Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Bourbon Cocktails

Brown Butter Old Fashioned

Brown Butter Old Fashioned cocktail in a crystal-cut rocks glass with a skewered cherry rolled in an orange peel, served on a round metal tray / Tim Nusog

The Old Fashioned, with its proven formula of whiskey, sugar and bitters, is about as good as a drink can get. But bartenders prove time and time again that there’s more than one way to make an Old Fashioned. Modern classics like the tequila- and mezcal-laced Oaxacan Old Fashioned come to mind, as do varieties like the Rum Old Fashioned. Those are just the tip of the boozy iceberg though. Because all over the world bartenders tweak the recipe to their liking, serving countless unique iterations of this old-school drink.

Lu Brow, the former cocktail director at New Orleans’ now-closed DTB, wanted to incorporate the nutty, toasty flavor of brown butter into a cocktail. That led her to create the Brown Butter Old Fashioned, which features a base of brown butter-infused bourbon. To incorporate one into the other, Brow heats unsalted butter in a saucepan until it has a nutty aroma. She then adds the browned butter to a bottle of bourbon, freezes the mixture and skims off the solids until she’s left with a rich, buttery whiskey.

Old Fashioneds are such a staple in the South and particularly New Orleans, so I chose to incorporate the flavors together in the glass,” she says. Brown sugar lends an earthy sweetness to this drink, while Angostura bitters and a muddled Luxardo maraschino cherry lend spice and rich fruit. The Brown Butter Old Fashioned takes a little extra time to construct. But the instructions are easy to follow, so this drink is surprisingly easy to make at home.


  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters

  • 1/4 ounce brown sugar syrup (equal parts brown sugar to water)

  • 1 orange peel

  • 1 Luxardo maraschino cherry

  • 2 ounces brown-butter-washed bourbon*

  • Garnish: 2 orange peels

  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry


  1. In a rocks glass, muddle the bitters, brown sugar syrup, orange peel and cherry.

  2. Add the bourbon and 1 large ice cube and stir until well-chilled

  3. Garnish with an orange peel “rose” by rolling 2 swaths of orange peels with a Luxardo maraschino cherry inside.

*Brown-butter-washed bourbon: Slowly brown 1/2 cup unsalted butter in a saucepan until well-toasted with a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Pour a 750 mL bottle of Benchmark bourbon (or a bourbon of your choice) into a plastic container, and gently stir in the brown butter. Leave the mixture uncovered until completely cool and the butter has become firm and risen to the top of the container. Freeze the mixture, skim off solids, then strain through cheesecloth to remove all solids. Cover with lid, label and date. The bourbon will keep for a few weeks.

Recipe Variations

Añejo Old Fashioned: Uses aged tequila as the spirit and agave nectar as the sweetener.

Autumn Rum Old Fashioned: Calls for aged rum and apple cider syrup.

Oaxaca Old Fashioned: Uses a dual base of tequila and mezcal.

Wisconsin Old Fashioned: Subs brandy for whiskey, muddles orange slices and cherries, and tops with 7Up, Sprite or club soda.