The Vanilla Orange Old-Fashioned

old fashioned whiskey cocktails on marble counter

The Original Classic Cocktail

The Old-Fashioned, as its name suggests, is a classic. Originally dubbed the Whiskey Cocktail, the first version of this spirit-forward drink was made with whiskey, muddled sugar, bitters and a lemon peel. Since its first appearance on a bar menu in the mid-1800’s the Old Fashioned has seen hundreds of versions and adaptations. Even now, you could go to ten different bars and order a classic Old-Fashioned and end up with ten very different drinks. Some serve it with an orange slice, some with a maraschino garnish. Others keep things more traditional by focusing on the spirit and not the dressing or garnish.

Whatever your preference, we have to thank the mixologists and creative minds behind our modern day cocktail renaissance for resurrecting this classic drink into prominence on today’s cocktail scene. We at The Bar Cartist have our own version of the Old-Fashioned that we want to share with you, The Vanilla Orange Old-Fashioned.

The Old-Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
  • 4 drops Angostura Aromatic bitters
  • 3 drops Orange Bitters
  • 1 large ice sphere or cube (try the Top Down Freezing method for perfectly clear ice)
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Simple Syrup
  • Orange peel for garnish


Vanilla Simple Syrup: Infuse your simple syrup with a few sticks of vanilla bean the day before. Whip up a batch of regular, plain simple syrup then take two vanilla beans, split in half, and drop them in the container with the syrup to infuse at least overnight. The longer they can infuse, the stronger the vanilla flavor. When the vanilla and bourbon marry together they will create a smooth taste while taming the bite from the bourbon whiskey.

Assemble the cocktail: Place the ice sphere or cube into a rocks glass. Build the simple syrup and then both bitters over the ice, in that order. Slowly pour the bourbon over the ice to cool the ingredients and unite them together. Use a bar spoon to twirl the ice – slowly mixing the ingredients. Use a peeler to shave a peel from a fresh orange. Bend the orange peel in half along the longest side and spritz the orange zest over the top of the Old-Fashioned cocktail. Wipe the rim of your rocks glass with the outer side of the orange peel and place the peel inside the Old-Fashioned cocktail.

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