Top 10 Best Bourbon Whiskey For Old Fashioned Cocktails
Although weve already covered the best bourbon to buy online, the right whiskey to use in an Old Fashioned cocktail merits its own guide. Indeed, its probably one of the most popular cocktails and people often wonder what bourbon they should add.
In this guide, we will present you with the top 10 best bourbon whiskey for an Old Fashioned cocktail:
Old Fashioned Recipe With Mixer
2oz Bourbon or Rye1/2oz;Classic Old Fashioned mixer
Combine whiskey and mixer in a tall glass filled with ice. Stir 20-30 seconds, strain into a whiskey glass. No garnish needed, but if you have an orange peel handy it wont hurt! Curious if a store near you carries Spiced Old Fashioned check our;store locator.
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A Classic Whisky Cocktail Old Fashioned
I love the fact that classic cocktails the kind that my dad used to make without too much hassle are making a comeback.; One classic whisky cocktail, an Old Fashioned is one of the best ways I know to enjoy a single malt, and its also incredibly simple to put together.; Much as I love the fine dining cocktails you get in Londons top bars, just as I enjoy a well-prepared steak or a platter of oysters with traditional service, cocktails like the Old Fashioned are classics for a reason.
George Kappelers Whiskey Old Fashioned is quite simple.; You need a lump of sugar, a little water, two dashes of;Angostura bitters, ice and lemon peel.; And, about 60ml of whiskey.;; All you do is dissolve the sugar in the water, before adding the remaining ingredients and mixing with a small bar-spoon.; He suggested serving with the spoon in the glass.
Meanwhile, the lovely people at Glen Moray have been sharing their own Old Fashioned recipes with me.; Last year, at about this time I shared the Port Cask Finish Old Fashioned, which is made with Earl Grey Syrup.; This year, Im going back to the classic and sharing a classic whisky cocktail recipe for an Old Fashioned.; Its one of those recipes which is so simple there are only a few things you can do to make it different but I do think its important to remember a few details.
Secondly, the garnish of orange and a cocktail cherry is important.
For a classic Old Fashioned whisky cocktail, Id recommend using the Glen Moray Elgin Classic.
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How To Make An Old Fashioned
A revered drink, many assume that making an Old Fashioned is difficult and time-consuming, but that couldnt be further from the truth. First, choose the best whiskey; a quality American whiskey bourbon or rye is required. This is a serious cocktail where the spirit stands front and centre, with no bells and whistles to distract from its flavour.
Sugar is required. In the past bartenders would most likely have used loaf sugar, nowdays a sugar cube is often used, although some do make use of a pre-made sugar syrup.
If not using a syrup, the sugar cube needs to be diluted, and the best way to do this is to soak it in a couple of dashes of bitters, add a dash of water and muddle or stir them.
The traditional bitters used in an Old Fashioned no longer exist, and todays go-to brand is Angostura, a safe option that produces a solid drink. For those wanting to explore the history of the cocktail further, Dr Adam Elmegirabs Bokers Bitters recreates one of the classic bitters that were used.
For those interested in experimenting further, changing the bitters can produce interesting yet subtle variations in flavour.
There has been much misconception over the use of fruit in an Old Fashioned over the decades. Cocktail purists would baulk at the idea of muddling fruit in it steer clear and simply add an orange twist.
Jim Beam Black Bourbon Whiskey
- Country of Origin: USA
- Distillery:;Jim Beam American Stillhouse
- Region: Clermont, Kentucky
- Age: Straight NAS
- Casking: Virgin White Oak
Once sporting an 8-year age statement, Jim Beams Black Extra Aged is said to have matured for around 6 years before being bottled. While not as refined as its own Double-Oak or the small-batch Knob Creek expressions it owns, its a step above the classic white label.
Generally speaking, its quite inexpensive and a great choice as your primary Old Fashioned ingredient. Its a classic bourbon with a straightforward oak essence thats supported by glimmering hints of vanilla and caramel.
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Basil Haydens Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Basil Haydens is a stand alone bourbon, enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or triumphantly in an Old Fashioned. Its a bourbon sparked with rye, so yes, its spicy. But the rich aromatic notes of honey, peppermint, and citrus envelope the senses, welcoming your taste buds like an old companion.
Rarely does such a unique combination of quality and craft manifest itself in a way youre left wondering; why havent I experienced this before? Basil Haydens is a single small batch bourbon patiently aged and bottled at 80 proof. However, dont mistake its proof as a sign of a mild temperament. No, this bourbon is bold and savory.
At first sip, youll be curious who was asleep at the wheel when it was priced. Few, other rye-laced bourbons can compare to Basil Haydens quality at this price point. So, if youre looking for an amazing addition to your Old Fashioned recipe, this is a must-try spirit. Really, whats stopping you?
How much does Basil Haydens Kentucky Bourbon cost?
Basil Haydens Kentucky Straight Bourbon costs around $45 per bottle.
An Old Fashioned Is Different In Wisconsin
If you are in, from, or merely paying homage to the Badger State, then you’ll need to ignore all of the above rules and caveats. The Wisconsin Old-Fashioned, which is the much-beloved state drink, is an entity unto itself. While cocktail snobs from the other 49 states and outside the U.S. may recoil in horror, Wisconsinites simply do not care.;
John Dye, owner of Milwaukee’s legendary cocktail lounge Bryant’s, puts things in perspective for The Midwestival: “There are two Old Fashioneds; honestly they’re two different drinks at this point. I personally think the Wisconsin’s version has a more solid history… It’s been served in old men’s basements and in corner bars consistently for over 100 years.”; In fact, the Old Fashioned is so much a part of state lore that you can get a deep-fried version at the Wisconsin State Fair and local brewer Sprecher even released an Old Fashioned-flavored hard seltzer
So how do you make a Wisconsin Old Fashioned? You use brandy, not whiskey. Keep the sugar, keep the bitters, definitely don’t lose the fruit, and do top your drink with soda seltzer, sweet , or sour . Enjoy your drink with a side of cheese curds and Packers football, and don’t even think about what the cocktail snobs might say. Making your Old Fashioned the Wisconsin way isn’t rule-breaking, after all, it’s just honoring tradition.
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Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve
This 120 proof bourbon is 6th on this list only because of its price. Otherwise, itd be much higher. Its among the most expensive whiskey listed, but its well worth the mention.
Since each bottle of Knob Creek Single Barrel is bottled from an individual barrel, each batch varies slightly in both aroma and taste. Nevertheless, this powerful bourbon stands out from the crowd with a gentle nutty finish determined to impress.
Faqs About Bourbon For Old Fashioned
What is the best bourbon for an Old Fashioned?
If you have tried Old Fashioned and it is all you can drink, you can switch up a bit the bourbon in it and you will always have the same cocktail and yet with a slighty different ingredients.
Is Old Fashioned similar to Manhattan?
No. These two cocktails are not the same, as the Old Fashioned is made with bourbon whiskey, bitters and sugar, whereas the Manhattan contains rye whiskey and sweet vermouth with sugar.
Is the Old Fashioned a manly drink?
Well, I wouldnât put the Old Fashioned as only a man drink, but it certainly is ordered among many men due to itâs strong combination of bourbon, bitters and sugar.
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A Few Things To Consider When Choosing A Bourbon
There are some things that you should know about bourbon before you go on your journey of trying to find the perfect bourbon for an old fashioned. Bourbon has to be aged at least two years. There are some options that are aged longer. One thing is to consider what type of cocktail you are going to make or if you are going to simply sip on your bourbon.
If you are someone who likes to sip on bourbon, you should consider checking out a few things. One of these is to always consider first the types of notes and flavors that you enjoy from a bourbon. This is so that you do not have to worry about not enjoying the bourbon that you are sipping.
Some bourbons definitely have more spiciness with stronger flavors of pepper, while others are sweeter and feature stronger hints of caramel and vanilla. Now if you are going to be making cocktails, whether it be the Old Fashioned, a Mint Julep, Bourbon and Sprite, a Manhattan, or something completely unique, you will want to choose the flavor profile that is going to best marry or pair with the cocktail flavors that you are trying to achieve. By thinking about these things up front, you are sure to find the perfect bourbon for your needs.
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked is an innovative approach to twice-barreled bourbon that creates a rich and colorful flavor unlike any other bourbon in the market. Starting with Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which is matured in handcrafted new white oak barrels; the bourbon is then uniquely matured for a second time in another new barrel. The second barrel is deeply toasted before a light charring, creating the unique flavors of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, a smooth, full-bodied bourbon with a long, rich finish.
This spirit is already a little bitter to begin with, so it needs some extra help in the sugar or simple syrup department to make it passable. Otherwise theres just too much bitterness in the glass.
The flavors overall are great, though. With that extra sweetness added, the cocktail is quite nice, and the extra vanilla and oak flavors of the spirit balance nicely with the orange peel and other fruity notes.
How much does Woodford Reserve Double Oaked cost?
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked costs around $50 per bottle.
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How To Make An Old Fashioned Cocktail
An Old Fashioned is a very popular whiskey cocktail. It is a cocktail that could be made from a spicy rye whiskey as well, but today bourbon is preferred. Keep in mind that the bourbon that you choose can drastically change the flavor profile your Old Fashioned has.
In my list of the best bourbons for an Old Fashioned, I add some tasting note comments for you to help you pick the bourbon that best feeds your personal preference.
There are a few different recipes out there for an Old Fashioned. Some use lemons or oranges instead of cherry as the garnish. Some use simple syrup instead of raw sugar. They all use bitters, but some use flavored bitters.
This is the basic Old Fashioned recipe that I use. It is classic and it is a good place to start. It will also help you to identify if you are looking for something else.
Use Rich Simple Syrup
The sugar cube is one Old Fashioned tradition that can definitely be skipped. While many recipes call for it, it offers no advantage over using a rich simple syrup and has several disadvantages. Most obviously, you have to find and buy sugar cubes and a muddler. Not always easy depending where you live, and ordering online cant be done in a pinch. Even once you have obtained sugar cubes, you then have to attempt to dissolve the sugar in bitters and water. In our experience all the work has little payout- you just end up with sugar floating in your drink.
Why not use regular simple syrup in your Old Fashioned cocktail? You totally can however, since rich syrup has a higher ratio of sugar to water, ;it allows you to add the required sweetness without diluting the drink as much as regular simple syrup would.
A rich simple syrup is easy to make; just combine 2 parts sugar and 1 part water in a pan. For home use, 1 cup sugar and a ½ cup water makes plenty of syrup. Set the heat to low and stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved, being sure to not let the syrup boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat off and let the sugar cool completely before using.
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Its The Very Definition Of Cocktail
Spirit, sugar, water, bittersthis is the technical definition of a cocktail. In a duo of articles in the Federalist newspaper from Hudson, New York, The Balance and Columbian Repository, cocktail is mentioned in print twice in May 1806, with the second laying out these four components, which, as a matter fact, sound an awful lot like the Old Fashioned.
Why Is It Called An Old
Modern drinkers can relate to the story of the old-fashioned. This cocktail sparked the same type of “old versus new” debates in the late 19th-century bar that;modern “martini” menus;produce today. In truth, the old-fashioned was considered “old-fashioned” over a hundred years ago.
Around the 1880s,;the American cocktail scene;really started to boom. Bartenders were creating new drinks with curaçao, absinthe, syrups, and fruit juices, and they were a hit. There were, of course, the holdouts, those nostalgic drinkers who wanted a simple drink with a kick like they got in the “old days.” To them, all of the fancy stuff was a waste of time. After countless newspaper editorials and bar debates, the old-fashioned got its official name. It was first published under the name in Theodore Proulx’s 1888 “The Bartenders Manual.”
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Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey
- Country of Origin: USA
- Age: Straight NAS
- Casking: Virgin White Oak
While Woodford Reserve may not be our favourite bourbon, it ranks highly as our primary Old Fashioned cocktail ingredient. As we commented in our main top 10 guide linked in the previous sentence, this Brown-Forman creations is mild, light, and subtle.
In some cases, this characteristic can be perceived as a weakness. Yet, its also Woodford Reserves greatest strength, especially if youre not a big whiskey drinker. When mixed into an Old Fashioned, it seamlessly integrates the aromatic bitters and orange peel oils.
Meanwhile, it imparts its oil subtle vanilla and honey flavours into the concoction. Of course, if you like an Old Fashioned with a kick, its not the bourbon for you. However, if like them smooth and easy to drink, its a fantastic choice.
“A smooth and subtle bourbon that takes on the flavours of other ingredients while effortlessly imparting its own.”
Features Of Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon
Jim Beamâs bonded bourbon has some features that have probably helped it along its journey to becoming a popular and favorite choice. It has a nice flavor of charred oak. In addition, there are some unique hints of flavor with this bourbon. You get the distinct flavor of white pepper, caramel corn, and sarsaparilla. This combination of flavors might not sound delicious when you are reading this, but trust us, if you have not had Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon before, you need to make sure that you stop and pick up a bottle today.
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You Can Make It With Brandy
The Old Fashioned is a perfect receptacle for Wisconsins beloved brandy, a spirit cherished and carried over by the many German immigrants who settled in the state in the late 19th century, says Wisconsin-born Robert Simonson, author of The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the Worlds First Classic Cocktail with Recipes & Lore. These days, I doubt most Wisconsinites think hard about the origins of the Brandy Old Fashioned, where it came from and why they drink so many of them. It would be like questioning heavy snowfall in January. Wisconsin, more than most states, is a great incubator of old drinking styles and traditions. Once they latch onto something, they dont let go, and theyre not easily swayed by trends, which they rightly eye with skepticism.
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Bourbon whiskey is made from a combination of different grains. Woodford Reserves recipe comprises 18% rye, a relatively high amount for bourbon, which will provide chocolatey, spicy notes in the whiskey. The ryes influence is found here, with cocoa, cinnamon and tobacco spice accompanied by orange peel, ginger and vanilla. Alc 45.2%;
Originally published in December 2020 and updated in May 2021.
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Whiskey History: The Origin Of The Old Fashioned
The origin of the Old Fashioned can be linked to two distinct places, but its recipe remains mostly the same: the smooth taste of your favorite whiskey mixing with bitters, sugar and an orange peel. We trace the tangled web of whiskey history in this blog to find the origin of this favorite cocktail.
To check out more whiskey history, including that of the Whiskey Rebellion, itself, .
Every bar has its own version of the classic Old Fashioned, and while some of us are purists and others are experimentalists, we can all agree that the creation of this cocktail is worthy of celebration. Follow along or scroll down to the bottom of the page where were sharing a recipe guaranteed to have you mixing up your own tonight.;
The Old Fashioned was first referenced around 1806, but it wasnt the Old Fashioned as we know it today. In fact, an Old Fashioned was the first name people started calling cocktails, and it referenced a style of mixology. These Old Fashioned recipes included all types of spirits from gin to mezcal, much like the Old Fashioned fusions of today.;
This was the case into the 1860s when it became even more common for people to order bitters, water and sugar with their favorite spirit of choice. In 1882, a bartender in Chicago reported that the most popular incarnation was an old-fashioned made with rye whiskey.