Fancy Old Fashioneds

I’ve been trying to think up something clever and slightly cynical to kick start this post about how 2020 has been a dumpster fire, or how I can’t wait for it all to end. Instead, let’s just drink until oblivion?…

I’ll level with you: there are very few things that keep me going throughout this pandemic: a good meal and a stiff drink. Now that CA is back on Shelter in Place, a drink has taken priority over a good meal. If you know me, you know that I lean towards a full glass of wine at the end of the day, but once the Holidays hit, I take a hard turn and all I crave is a cocktail.

We have a lil’ family tradition of making Old Fashioneds at Christmas, and that started with my Grandpa years ago. This year with this whole can’t-go-anywhere-can’t-see-anyone thing, I decided to create my own for the Holidays. It still has the traditional roots, but with a modern flare. I’m not embarrassed to share that I went through many different variations and batches until it was just right…and now you get the finished, perfect product.

Just look at those lil’ cuties


This simple syrup…let me tell you…it’s magic. I took a page out of Half-Baked Harvests’ book in making this simple syrup, but I made mine a lil’ more “simple”, if you will. Simple syrup is easy and you can make ahead of time, or in big batches, so you never have to go thristy.

The second crucial and boujee addition to these OF’s are Bruleed Oranges. Hear me out…it’s worth the effort. It not only adds a cute little garnish to your drink, but it replaces the orange peel you’d usually add with some sweetness that you need.

Both items can be made in advance (oranges up to 2 days), and other than that you’re all set.

What you’ll need

  • Small saucepan.
  • Small sauté pan.
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup.
  • 1/2 cup water.
  • Cinnamon sticks. Some for the simple syrup, and some for garnish. Don’t skimp on the sticks for the syrup!
  • Rosemary–roughly 4-5 sprigs. For both the simple syrup and for garnish.
  • 1 orange.
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar.
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
  • 3 oz bourbon for each cocktail.
  • Bitters.

Total Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 3-4 drinks (depending how strong you like it)–you can always double the recipe


  • Ok let’s make the magic happen with the simple syrup. In a small saucepan, combine maple syrup, water, 3 rosemary sprigs, and 1 cinnamon sticks. (If you’re doubling the recipe make sure you double up on the garnishes, too!). Bring to a soft boil and then immediately turn stove off and cover. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, or until cool. If you’re making this ahead of time, place in an airtight container once cooled and you can use the good juice for up to a week.
  • While the simple syrup is cooling, let’s prep the bruleed oranges. This. Is. So. Easy. And SO worth it! Slice oranges and sprinkle a little sugar and ground cinnamon on one side. Preheat small sauté pan at medium high heat. Place oranges, sugar side down, and cook until caramelized. Don’t be too worried about over-cooking these; you’ll be able to tell once they get a good brown glaze.
  • Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on the remaining side. Using tongs, turn oranges and continue to cook until that good caramelization happens. Set aside and let cool.
  • Snag yourself some OF glasses and add some ice. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the simple syrup and 3 oz of bourbon. Mix to combine, and do a little taste test. Too strong? Add more syrup! Too sweet? Add more bourbon! (or water). Doctor it the way YOU like.
  • Once you’ve reached the ratio that you like, put a dash of bitters and then garnish with the bruleed oranges, a cinnamon stick, and rosemary. Drink, and repeat.

Enjoy! I can’t wait to hear what you think!


  • I myself don’t use a shaker for these bad boys, but if that’s your practice, you can combine the simple syrup and bourbon in a shaker and then pour over ice. Do a little dash of bitters and bottoms up!
  • This simple syrup will last! I actually didn’t discard the rosemary or cinnamon stick and kept it with the syrup while it was in the fridge to really soak in all the flavors.
  • The bruleed oranges should be consumed with 2 days at the most. They get a little soft and you don’t want mushy fruit in your drink.
  • You can make this with any whiskey you like, but my preference is bourbon. During our experimenting we ran out of both (lol) so we tried it with scotch and it was actually amazing. You can’t go wrong!


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