Who wants a drink? It’s been a long week. Let’s relax with an Old Fashioned, one of the oldest cocktails around. The Old Fashioned is for whiskey lovers, certainly, but it also might convince naysayers to become whiskey cocktail drinkers after all.
Like mulled wine, the Old Fashioned is perfect during the holidays, on chilly evenings, and basically any time you find yourself sitting around a fire. It’s a bold, dynamic drink that’s a little citrusy and a little sweet.
I came up with one delicious twist on the classic recipe, which also happens to be a shortcut. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, I bet you can guess what it is.
That’s right, I used maple syrup instead of simple syrup. Historically, Old Fashioned cocktails are made with a sugar cube or simple syrup. I’m here to tell you that they taste better with maple syrup, which complements bourbon’s caramel notes and stirs in like a dream.
Back when the Old Fashioned gained popularity, maple syrup was not readily accessible. Lucky for us, it is now. This recipe yields the best Old Fashioned you’ll ever make at home. I hope you’ll give it a try!
Old Fashioned Cocktail Ingredients
Bourbon whiskey is the principle ingredient in your Old Fashioned, so choose a good one. Low-quality bourbons are just too harsh here.
One of the best bourbons for Old Fashioned cocktails is Four Roses. It’s 80-proof, so it’s not overpoweringly strong. It’s also affordable and blends beautifully into cocktails, offering notes of cinnamon spice and vanilla.
Note: Rye also works in Old Fashioned cocktails, but I prefer bourbon’s sweeter flavor to rye’s astringency. You do you.
Like I said, most Old Fashioned recipes call for a sugar cube or spoonful of simple syrup. Sugar is gritty; simple syrup is an extra step; they’re both just sweet.
Real maple syrup is easy to mix into the drink and tastes wonderful. We won’t use much of it, so the flavor is subtle.
Bitters are made with a blend of botanicals and just a couple of drops lend a ton of flavor and complexity to the drink. You cannot go wrong with classic Angostura bitters.
Oftentimes, bartenders will add another dash of bitters from a different brand, so you can come up with your own combination if you’d like.
Ice cools down the drink and dilutes it a bit, which mellows the sharp bite of alcohol. I prefer to use extra-large ice cubes that I freeze in this ice cube tray (affiliate link). Large ice cubes are ideal because they melt more slowly, and you’ll only need one per drink.
No classic Old Fashioned is complete without a twist of citrus. I prefer orange to lemon, but you can use either one. Or, use both orange and lemon peel for a combination dubbed “rabbit ears.”
Optional: Cocktail Cherry
More Bourbon & Whiskey Drinks to Sip
Like this Old Fashioned, all of these cocktails are naturally sweetened with just a touch of maple syrup or honey.
Please let me know how your cocktails turn out in the comments. I love hearing from you.
Old Fashioned Cocktail
- Prep Time: 3 minutes
- Total Time: 3 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
- Category: Cocktail
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: American
This Old Fashioned cocktail recipe calls for maple syrup instead of plain simple syrup. It’s the best Old Fashioned you’ll ever have! Recipe yields 1 drink. See note on how to make in bulk.
- 2 ounces bourbon (I like Four Roses)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon maple syrup, to taste
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Ice, preferably large cubes
- Orange peel, for garnish
- Optional: 1 Luxardo cherry or other cocktail cherry, for garnish
- In a lowball glass, pour in the bourbon, ½ teaspoon maple syrup and a couple dashes of bitters. Stir to combine.
- Add a large ice cube or several small, and gently stir in a circular motion until the drink is very cold, about 20 seconds. Taste, and stir in ¼ to ½ teaspoon more maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter drink.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove a hefty strip of orange peel. Gently twist it, skin side down, over the drink to release the oils. Then place the orange peel in the glass. Enjoy.
Measurement tip: Two ounces is ¼ cup. I like to use this stainless steel jigger (affiliate link) for measuring small amounts of liquid.
*How to multiply: You can make a batch of Old Fashioned cocktails. Place a handful or two of ice cubes in a pitcher. Multiply the base ingredients (bourbon, maple syrup, Angostura) as necessary and stir them together. Pour into glasses with fresh ice.