Sweet and smooth, this Bourbon Old Fashioned is a delicious twist on the classic old-fashioned cocktail and made for fireside sipping!
Now that fall is rolling around (well, at least according to the calendar!) I’m in the mood for richer and spicier cocktails like a Bourbon Martini or this kicked up Rum Mule. But my new favorite? This bourbon old fashioned cocktail!
So, the Old Fashioned Cocktail has a bit of reputation for being strong and a” bit rough around the edges” – and I agree! Well, at least I did before tasting this one. With its smooth, honey, bourbon and citrus flavors .. well, it’s an entirely different matter!
I won’t lie to you, this bourbon cocktail is a bit potent – but it’s absolutely delicious and just the thing for sipping while sitting around a fire with good friends!
So what exactly is an Old Fashioned?
An American classic, the Old Fashioned is considered the “gold standard” of cocktails. Traditionally, the Old Fashioned is made with whisky (rye or bourbon), sugar and bitters. The cocktail is stirred and served over fresh ice in a rocks glass with an orange twist garnish.
Fun Fact: Originally the Old Fashioned cocktail was made with gin – which doesn’t sound very appealing! Happily, in about 1880, Holland gin was replaced with bourbon and the Old Fashioned Cocktail has remained pretty much unchanged since then.
Bourbon Old Fashioned Ingredients:
It’s a fairly simple cocktail to make and is easily adapted to your personal tastes. With such a short ingredient list (liquor & sweetener) the variations on this basic formula are almost endless!
- Bourbon or rye whisky: for this cocktail, I like using a Kentucky Straight Bourbon and have used both Woodford Reserve or Elijah Craig. I’ve also made it with Rittenhouse Rye and loved that as well. The rye version is definitely stronger and has a bit more bite, but it’s definitely a variation you should try!
- Triple sec or Cointreau – OPTIONAL but it’s an absolutely delicious addition.
- Sugar cube – I substituted Orange blossom honey which gives the drink a smoother texture and flavor.
- Orange bitters – Regan’s is my favorite, but use whatever Orange bitters you have. Don’t have orange bitters? Peychaud’s and Angostura are both used in this drink, so feel free to substitute!
In cocktails with such a short ingredient list, the quality of the ingredients makes a huge difference! Choose a high-quality bourbon or rye. Looking for the best bourbon for an Old Fashioned cocktail? check out this Huffington Post article!
Tips for making this Traditional Bourbon Old Fashioned recipe
- Mixing: Purists may balk, but I stir the sugar (or honey if using) with the bourbon in a mixing glass before adding the ice so that that sugar is fully dissolved in the bourbon.
- Ice: for serving, use large ice cubes or splurge for one of the large cube or sphere molds! Large ice melts more slowly and keeps the cocktail from becoming too diluted.
- Garnish: the traditional garnish is an orange twist – “twisted” over the cocktail to release some of the essential oils. Sometimes, bartenders will run the orange twist around the rim of the glass before adding it to the drink. I used a dried slice of orange, but feel free to garnish as you see fit!
- Glassware: a traditional Old Fashioned glass or Rocks glass is what you want for this drink. If you don’t have one, use any short glass that you have.
And that’s all there is to making the perfect Bourbon Old Fashioned!!
Looking for other Easy Cocktail Recipes? These drinks are sure to wet your whistle!
- Gin and Ginger Ale – A bright and refreshing combo with lemon and mint!
- Vodka Martini – the classic with a “dirty” little twist!
- Key lime Martini – a perfectly balanced lime and coconut cocktail!
- Gin Fizz – all gussied up with pomegranate and lime!
- Cosmopolitan Cocktail – grapefruit vodka takes this one over the top!
- Bourbon Manhattan – how to make the best Manhattan ever!
If you enjoyed this old fashioned bourbon recipe, I would love for you to leave a comment and rate it!! Cheers! Nancy
Honey Bourbon Old Fashioned
- 2 oz. high quality bourbon Elijah Craig or Woodford Reserve
- ½ oz. Cointreau or a good quality Triple Sec
- 1 spoon orange blossom honey
- 3 dashes orange bitters I used Regan’s
- In a glass, mix the bourbon, Cointreau, orange blossom honey and bitters together with ice.
- Garnish with a candied orange slice or fresh orange slice.
- For this bourbon old fashioned, use a good quality bourbon. I like both Elijah Craig and Woodford Reserve. Jack Daniel’s would also work, but I find it’s a bit rougher for a cocktail such as this one.
- As for the orange liqueur, I used Cointreau, but any good quality Triple Sec works well. You could also use Grand Marnier, but the drink will have a bit more kick to it!
- This is a great cocktail to batch for parties. Just mix up the ingredients (sans ice) then measure into a glass with ice, stir and garnish!