This Blood Orange Old Fashioned cocktail is made with bourbon and freshly squeezed orange juice. The warming woody and caramel flavors of the whiskey and bright citrus make this the perfect drink for fall, winter, and the holidays!
Why This Recipe Works
A classic with a twist - If classic old-fashioned is your favorite cocktail, you should definitely give this one a try! It's a little more dressed up with fresh orange juice and maple syrup instead of sugar which is perfect for times when you're in the mood to try something new.
Perfect for the holidays - Any cocktail with whiskey and oranges automatically makes me think of fall, winter, and the holidays. The warming woody and caramel flavors of whiskey and bright citrus are perfect for the colder months of the year and any special occasion!
- Whiskey - Bourbon or rye whiskey is what's used in a classic old-fashioned so that's what this recipe calls for too. You can use either one you prefer, I most often go for bourbon. It usually has oaky and calaramel notes and it's the perfect spirit for colder months of the year and the holidays.
- Bitters - Traditionally, Angostura bitters are used. I like using orange bitters to build on the orange flavor of this cocktail. You can use either one you prefer. If you've never had orange bitters, I highly recommend giving them a try! They go with a ton of cocktails.
- Maple syrup - A classic old-fashioned is made with brown sugar. Since this one is different, I opted for maple syrup which gives it a slightly different flavor. You can use any sweetener you prefer.
- Blood orange juice - I use freshly-squeezed juice. If you can't find blood oranges, regular oranges can also be used but try to always go with freshly-squeezed orange juice and not the bottled stuff from concentrate. The flavor difference is huge!
- Maraschino cherries - This one is optional but classic. I like adding it as a garnish on top for color and it also helps to sweeten the drink ever so slightly.
Start by juicing your oranges. You can do this ahead of time and store the juice in an airtight container in the fridge. Add the orange juice to a regular or double old-fashioned glass.
Add a couple of dashes of bitters into the glass, maple syrup, and bourbon or rye whiskey. You can use angostura or orange. I usually add less if I'm using angostura because they have a stronger flavor and are more bitter.
Stir everything together and add ice. Stir again or swirl to move the ice around and cool the drink. Garnish with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry, and enjoy!
If desired, you can also top up the drink with soda water to make it easier to drink.
A Mocktail Version
Making a mocktail version of this drink that tastes the same as the original will be difficult because a large portion of the cocktail is specific alcohol. The bitters also contain alcohol.
You can use zero-proof (non-alcoholic) spirits that will mimic the bourbon. There are a lot of them on the market these days so it shouldn't be too hard to find one that's made to taste like bourbon or whisky.
If you don't mind the non-alcoholic version tasting differently, I recommend mixing the freshly-squeezed blood orange juice with maple syrup, a ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and sparkling water. Any orange-flavored soda works! It will enhance the flavor of the juice, kind of like orange bitters would. I usually go for LaCroix because it's not sweetened with anything and it's naturally flavored.
Yes, even whiskey made with rye, barley, or wheat is gluten-free thanks to the distillation process. Always double-check the ingredients though as some may have added ingredients after the distillation process.
An old-fashioned is made by muddling sugar with Angostura bitters and water, adding whiskey (rye or bourbon), and ice. The drink is garnished with an orange twist or an orange slice and a cocktail cherry.
Below are four cocktails you might enjoy if you like this old-fashioned! The apple cider bourbon one is my all-time favorite for the fall! To see all the latest cocktails, head over to the Cocktails category.
- 1 ½ oz bourbon or rye whiskey
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 2 dashes orange bitters (or Angostura bitters for a more classic old-fashioned)
- 1 oz blood orange juice (½ orange juiced)
- Maraschino cherries and orange slices for garnish
- Add the bourbon, maple syrup, orange bitters, and blood orange juice to an old-fashioned glass.
- Stir everything together with a spoon and fill up the glass with ice. Stir again to cool the cocktail.
- Garnish with maraschino cherries and a slice of blood orange and enjoy!
Keywords: blood orange, old fashioned, cocktail