Best Bourbon for An Old Fashioned

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Let me help you discover the best bourbon for your an old fashioned cocktail. As a lifestyle blogger with a passion for making life more beautiful, I’m thrilled to share this easy, approachable, and fun guide to help you create a truly exceptional experience. Let’s dive in and uncover the secrets to a perfect old fashioned!

adding bourbon to a Bourbon & Sage Cocktail.

Understanding the Old Fashioned

Before we embark on our quest to find the best bourbon for an old fashioned, let’s start by understanding the old fashioned itself. This timeless cocktail traces its roots back to the early 19th century, making it a true classic. The old fashioned is a simple, yet elegant concoction that combines bourbon, sugar, bitters, and a twist of citrus, typically garnished with an orange peel and a cherry.

gold spoon stirring cranberry old fashioned.

Exploring Bourbon

Bourbon, the heart and soul of the old fashioned, is a type of American whiskey known for its distinctive flavor profile and rich history. To fully appreciate the charm of this cocktail, it’s important to select a bourbon that complements its character. While personal preferences may vary, Four Roses Single Barrel has consistently proven itself as a reliable and delightful choice. It’s my personal favorite. 

To be honest if you would have asked me six years ago what my favorite bourbon was, I wouldn’t have been able to answer you because I didn’t drink it. In fact, I didn’t really like it. However, I was always intrigued by this liquor and wanted to become a fan. So, I set out on a journey of discovery. I experimented and tasted different bourbons and cocktails until I found something I love. Several years later, bourbon might be my go-to liquor! 

So you might be wondering… 

Why Four Roses Single Barrel?

Four Roses Single Barrel is a well-crafted bourbon that embodies everything we seek in an old fashioned. Here’s why it’s a standout option:

bottle of four roses single barrel in front of bourbon balls.

Exceptional Flavor Profile:

  • Four Roses Single Barrel boasts a complex and balanced flavor profile, characterized by rich caramel and vanilla notes, a hint of spiciness, and a smooth, lingering finish. These attributes make it a superb choice for those seeking a well-rounded old fashioned.

Quality and Craftsmanship:

  • Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, Four Roses Single Barrel epitomizes the essence of premium bourbon. This single barrel offering showcases the expertise of the master distillers at Four Roses, ensuring a top-notch drinking experience with each sip.

Versatility:

  • Apart from being a fantastic choice for an old fashioned, Four Roses Single Barrel can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks. Its versatility allows you to explore and appreciate its flavors in various contexts, making it a valuable addition to your home bar.

And I don’t just use Four Roses for my old fashioned recipes. I used it for most bourbon-based cocktails. If you’re looking to explore bourbon recipes beyond this one drink style, I highly recommend checking out my collection of the best bourbon cocktail recipes. There’s something for everyone!

strawberry rhubarb old fashioned in glasses with strawberry garnish.

Exploring More Bourbon Options

While this bourbon is my favorite, you may want some additional options based on your tastes and / or budget. 

Let’s get into it! 

Affordable Options:

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly bourbon without compromising on flavor, consider these affordable options:

  • Buffalo Trace: A well-regarded bourbon known for its smoothness and balanced flavor profile. It offers notes of caramel, vanilla, and a touch of spice, making it a versatile choice for an old fashioned.
  • Evan Williams Single Barrel: This single barrel bourbon offers exceptional value for its quality. With its rich flavors of oak, caramel, and a hint of fruit, it brings depth and character to your cocktail.
  • Old Forester: A historic bourbon brand that offers a range of expressions, Old Forester is known for its approachable taste and affordable price point. It delivers flavors of caramel, brown sugar, and spice, making it an excellent choice for an old fashioned.

Mid-Range Options:

For those seeking a balance between affordability and premium quality, these mid-range bourbons will elevate your old fashioned experience:

  • Woodford Reserve: A classic bourbon that exudes elegance and craftsmanship. With its smooth and rich flavors of toasted oak, dark chocolate, and a hint of citrus, Woodford Reserve adds a touch of sophistication to your cocktail.
  • Elijah Craig Small Batch: A well-regarded small batch bourbon that offers excellent value for its price. It presents a delightful combination of caramel, vanilla, and toasted oak flavors, creating a harmonious old fashioned.
  • Knob Creek: A robust and full-bodied bourbon that packs a punch of flavor. Its rich, smoky notes, along with hints of caramel and spice, bring depth and complexity to your cocktail.

Luxury Options:

  • For those special occasions or when you want to indulge in a premium experience, consider these luxury bourbons:
  • Pappy Van Winkle: Revered by bourbon enthusiasts, Pappy Van Winkle is a highly sought-after and limited-release bourbon. With its exceptionally smooth and complex flavor profile, it offers layers of caramel, vanilla, and oak, creating an unforgettable old fashioned.
  • Blanton’s Single Barrel: An iconic single barrel bourbon known for its distinctive bottle and outstanding quality. Blanton’s delights the senses with flavors of caramel, honey, and spices, providing a luxurious touch to your cocktail.
  • Booker’s: A cask-strength bourbon that captures the essence of small-batch craftsmanship. It offers bold flavors of vanilla, toasted nuts, and robust spices, delivering a powerful and memorable old fashioned experience.

Remember, the beauty of the old fashioned lies in its adaptability. Feel free to explore these different bourbons and find the one that suits your palate and budget. Whether you choose an affordable option, a mid-range gem, or a luxurious indulgence, each bourbon brings its unique charm to your old fashioned, making it a delightful journey of flavors.

Cider and Maple Old Fashioned Cocktail in front of bottle of bourbon and maple syrup

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Perfecting Your Old Fashioned

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of Four Roses Single Barrel’s virtues, let’s delve into crafting the perfect old fashioned:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon
  • 1 sugar cube or ½ tsp of sugar
  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel and cherry for garnish
  • Ice cubes
hand holding a pumpkin old fashioned with another in the background.

How to Make:

  • Place the sugar cube or sugar in an old fashioned glass.
  • Add the bitters and a splash of water to dissolve the sugar. Muddle gently until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Fill the glass with ice cubes, then pour in the Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon.
  • Stir gently for about 30 seconds to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Garnish with an orange peel twist and a cherry.

Recipe Variations:

While I love the classic recipe, I’m all about mixing things up and putting a twist on the traditional. Here are a few of my favorite old fashioned recipe variations. 

four frozen old fashioned slush on a white platter.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I use a different type of whiskey instead of bourbon for an old fashioned?

While bourbon is the traditional choice for an old fashioned, you can experiment with other types of whiskey. Rye whiskey is a popular alternative that brings a spicier and drier flavor profile to the cocktail. However, keep in mind that the overall taste may vary, so adjust the ingredients accordingly to suit your preferences.

What’s the difference between a sugar cube and granulated sugar for an old fashioned?

Both sugar cubes and granulated sugar can be used to sweeten an old fashioned. The main difference lies in the ease of dissolving. Sugar cubes take longer to dissolve, requiring a bit more muddling to incorporate them fully. Granulated sugar, on the other hand, dissolves more quickly, making it a convenient choice for a smoother mixing process.

Can I use flavored bitters in an old fashioned?

Traditional Angostura bitters are commonly used in an old fashioned due to their distinct flavor profile. However, you can experiment with different flavored bitters to add your own creative twist. Popular alternatives include orange bitters, aromatic bitters, or even unique artisanal bitters. Remember to adjust the amount according to the potency of the flavor to maintain balance in your cocktail.

Should I use large ice cubes or crushed ice in an old fashioned?

The choice of ice largely depends on your preference. Large ice cubes melt more slowly, diluting the drink at a slower rate and keeping it colder for longer. I prefer then. This is my favorite square ice cube mold and my favorite round ice cube mold. Crushed ice, on the other hand, melts more quickly, resulting in a more diluted drink. Experiment with both to find the balance that suits your taste.

Can I make an old fashioned in advance for a party or gathering?

While it’s best to prepare an old fashioned just before serving to enjoy its freshness, you can make a large batch in advance for convenience. Prepare the drink without ice, store it in a pitcher or bottle in the refrigerator, and add ice to individual glasses when serving. This ensures that each guest can enjoy a well-chilled and perfectly balanced old fashioned.

Remember, don’t hesitate to experiment and make the old fashioned your own. Feel free to adapt the recipe and techniques to suit your taste preferences and create a truly enjoyable experience.

Cheers to your journey of making lives more beautiful, one cocktail at a time!

hand holding blackberry bourbon smash cocktail.

Final Thoughts

You now have all the tools and knowledge to create a remarkable old fashioned using Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon. Remember, the beauty of this cocktail lies in its simplicity and the quality of the ingredients you choose. So, let your taste buds embark on an adventure with Four Roses Single Barrel, and enjoy the delightful marriage of flavors in each sip. Cheers to making life more beautiful, one old fashioned at a time!

More Cocktail Ideas You May Enjoy

I hope you’ll give this best bourbon for an old fashioned a try! (You can use my old fashioned recipe below.) If you do, please leave a comment and a 5-star rating below. 

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Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. The choice of bourbon is subjective, and it’s encouraged to explore different options to find your personal favorite. Remember to drink responsibly, and ensure that you are of legal drinking age in your jurisdiction.

gold spoon stirring cranberry old fashioned.

Old Fashioned

Find the best bourbon for an old fashioned, plus master the recipe of a classically delicious old fashioned cocktail.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bourbon, cocktail, drink, old fashioned
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 131kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon
  • 1 sugar cube or ½ tsp of sugar
  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel and cherry for garnish
  • Ice cubes

Instructions

  • Place the sugar cube or sugar in an old fashioned glass.
  • Add the bitters and a splash of water to dissolve the sugar. Muddle gently until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Fill the glass with ice cubes, then pour in the Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon.
  • Stir gently for about 30 seconds to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Garnish with an orange peel twist and a cherry.

Notes

Recipe Variations: While I love the classic recipe, I’m all about mixing things up and putting a twist on the traditional. Here are a few of my favorite old fashioned recipe variations. 

Nutrition

Calories: 131kcal | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Iron: 0.02mg

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