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Bourbon slush is a refreshing mixture of tea, orange juice, lemonade, and bourbon for an easy, crowd-pleasing cocktail. Don’t love bourbon? Try it with rum instead!

Glass of bourbon slush garnished with an orange twist.

I started hearing about this bourbon slush – an old recipe of my mom’s from her college days – before I was technically old enough to drink it. 

It was her college roommate’s favorite thing in the world, and the start of more than a few hilarious stories of their shenanigans together. 

I don’t know where the recipe came from or how Momma got her hands on it. And sure, it’s way different than most of the recipes she passed down to me, like her roasted leg of lamb or homemade pimento cheese or pickled cucumbers.

But what I do know is that, 40+ years later, this is a cocktail that stands the test of time and deserves to be made at least once this summer.

Three glasses of bourbon slush next to spoons on a marble board.

What is bourbon slush?

There are a few different ways to make bourbon slush, but most of the classic bourbon slush recipes have some combination of tea, orange juice, lemonade, and bourbon. 

The mix is frozen for several hours. Because of the alcohol and sugar content, it doesn’t freeze completely solid, making it easy to scrape into a slush that you can eat with a spoon or slowly sip through a straw. 

My mom went to college in Kentucky, the home of the famous Bourbon Trail, so it makes sense that she would somehow acquire this recipe during those years. But this stuff is also delicious with rum instead of bourbon.

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 quarts of slush, so it’s a great option for summer parties in place of or alongside punch or other batched party drinks.

Spoon in a glass of bourbon slush garnished with an orange twist.

How to make my mom’s bourbon slush

This bourbon slush recipe is super easy to make, so you’ll see why it was something that my mom could whip up even with a limited kitchen in college.

Ingredients you’ll need

To make this refreshing cocktail, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 black tea bags
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cups cold water
  • ¾ cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 (12-ounce) can of frozen lemonade concentrate
  • ¾ cup bourbon (or rum)
Ingredients for bourbon slush arranged on a countertop.

Don’t feel like you need to be fancy about the black tea you use. Lipton is just fine, especially since we’re going to be adding multiple other ingredients.

Honestly, the same goes for the bourbon. Don’t use your top-shelf stuff here, but don’t use the cheapest bottle you can find, either. 

Go for your favorite mid-range bourbon here, such as Four Roses, Buffalo Trace, Old Forester, etc.

The orange juice and lemonade concentrates don’t need to be fully thawed, but should be slushy enough to mix them with the other ingredients.

You won’t need the full can of orange juice concentrate, so use the rest to make yourself a homemade orange julius.

Making this recipe

The first step to make this bourbon slush is to make what is essentially sweet tea.

Add the black teabags to the boiling water and let them steep for 4 minutes. Once steeped, remove the teabags and add the sugar to the tea. 

Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add the cold water. 

Now you can add the concentrates, bourbon, and the sweet tea mixture to a large freezer-safe container and whisk to combine. Cover and freeze for several hours or overnight.

Serving suggestions

When you’re ready to enjoy your bourbon slush, use a spoon or a fork to scrape it into glasses. If you want to be fancy, feel free to garnish the glasses with an orange or lemon twist.

It’s up to you if you want to eat the slush with a spoon or use a straw. Some folks like to top their slush with a bit of lemon-lime soda to help it be “drinkable” faster, but we have always just enjoyed it as-is!

If you’re throwing a summer party and looking for other refreshing cocktails to serve alongside your bourbon slush, try my friend Susannah’s jungle juice recipe (for another college throwback) or frozen mojitos (for a classier shindig).

Two glasses of bourbon slush garnished with orange twists on a marble board.
Close up of glass filled with bourbon slush.

Bourbon Slush

Bourbon Slush: Make it with bourbon or with rum. Either way, it’s the guaranteed fastest and most delicious way to get a wee bit sloshed
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Freeze Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes


  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 black tea bags
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cups cold water
  • ¾ cup frozen orange juice concentrate thawed enough to mix
  • 1 can frozen lemonade concentrate 12 ounces, thawed enough to mix
  • ¾ cup bourbon or rum


  • Add teabags to boiling water. Steep for 4 minutes; discard teabags. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Add the cold water.
  • Add the orange juice concentrate, lemonade concentrate, tea mixture, and bourbon or rum to a large (2.5-quart) freezer-safe container. Whisk to combine. Cover tightly and freeze for several hours or overnight.
  • When ready to serve, use a spoon or fork to scrape slush into glasses.


Makes around 2 1/2 quarts.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 159mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 81IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Yeeeeew! I’d be so excited too! Have fun, enjoy every moment… how awesome is blogging friendship that becomes face-to-face friendship? As for this bourbon slush, you made it on my birthday so I consider it a present. One that I, uh, have to make myself, I guess… when I get home. Oh well.

  2. My family has made this drink ever since I was a little kid. Yeah, I got the “virgin” version when I was a kid 🙂 Anyway, it’s also fantastic with blackberry brandy and, when you scoop it into a glass, top it with Sprite, 7-up, Ginger Ale, or my favorite, Squirt 😉 It’s also fun to add canned fruit to it before freezing.

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