Old Fashioned. The story continues

For me, Old Fashioned cocktail is a pure inspiration. I love it made in traditional way with bourbon and also I love to tweak a bit the cocktail’s classic recipe.

My first post is dedicated to normal Old Fashioned. Current one is about all Old Fashioned variations I love so much.

In my work I applied two basic methods: a) to change a spirit and b) to replace (partially) syrup with a liqueur. Additionally I was trying to combine various bitters and extracts.

Another method  is to mix two or more brown spirits. In my opinion that’s a tricky way and today I feel I’m not ready to go in for these experiments. Now I just adopt another bloggers’ practices, and my latest effort was theSpeakista’s cocktail called Final Five. That’s not Old Fashioned but I dare suppose it a cocktail in Old Fashioned style. In any case, I’ve made two cocktail in similar manner and wrote about it below.

Rum is the first spirit I think about when I look for bourbon alternative in Old Fashioned. I’ve already made Rum Old Fashioned and now my cocktail will be with rum that really differs from English-style dark rums.

Cane Old Fashioned

  • 50 ml aged rhum agricole (La Mauny Rhum Agricole Ambre),
  • 10 ml Demerara syrup,
  • 1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters,
  • 2 dash homemade aromatic bitters,
  • 5 drops vanilla extract.

Combine all components in an old fashioned glass. Add ice and stir shortly.

«Spicy» is the proper definition for this cocktail. Spices from bitters combine with agricole special dry wood flavour as cane sugar note work as a link between wood and spice tones. Agricole flavour dominates, and spices make amazing background for it.

Scotch whisky doesn’t look like usual Old Fashioned component although some mixologists use it there. I feel that Scotch whisky and Angostura bitters don’t work well together so I was trying to find another ingredients for my Scotch Old Fashioned.

Scotsman On Vacations

  • 50 ml Dewar’s Special Reserve Scotch Whisky,
  • 5 ml rock candy syrup,
  • 1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters,
  • 2 dash Angostura orange bitters,
  • 2 dash pastis (Pernod).

Combine all components in an old fashioned glass. Add ice and stir shortly.

Scotsman On Vacations

It was great temptation to use Drambuie instead of sugar because Scotch whisky loves anise and honey so much. But Drambuie surely turns the cocktail to Rusty Nail variation and that’s not the way for me.

I decide to gamble on the pair of anise and orange peel – it was so tasty in Borden Chase.

The cocktail produces nice honey-anise-orange aroma on the thick background of sometimes dry and sometimes sweet taste of aged blended whisky by Dewar’s. The honey note was a surprise. I think the whisky in combination with sugar and bitters imitated light honey hint.

My next cocktail is an example of successful combination of two brown spirits. It’s called «Jaunty Angle» and I would like to thank Matt Robold for the recipe.

Jaunty Angle

  • 45 ml aged rum (El Dorado 12yo Special Reserve Demerara Rum),
  • 25 ml rye whiskey (Rittenhouse Rye 80 proof Whiskey),
  • 1 tsp Green Chartreuse,
  • 2 dash Angostura aromatic bitters,
  • 1 dash Angostura orange bitters,
  • 1 tsp simple syrup.

Stir with ice in a mixing glass and strain into old fashioned glass (without ice). Garnish with an orange twist.

To be honest, the pair of Chartreuse and aged rum seems very doubtful for me. I just cannot imagine the combination. But don’t be afraid, it works!

This strong and aromatic cocktail wins over with spicy dry taste combining herbal and anise notes from the liqueur and powerful rum flavour of molasses, spices and wood. I can’t detect whiskey influence – maybe only in dry aftertaste and I really wonder how good rye whiskey will work here. As I wrote many times earlier, unfortunately rye whiskey is completely unavailable in Russia so I have no other alternative for my only rye whiskey.

Brandy was my second basic alternative spirit for Old Fashioned as well as first one – rum. It was enthralling experience but here I give only two recipes I rate as the best.

French Old Fashioned #2

Combine all components in an old fashioned glass. Add ice and stir shortly.

Benedictine and Armagnac combination is a real thing. I have no doubts in it so I just enjoy my cocktail. The liqueur floral and herbal flavour profile with light honey note was exceptional here as a tool to enhance strong wood and fruit taste of Armagnac. Spice hints were deeply behind this bouquet and work mainly in the aftertaste.

My other brandy based Old Fashioned was with Cognac so it inherits complex and noble wood, tobacco and cacao aroma.

French Old Fashioned #3

  • 50 ml Cognac (Monnet VSOP Cognac),
  • 10 ml Meukow Vanilla liqueur,
  • 1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters,
  • 2 dash homemade coffee bitters,
  • 1 dash rock candy syrup.

Combine all components in an old fashioned glass. Add ice and stir shortly.

French Old Fashioned #3

Unique vanilla and spice flavoured cognac liqueur by Meukow turns this cocktail to hot and dry exotic drink full of earthen and wood notes. Medium-bodied Monnet VSOP Cognac was chosen to bring elegant hints of oak and chocolate and not to interfere with luxurious bouquet of Meukow Vanilla.

The combination brings success so the cocktail flourish with amazing aroma of oak, cardamom, coffee, charcoal, cloves and cacao. Also in aftertaste vanilla, tannin, bitter chocolate and leather come from the background.

Sugar syrup effectively helps to control dry balance: without sugar it’s dry and restrained but a dash of syrup add a touch of sophisticated luxury to the cocktail.

Some sources call for rye whiskey as a base spirit for Old Fashioned. Having no proper rye whiskey, I’ve gave a try to aged Canadian whisky as a rye whiskey substitute.

Ontario Old Fashioned

  • 50 ml Canadian whisky (Canadian Club Classic 12yo Whisky),
  • 2 tsp (6 ml) maraschino liqueur (Luxardo Maraschino Originale),
  • 1 dash simple syrup,
  • 1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters.

Combine all components in an old fashioned glass. Add ice and stir shortly.

Light and dry whisky flavour makes the cocktail’s taste. Clear, light and austere, this taste so differs from rich bourbon or rum bouquets. But backed with light floral sweetness of maraschino, it flourishes in delicious drink with nice almonds hint in the aftertaste. For certain, Canadian whisky produces very light Old Fashioned with modest dryness and little sweetness.

The next cocktail’s unusual combination of Old Fashioned concept and Italian amaro. I’m a fan of these herbal bitter liqueurs, and my current passion is Amaro Nonino. It’s inimitable on the rocks so that’s why I’ve gave it a try in the Old Fashioned cocktail.

Nonino Old Fashioned

  • 30 ml Amaro Nonino,
  • 20 ml bourbon whiskey (Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky),
  • 1 dash Angostura orange bitters.

Combine all ingredients in old fashioned glass, add ice and stir. Garhish with a piece of orange peel.

Nonino Old Fashioned

It’s a strong cocktail with pleasant silk mouthfeel. The sip was unusually sweet but on the palate dryness came to the front as whiskey oak barrel note combined with amaro’s floral aroma and light honey tone turned to subtle bitterness. After swallowing amaro flavour dominated and sent bourbon to the background where it works along with a grappa thick warm wave.

Touch of orange zest freshened up the aftertaste before long and a little bitter finish brings herbal dryness and light pepper note.

The next cocktail is a grand finale for my post. That’s an unpretentious adaptation of the grandiose Cubed Old Fashioned by Jamie Boudreau.


¾ oz Remy VSOP (or any good cognac)
¾ oz Appleton V/X (or any good rum)
¾ oz Rittenhouse 100 (or any good rye/bourbon)
½ oz Old Fashioned syrup
1 dash Bitter Truth Xocolatl Mole bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Angostura orange bitters

stir all ingredients with ice
strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with one giant ice chunk
garnish with orange zest and brandied cherry resting on the top of the glass

Old Fashioned Syrup

200 mL Bourbon or rye
100 mL Angostura bitters
550 mL Turbinado sugar
5 cloves
7 allspice
3 star anise

stir ingredients in a pot over low heat until all sugar is incorporated
let cool
strain and funnel into a sanitized bottle
add 1 oz of bourbon/rye to help preserve your syrup

I wasn’t able to reproduce it accurately so I’ve got slightly different cocktail.

All Stars Old Fashioned

  • 25 ml Cognac (Monnet VSOP Cognac),
  • 25 ml dark rum (Appleton Estate V/X Rum),
  • 25 ml bourbon whiskey (Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon),
  • 10 ml rock candy syrup,
  • 2 dash homemade aromatic bitters,
  • 2 dash Angostura aromatic bitters,
  • 2 dash Angostura orange bitters,
  • 5 drops vanilla extract.

Stir all components in mixing glass and strain in old fashioned glass with two large ice cubes.

The taste and the texture are stunning – smooth, mellow, splendid, deep and solid at the same time. It’s hard to define which ingredient gives more to the taste – all they are equally influential, all they create together harmonious taste. Maybe rum note is brighter and light chocolate hint reminds of cognac. Of course, aftertaste is dry and very spicy.