bourbon, or opt for the "Skeleton Key," a popular drink made with bourbon. Adventure-seekers will want to try the hickory-smoked bourbon cocktail known as the "EFK," a cocktail created using infused Four Roses Bourbon, bitters and lemon syrup. Cheers.

The Oakland Art Novelty Company
201 W. 9 Mile Road
Ferndale, MI
(248) 291-5295

A Prohibition Era vibe and a slow-sipping bourbon drink go hand-in-hand at this Ferndale fave. With a nod in the direction of a  speakeasy, this chic spot marries old school charm with modern sensibility to bring patrons throwback drinks — heavy on the style. The drinks shine, both in their approach and presentation. Order a "Boulevardier" to get started, it's a classic made from Old Forrester bourbon, vermouth and campari.

After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at and

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.