Liquor Laboratory

11 Best Old Fashioned Variations: Cocktail Experience (2024)

Old Fashioned Variations

Venturing into the world of the classic Old Fashioned recipes is like discovering hidden treasures in the realm of mixology.

Having personally savored the complexities of smoky renditions and citrus-kissed innovations of the Classic Old Fashioned, I invite you to join me in this flavorful mixed-drink journey.

Today, I’m excited to share my top picks for Old Fashioned variations that will entice your taste buds and elevate your own home bar experience.

Top 11 Old Fashioned Recipe Variations

1. Christmas Old Fashioned Recipe

Glass of Christmas Old Fashioned Recipe

Have a spicy twist with this Old Fashioned riff. It combines the spiciness of rye whiskey with an allspice dram, delivering medium heat and a festive flavor profile enhanced by a lemon and orange twist.

“A well-made Old Fashioned is like a symphony in a glass.” – Liquor Laboratory

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2oz rye whiskey
  • 1/4oz allspice dram
  • 1-sugar cube (can use brown sugar)
  • 2-dashes aromatic bitters
  • Orange peel

Instructions: Muddle the sugar cube and bitters in your half-pint glass. Pour ice, rye whiskey, and allspice dram. Stir until well chilled and garnish with an orange peel.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

2. Smoking Rosemary Old Fashioned

Glass of Smoking Rosemary Old Fashioned

For a smoky and aromatic experience, this Old Fashioned variation features mezcal infused with rosemary-agave syrup and balanced with aromatic bitters, all garnished with a fragrant rosemary sprig.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2oz mezcal
  • 1/4oz rosemary-infused agave syrup (or agave nectar)
  • 2-dashes Angostura bitters
  • Rosemary sprig

Instructions: Stir mezcal, rosemary-infused agave syrup, and bitters with ice until well mixed. Strain into a rocks glass with one large cube and garnish with a rosemary sprig.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

3. Fancy-Free Old Fashioned Recipe

Glass of Fancy-Free Old Fashioned Recipe

For those who appreciate a touch of luxury, the Fancy-Free Old Fashioned mixes rye whiskey’s bold character with the delightful complexity of maraschino liqueur, all balanced by an orange peel garnish.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2oz rye whiskey
  • 1/4oz maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4oz Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel or Luxardo cherry

Instructions: Stir all ingredients in your mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled rocks glass, extract the oils from the orange peel on top of the drink, and garnish it with orange peel or Luxardo cherry.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

4. Irish Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe 

Irish Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe with liquor Bottles on the Background

This is an Irish twist on the traditional recipe, incorporating the smoothness of Irish whiskey and honey syrup, beautifully contrasted by the flavor notes of lemon peels – enhanced with aromatic bitters.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Irish whiskey
  • 1/4oz honey syrup
  • 2-dashes Angostura bitters
  • Lemon peels

Instructions: Combine Irish whiskey, honey syrup, and bitters in a mixing glass. Pour ice and stir until well mixed.

Strain into your Old Fashioned glass over ice and garnish with a lemon peel.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

5. Bourbon Toscano Cocktail

This is like a classic Old Fashioned cocktail but with an Italian flair, mixing the robust notes of bourbon with the subtle sweetness of Toscano liqueur, orange bitters, and a citrusy orange peel garnish.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2oz bourbon
  • 1/2oz Toscano liqueur
  • 1-(regular) sugar cube
  • 2-dashes orange bitters
  • Orange peels

Instructions: Muddle the bitters and sugar cube in a rocks glass. Add fresh ice, bourbon, and liqueur. Stir until well mixed and garnish/add a twist of orange peel.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

6. Elder Fashioned Cocktail

Glass of Elder Fashioned Cocktail with Black Bckground

This is the perfect cocktail if you’re seeking a sophisticated take on the classic cocktail. This highlights the gin’s twist with the delicate floral notes and a hint of citrus.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Plymouth gin
  • 1/2oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2-dashes orange bitters
  • Grapefruit twist

Instructions: Combine gin, elderflower liqueur [1], and bitters in a mixing glass. Pour ice cubes and stir until well mixed.

Strain into your double rocks glass with ice and garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

7. Forefathers Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

Forefathers Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

This bourbon-based Old Fashioned riff embraces simplicity with demerara syrup and an orange twist, letting the whiskey’s rich flavors dominate while delivering a subtle sweetness (not cotton-candy-like) and citrusy aroma.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2oz bourbon
  • 1/4oz demerara syrup (or simple syrup)
  • 2-dashes aromatic bitters
  • Orange twist (or peach slice)

Instructions: Combine the ingredients with ice until thoroughly chilled. Pour the mixture into an Old Fashioned glass containing one large ice cube. Garnish with an orange twist and enjoy.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

8. Meemaw’s Fig Jam Old Fashioned

Meemaw’s Fig cocktail is the perfect drink for a slightly fruity Old Fashioned twist! It combines bourbon with the luscious sweetness of fig jam and a touch of a citrusy edge.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2oz bourbon
  • 1/4oz fig jam
  • 2-dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange twist

Instructions: Muddle the fig jam and bitters in a rocks glass. Pour ice and bourbon, then stir until well mixed. Garnish it with an orange twist (or orange slice), and the drink is ready to drink!

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

9. Port Old Fashioned Cocktail 

Bartender Making Port Old Fashioned Cocktail 

Indulge in the complexity of tawny port [2] in this Old Fashioned variation, mellowed by simple syrup and uplifted by the zest of a lemon peel garnish.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4oz tawny port
  • 1/2oz simple syrup
  • 4-dashes orange bitters
  • Lemon peels

Instructions: In your mixing glass, stir port, simple syrup, and bitters with ice until well chilled—strain into your Old Fashioned glasses over ice. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Serving: 2

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

10. Wisconsin Old Fashioned

Glass of Wisconsin Old Fashioned

A regional twist on the classic Old Fashioned – the Wisconsin Old Fashioned [3] swaps traditional whiskey for brandy, muddled with maraschino cherries and oranges, creating a fruit-forward delight.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2oz brandy
  • 1-sugar cube
  • 2-dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 orange slices
  • Club soda (can use simple syrup or sparkling water)
  • Maraschino cherry (or brandied cherry)

Instructions: Muddle the sugar, Angostura bitters, cherry, and an orange slice in a rocks glass with ice. Pour brandy and club soda. Stir gently and garnish it with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

11. Benton’s Old Fashioned Cocktail

Glass of Benton’s Old Fashioned Cocktail

This is a rich and indulgent twist on the classic cocktail, featuring deep flavors complemented by a touch of aromatics and zestiness.

“Old Fashioned is the only cocktail really to rival the martini and its variants.” – Kingsley Amis, English Novelist

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2oz bacon-infused bourbon
  • 1/4oz maple syrup
  • 2-dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel

Instructions: In a mixing glass, combine bourbon, maple syrup, and bitters. Add ice and stir until well chilled—strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.

Extract the oils from the orange peel over the drink and garnish.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Note: The star rating was determined during a blind taste based on every cocktail’s flavor balance, aroma, smoothness, ingredients quality, and ABV.

FAQs Related to Old Fashioned Variations

What alcohol is best for an Old Fashioned?

The best alcohol for classic cocktails, like Old Fashioned, is high-rye bourbon or rye whiskey [4]. However, feel free to experiment with different spirits to try Old Fashioned cocktail variations.

What’s the best Old Fashioned variation for Summer?

The best Old Fashioned twist for summer is the Smoking Rosemary Old Fashioned. It contains mezcal, offering a smoky and herbaceous twist perfect for warm-weather sipping.
Other variations to try include the Polo Bar Old Fashioned and the Cotton Candy Old Fashioned.

How do you make a “Maple Old Fashioned” cocktail?

To make a Maple Old Fashioned, muddle an orange slice and a cherry in a glass. Add 2 ounces of bourbon or rye whiskey, a splash of water, and a bar spoon of maple syrup. Stir well, add ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

What is the recipe for a “Smoked Old Fashioned” cocktail?

To make a Smoked Old Fashioned, place a glass over a smoking wood chip and let it fill with smoke. Remove the glass and add ice, 2 ounces of bourbon or rye whiskey, a sugar cube or simple syrup, and a few dashes of bitters.

Can you describe how to make a “Bourbon Cherry Old Fashioned” cocktail?

To make a Bourbon Cherry Old Fashioned, muddle two cherries and a sugar cube (or a teaspoon of sugar) in a glass. Add 2 ounces of bourbon whiskey, a dash of bitters, and ice. Stir well, then garnish with an additional cherry.

Are there any other popular variations of the Old Fashioned cocktail?

Yes, other popular variations include the “Rum Old Fashioned,” made with dark rum instead of whiskey, the “Tequila Old Fashioned,” substituting tequila for whiskey, and the “Apple Cinnamon Old Fashioned,” incorporating apple cider and cinnamon syrup for a seasonal twist.

How do you prepare a “Rum Old Fashioned” cocktail?

To make a Rum Old Fashioned, muddle an orange slice and a cherry in a glass. Add 2 ounces of dark rum, a sugar cube or simple syrup, and a few dashes of bitters. Stir well, add ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

In Summary

In mixology, the Old Fashioned cocktail reigns supreme. However, variations exist, bringing a new dimension to our drinking experience.

From the festive notes of Christmas Old Fashioned to the warmth of Benton’s Old Fashioned, there’s a twist for every palate.

So, why not shake up your cocktail routine and try these delightful Old Fashioned twists? Cheers to your next cocktail adventure!

References:

  1. https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/st-germain-liqueur-tastes-old-world-but-is-a-modern-take-on-elderflower/
  2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/port-wine
  3. https://madison.com/news/state-regional/government-politics/wisconsin-old-fashioned-official-cocktail/article_c9567686-6e98-11ee-afe6-0fce07dcd073.html
  4. https://www.organicfacts.net/rye-whiskey.html
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