Fall-Spiced Old Fashioned Cocktail


Here's an Old Fashioned cocktail that's ready for fall! Maple syrup plus infused bourbon brings warming fall spices—cloves, star anise, and cinnamon—to this spin on the classic cocktail.

Photography Credit: Nancy Mitchell

The Old Fashioned is one of my go-to cocktails—it is at once reliable and a little bit fancy. The warmth from the whiskey and the little bit of sweetness from the sugar make for a really unbeatable combo.

If you’re searching for something reliably delightful for a special evening at home or a gathering with friends, here’s a tiny twist on a traditional cocktail that’s very simple to make, takes just a few ingredients, and yet tastes very sophisticated, indeed.

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Old Fashioned Cocktail with Maple make the cocktail


Your typical Old Fashioned is made with a sugar cube, bitters, and bourbon. I like to muddle a bit of orange peel in mine, but for purists, this is controversial.

This variation uses maple syrup in place of the sugar, which gives the drink an extra depth and richness.


For something that’s even more seasonal (and even a little unexpected), try making your maple Old Fashioned with this spice-infused bourbon.

Although the idea of infusing liquor may seem a little intimidating if you’ve never tried it before, it is very simple to make and takes just 24 hours. And it’s a great way to take this bourbon drink to the next level.

An Old Fashioned made with spice infused bourbon has an extra bit of fullness and warmth, just in time for a chilly night.


A good bourbon makes a great Old Fashioned. For this cocktail, choose a top shelf brand, like Knob Creek or Bulleit. Four Roses is a more affordable option, and also makes a tasty cocktail.

If you’re not into the infusing thing and want to just stay classic, it will still be delicious. Or if you want the spiced bourbon and don’t want to wait for it to infuse, there are plenty of brands that make spiced bourbons, such as Wild Turkey.


Fall-Spiced Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

  • Prep time: 2 minutes
  • Infusion time: 24 hours
  • Yield: Infused bourbon for 8 drinks


For the infused bourbon:

  • 2 cups bourbon
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

For the Fall-Spiced Old Fashioned (makes one cocktail):

  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 4 dashes of Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • 2 ounces infused-bourbon
  • Ice
  • Orange peel


1 Infuse the bourbon: Place bourbon and spices in a glass jar with a lid. Allow to infuse for 24 hours, shaking occasionally. Strain the bourbon into a clean jar. (This makes enough for 8 cocktails)

Holiday Spiced Old Fashioned Drink infuse the bourbon

2 Make the cocktail: Add the maple syrup, water, and bitters to the bottom of an old-fashioned glass. Add the ice and the bourbon, and stir for about 30 seconds.

3 Garnish with orange peel: Rub a piece of orange peel around the rim of the glass and drop it in.

Old Fashioned Cocktail with Maple make the cocktail

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Nancy Mitchell

Nancy is a writer and photographer living in New York. She makes drinks with local and homegrown ingredients and writes about the New York cocktail scene on her Instagram feed and at her blog, The Backyard Bartender.

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2 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. M. Noto

    Try something fun…infuse a simple syrup with anise star, cloves, cinnamon – but add a sliced jalapeño. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. After that- let stand covered for an hour. Strain into a jar and it can be saved for at least a month. Add an ounce to the bottom of a glass with one large cube and top with a bourbon or rye. Stir and enjoy the sweet and spicy.


  2. Thomas

    This is a great cocktail but WAY TOO much Bitters. Start w/one dash of Bitters and go from there. I also tried it w/smoked Maple syrup and it added some depth. By the way I use only dash of Bitters.


Holiday Spiced Old Fashioned DrinkFall-Spiced Old Fashioned Cocktail