The Old Fashioned might be the most famous and original American cocktail, and since Thanksgiving was originally an American holiday we figured serving an Old Fashioned would be a great cocktail to serve on Thanksgiving. When we sit down to plan our Thanksgiving meal, one thing we always have to plan for is a good cocktail to sip on in the hours after our big meal while we are hanging with family. We always want to serve something seasonal, so this year we are came up with the Maple Old Fashioned, a fall flavored variation of one of our favorite classic cocktails.
Maple syrup is one of those great fall flavors that often gets overshadowed by big fall flavors like apple or pumpkin spice, but maple shouldn’t be one that cocktail drinkers skip when the leaves start to fall. Sweet and rich, maple is great for cocktails as it can be used to add flavor while adding sweetness without diluting the drink. Full of a roasted nutty flavor, the maple syrup works really well with the baking spices commonly found in fall dishes.
The Old Fashioned uses a uniquely American spirit, bourbon, as its base spirit. Bourbon is a great spirit to use for fall drinks, its rich notes of vanilla and caramel working really well with fall flavors. A bit heavier than light spirits like gin, bourbon can make a drink that is smooth and sippable while spreading a nice warmth. For our Maple Old Fashioned, the bourbon is paired up with the maple syrup, a delicious combination of sweet, toasty flavors that works really well.
A true Old Fashioned has to have bitters, as bitters serve as the salt and pepper for a bartender. Made by infusing spices, herbs and botanicals in high proof spirits to make a complex flavor, bitters can give a drink a whole new characteristic and layer of flavor that can make a drink come alive. We wanted to add a hint of baking spices like cinnamon and nutmeg so we added a nice aromatic bitter (you can use a classic like Angostura or mix it up and use something like Dram Apothecary’s Black Bitters like we did for this recipe.) A few dashes of bitters really pulled out the hints of spice from the bourbon while adding in a rich complex characteristic. We garnished the drink with one of our Brandied Cherries and a fresh orange peel which adds a nice perfume to each sip.
We really loved the way the Maple Old Fashioned sweet and spice, richly complex and delightfully boozy. We think it will be perfect for gathering your friends and family to sip on while you ponder that next piece of pie! Cheers!
- 2 oz bourbon
- .75 oz maple syrup
- 4 dashes bitters
- Orange peel for garnish
- Add bitters, maple syrup and bourbon to a rocks glass.
- Add a large ice cube
- Stir until chilled and maple syrup is fully dissolved into the bourbon.
- Garnish with an orange peel and brandied cherry.