Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Bourbon Cocktails

Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned

Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned in a textured rocks glass with one large ice cube and a cinnamon stick balanced on the rim / Tim Nusog

You don’t need a calendar or changing temperatures to tell you when fall has arrived. You just need to look around and note the pumpkin spice lattes on coffee shop menus and firmly clutched in the hands of everyone around you. At its worst, the unofficial drink of fall is a sickly sweet approximation of something resembling that orange gourd. At its best, it contains bourbon.

The Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned comes from Scott Allen, bar manager at Copper Lounge in Los Angeles. He improves on the standard artificially sweetened formula by making a homemade syrup featuring pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and vanilla extract that tastes like liquid pumpkin pie.

That syrup is joined by Breckenridge bourbon, a Colorado-made whiskey with aromas of butterscotch and candied orange and flavors including chocolate, vanilla and spicy white pepper. Allen muddles an orange slice in the cocktail, a choice that is controversial when making the classic Old Fashioned but in this case adds a welcome touch of bright citrus flavor that pairs deftly with the bourbon. A couple dashes of orange bitters provide even more citrusy depth and help meld the ingredients into a cohesive and delicious package.


  • 1/2 ounce pumpkin syrup*

  • 2 dashes orange bitters

  • 1 orange wedge

  • 2 ounces Breckenridge bourbon

  • 1 splash club soda (optional)

  • Garnish: cinnamon stick


  1. Add the pumpkin syrup, orange bitters and orange wedge into an Old Fashioned glass and muddle.

  2. Add the bourbon, a large ice cube and a splash of club soda (optional), and stir gently with the cinnamon stick to combine.

*Pumpkin syrup: Add 1 cup water and 3/4 cup light brown sugar to a saucepan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat to low and whisk in 3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice and 1/3 cup pumpkin puree. Simmer on low for 8 minutes, remove from heat, and allow to cool. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and store the syrup in the refrigerator in a container with a tightly fitting lid for up to 1 month.