The Apple Old Fashioned is a twist on the classic Old Fashioned. It uses apple whiskey to make a totally enjoyable cocktail. Whether you are a new or experienced whiskey drinker, you will love this cocktail! Make one today or set up your make-your-own-old-fashioned bar for your next party!
For some reason I always think of an Old Fashioned as…well, old-fashioned. Like an old guy drink that tastes terrible. But it turns out that there is a reason that this is a classic cocktail. The first time I had this drink was when Mr. Briar and I were visiting Bend, Oregon. It was a crisp, clear autumn day and I was sitting on a patio with a fire pit, fire roaring and crackling, the golden aspen leaves popping against a bright blue sky. On the menu I spied a drink called an Orchard Old Fashioned, and it just seemed like the perfect drink for the day.
How do you make a traditional old fashioned?
To make a traditional Old Fashioned, muddle a sugar cube with some bitters and a dash of water before adding the whiskey. Then you add ice, stir for a minute, garnish with orange peel, and serve.
Simple Syrup in Old Fashioned
I don’t keep sugar cubes on hand, so I used a half teaspoon of sugar, saturated it with orange bitters, then added a 1/2 teaspoon of water and a strip of orange zest. They were muddled together until the sugar was dissolved, and then I added the whiskey. If you have simple syrup on hand, that could take the place of the sugar and water. You can adjust the amount of sugar to your tastes, but I found that 1/2 teaspoon was plenty sweet enough for me.
Apple Whiskey for Apple Old Fashioned
The timeless cocktail that is the Old Fashioned is made with whiskey. The thing about this drink that makes it a little different is that it uses apple whiskey instead of Rye or Bourbon. If you are wary of whiskey, or you think that you are not a whiskey drinker, this may be the way to ease yourself into becoming one. The fruitiness from the apple whiskey and the orange peel makes this drink very palatable, and something you would want to sip on all night.
Speaking of the orange peel, an Old Fashioned is typically garnished with an orange peel or wedge and a cocktail cherry or two. In my opinion, the cherry is optional but the orange peel is not. It gives a very important flavor that, as far as I’m concerned, makes this drink.
Back to that crisp fall day on the patio in Bend. I was at a McMenamins, which is an Oregon based chain of brewpubs and hotels. Portlanders love to hate McMenamins, saying that their food and service are a bit low quality. But deep down, everyone really loves McMenamins. My husband and I are pretty fond of them. In fact, we got married at one of their locations. In addition to brewing beer, they also have a winery and a distillery. Their apple whiskey, called Aval Pota, is what is used in their Orchard Old Fashioned. I had been wanting a bottle of my own, and recently we stopped at a new McMenamins location that recently opened in Washington. I had to pick up a bottle so I could make a version of this drink at home.
I’m not saying that you need to use Aval Pota in this drink. I am assuming that most good quality apple whiskies will do. But it is the only spirit I have used in this cocktail, and if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it.
Apple Old Fashioned
- 2 ounces apple whiskey I used Aval Pota from McMenamins
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar or 1 sugar cube
- 1/2 teaspoon water
- 5-10 dashes orange bitters I used Fee Brothers
- 1 strip of orange zest
- 2 cocktail cherries for garnish
- In a lowball glass, place sugar or sugar cube. Douse with bitters to completely saturate. Add one thick strip of orange zest. Muddle together with a muddler or spoon for about a minute, until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Add apple whiskey, stir to combine, then add ice and garnish with cocktail cherries.
Recipe adapted from McMenamins
Items I used in this post (Affiliate Links)
So tell me, have you ever been to a McMenamins? Have you ever been to Bend on a clear fall day? (If not, you should).
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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase the items I recommend through the links I provide, I get a small commission. For more info, please see my disclosure policy. Thanks for supporting Fox and Briar!
Dan @ Simple Seasonal says
Meghan – this is a really interesting recipe. I also agree that the orange is an indispensable part of any Old Fashioned. I’ve been considering making some fruit-infused bourbon and this makes me think apple will be the winner! Looking forward to trying this out. I love your rocks glasses, too, by the way…
Dan, that homemade apple infused bourbon sounds awesome, I would love to hear how it turns out! Thanks so much!
Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet says
Old fashioneds are Alex’s favorite drink of all time! I like them too, but I like this twist on the classic drink even better! I would have never thought to use apple whisky but I love it!!! And those cherries … perfection dear. 🙂
Thank you so much Lauren!
Tessa | Salted Plains says
Ohhh, I love this take on the Old Fashioned! I used to feel the very same about Old Fashioneds, that is until I tried one and was sold! I can’t wait to give yours a try.
Thank so much Tessa!
Traci | Vanilla And Bean says
I still can’t believe I’ve never had an old fashioned and am still trying to figure out the difference between Bourbon and Whiskey (on a tasting level). But I’ve gotta make this, this weekend! The orange with bitters… I’m sold! Now, I won’t be taking the two hour trip to McMenamins. Do you think Makers Mark will be okay.. or Bullet? No apple, but I gotta use what I have! This sounds amazing, Meghan. I’ve gotta give it a go! Your photog in this low light is looking gorgeous! Those action shots! Beautiful! I’m struggling!!
Thank you so much Traci! That means so much because I am always blown away by how beautiful your photos are! I recently got a tripod and that has helped me so much with the low light. Of course for the action shot I had to increase the shutter speed so I think I just bumped up the ISO to 400. As for the whiskey/bourbon, I think that would be fine! It won’t taste exactly the same since it won’t have the apple flavor, but it will actually be a traditional old fashioned, and it should taste great! It might be less sweet because the apple whiskey is a bit sweet, so you might want to add a bit more sugar, but of course that is up to your tastes 🙂
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
OMG, this cocktail sounds amazing, Meghan! It has been a while since I’ve had an old fashioned! The apple whiskey paired with the orange peel sounds seriously delicious! I am so thankful today is #ThirstyThursday, because I am TOTALLY pouring myself one (or a few) of these come 5 o’clock! Pinned! Cheers, my dear! <3
Thank you Cheyanne! I definitely enjoyed a few on the day I did the photos for these 🙂 Thank you so much for pinning!
Melanie @ Melanie Cooks says
I’ve never tried Old Fashioned, but now I’d like to! You make it looks and sound so good that I just have to have it 🙂
Thank you Melanie! I hope you try it, they are pretty tasty 🙂
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen says
I’ve never had an old fashion before but you have sold me, Meghan – just have to find some apple whiskey.
Thank you Geraldine! I hope you find some!
I used to LOVE old fashions! Man, I haven’t had one in forever. Also, um, I clearly need to get to the booze store and pick me up some apple whiskey to make one of these. Nothing like a good stiff drink to keep me warm in this snowy weather.
Yes, do it! It will warm you right up. Thanks Annie!
What a descriptive picture you paint of your experience in Bend!!
I’m glad McMenamins has expanded to Seattle so you guys can continue to enjoy their
awesomeness! I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve visited.?
Very clever, learning to make the drink to enjoy at home~~looks delightful~~I
Ithink you & Mr. Briar live life fully!
Great pictures, too.
Thank you 🙂 We will have to check them out when you are here!
Okay so I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’ve never actually tried an old fashioned!! Eeek! What is wrong with me?? haha I must fix this!
This is a good one to start on! Thanks Ashley!
Lisa @ Chocolate Meets Strawberry says
This looks fantastic, Meghan! I’m not a whiskey drinker myself, but someone in this house is! (And he prefers the most expensive varieties 😉 of course!) We haven’t ever tried apple whiskey, but it sounds amazing. I will have to try and find some of that for Daniel’s next birthday! I love the addition of the orange peel and cherries in this drink, and I think even I, as not much of a whiskey enthusiast, would love it. Yum!
Thanks Lisa! I never was much of a whiskey drinker either, but this drink converted me! I hope you and Daniel love it!
Ashleigh @Dash of Evans says
YES! This is amazing. the Old-Fashioned was huge in Wisconsin and I have been craving one forever. I’m obsessed with apple whiskey. We seriously need to drink together…you make the best cocktails!
Thank you so much Ashleigh! We could have the best cocktail party since we like the same kinds of drinks AND music 🙂
My Dish is Bomb says
I was wondering when you would post this one!! I definitely need to scout out some apple whiskey…I’ve never seen it before (we’re quite inundated with canadian whiskeys + bourbons) though I did see a honey bourbon the other day that might taste great in this.
I bet honey bourbon would be really good in this too! I have seen apple whiskey from Jack Daniels and Crown Royal, although I have never tried them so I don’t know how they compare. I did read a review that said the Aval Pota is exceptionally good, so some other brands might not taste as good. I guess you will just have to try a few! 🙂