The winter old fashioned is a cozy take on a classic cocktail! It is perfect to serve during the colder months or as festive Christmas cocktail! While it's not the most traditional recipe, it will soon become a seasonal favorite!
A winter old fashioned is ideal for the cold winter months. It'll warm you right up! Enjoy this drink curled up by the fire with a good book or good company.
Traditionally an old fashioned is made with a sugar cube instead of simple syrup. For this drink I replaced the sugar cube with brown sugar spiced simple syrup! The spiced simple syrup contains warming spices and truly encompasses the best winter flavors.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's a fun twist on a classic.
- You can use bourbon or whiskey.
- The warming spices in the simple syrup create the wintery cozy vibes.
- The rosemary and cranberry garnishes make it perfect for Christmas!
- Large ice cube tray - large ice will dilute the cocktail slowly. Smaller ice dilutes the drink faster therefore changing the qualities of the cocktail quicker. Have the ice made and ready to go before making this drink.
- Lighter or matches - I highly recommend trying out this cocktail with smoked rosemary for an elevate drink experience. See the step by step instructions below.
- Strainer - to strain out the smaller ice cubes used to mix the drink.
- Old fashioned glass - or any shorter glass. A stemless wineglass will work as well as a small jar if you don't have any old fashioned glasses.
- Whiskey or bourbon - I like to use Bulleit bourbon or Knob Creek rye whiskey (pictured above).
- Brown sugar spiced simple syrup - contains brown sugar, water, rosemary and whole cloves. Get the full recipe here.
- Angostura bitters - bitters are a staple for old fashioned cocktails!
- Garnishes - rosemary sprigs, cranberries and a fresh orange peel.
- Ice - you will need regular ice cubs for mixing the drink and 1 large ice cube (per cocktail) for serving.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Spiced Simple Syrup
You will need light brown sugar, water, fresh rosemary springs and whole cloves. For the full recipe with instructions and helpful tips head over to my brown sugar spiced simple syrup recipe.
Combine all the ingredients into a sauce pan and stir well until the brown sugar dissolves. Let the flavors infuse for 15 minutes before straining out the spices. Make sure the syrup has cooled to room temperature before using it in a cold cocktail.
Step by Step Instructions
Add the ice, whiskey, spiced simple syrup, and 3 dashes of angostura bitters to a glass or jar. Stir well for 15 -20 seconds.
Pour the cocktail into a glass with 1 large ice cube. Strain out the ice used to mix with. Add a sprig of rosemary, 3 cranberries and an orange peel.
Optional: For smoked rosemary, light the upper-middle part of the rosemary on fire.
Blow out the lit rosemary and allow the cocktail to smoke for aromatics. Enjoy!
Hint: The smoked rosemary is completely optional but it adds another element to the winter old fashioned. Light the rosemary above the rim of the glass. This ensures you will smell the smoked rosemary when you take a sip. Make sure to use fresh rosemary. If the rosemary sprigs are old and dried out they will fall apart in the cocktail. The smokiness reminds be of sitting by the fire.
Make the brown sugar spiced simple syrup a day or two ahead of time. You want the simple syrup to be cold or at room temperature when you make this cocktail. Don't worry the simple syrup is easy to make!
What is a Dash?
A dash refers to a unit of measurement when making cocktails. Approximately 6-8 drops of bitters make up 1 dash. Although it's relatively imprecise, a dash is when you tip the bottle of bitters upside down and shake with force to create an extended drop. This recipe calls for 3 dashes of angostura bitters.
Substitutions & Variations
- Whiskey - use your favorite whisky or bourbon.
- Simple Syrup - if you don't care for the winter flavors, you can substitute in regular simple syrup, or keep it classic with a muddled sugar cube.
- Maple - for a Maple Old Fashioned try substituting out the simple syrup for maple syrup.
- Smoked cinnamon - garnish with a cinnamon stick instead of rosemary. You can smoke the cinnamon stick the same way (by lighting it on top).
Frequently Asked Questions
Old fashioned cocktails should be stirred in a glass rather than shaken. Shaking the cocktail would dilute the drink due to the breakage of ice in the cocktail shaker. Instead gently stir the cocktail in a jar of ice before straining it into an old fashioned glass.
I do not recommend adding water to the winter old fashioned. Instead, you should use a single large ice cube which will melt over time and slowly dilute your cocktail.
No, angostura bitters do not need to be refrigerated due to their alcohol content.
More Cozy Cocktails You'll Love:
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This winter old fashioned is the perfect fireside cocktail. It emulates cozy winter vibes (the garnishes and aromatics are key).
- 2 oz whiskey or bourbon
- ½ oz brown sugar spiced simple syrup
- 3 dashes of angostura bitters
- regular ice
- 1 large ice cube
Aromatics and Garnishes
- Rosemary sprig
- Orange peel
- Add a handful of regular ice cubes, whiskey, brown sugar spiced simple syrup and angostura bitters to a jar. Stir with a spoon 15-20 seconds.
- Strain the cocktail into an old fashioned glass over a large ice cube. Add 3 cranberries, an orange peel and a fresh sprig of rosemary.
- Optional: Light the upper middle part of the rosemary on fire.
- Quickly blow out the fire and let the rosemary smoke. Enjoy!
- Smoking the rosemary on the upper middle part of the sprig is intentional. It is positioned so when you take a sip of your drink you will smell the smokiness at the same time.
- Make sure to use fresh rosemary if smoking it. If the leaves are too dry they will break apart into the drink.
- Tip: make the spiced simple syrup ahead of time. You want the simple syrup to be cold or room temperature when adding it to the cocktail.
Keywords: winter old fashioned, old fashioned,