Maple Old-Fashioned Cocktail

This Maple Old-Fashioned Cocktail puts a delightfully fall take on the classic bourbon drink. Using real maple syrup and spiced bitters, this cocktail tastes like autumn in a glass.

a maple old-fashioned next to a jar of maple syrup

Maple is one of those flavors that you can enjoy year-round. Most often on the weekends, when indulging in pancakes, waffles and French toast.

Then comes the fall season, and maple gets to shine in totally new ways. From maple pecan pie to maple bacon donuts, fall is maple’s chance to show off.

Fall and winter are our last chance to use up last year’s stash before the tapping season begins again in February.

Maple old-fashioned recipe

The best bourbon old-fashioned, to me, is the classic old-fashioned cocktail. But to my husband? It’s this maple old-fashioned cocktail recipe.

Chris says it’s like “drinking fall.” If that doesn’t sell this cocktail, I don’t know what will. Kidding!

Instead of using simple syrup, it features pure maple syrup. This gives the cocktail its sweet, caramel-like flavor with nutty and burnt notes that pair so spectacularly with oaky bourbon.

Topped with twin dashes of clove and cinnamon bitters, this maple and bourbon cocktail is filled to the brim with comfort.

I have to give Chris credit — this is the old-fashioned he makes on a Friday night after a long week this time of year, and he’s graciously letting me share his recipe.

top view of a maple old-fashioned with a maple candy under the ice cube

What is an old-fashioned cocktail?

An old-fashioned is a classic whiskey cocktail.

It’s traditionally made with bourbon and served over a single large ice cube. It’s flavored with a cocktail cherry, the zest of an orange and a dash of Angostura bitters.

The old-fashioned is an incredibly versatile drink. It’s a delicious blank slate that isn’t blank at all, but you can mix it up in so many ways and it always goes swimmingly.

You can sub bourbon for rye or even a flavored whiskey like honey whiskey or cinnamon whiskey. You can try different kinds of bitters or even flavored ice as I did with this chai old-fashioned.

a bottle of maple syrup with a maple old-fashioned and a tray of maple cookies

The best maple syrup for bourbon

The maple old-fashioned doesn’t require a long list of ingredients. The key ingredients are maple and bourbon, of course.

Always get real maple syrup for cocktails. (And pancakes too.) You want the good stuff — the kind that’s tapped from a maple tree!

Check the label to make sure the ingredients list 100% pure maple syrup. You don’t want to see “high-fructose corn syrup” or “maple flavoring” anywhere. It should say “100% maple” and list nothing else.

There are a few grades of maple syrup: golden, amber, dark or very dark.

Golden is the sweetest and lightest in color, with a delicate flavor or maple. Amber is a bit darker with a deeper flavor. But the darker the color, the stronger the maple taste.

The darkest ones have a much more rich, pronounced maple flavor. To me, dark maple syrup is the best maple syrup.

Sometimes maple syrup is infused with other flavors or even barrel-aged. This applewood smoked maple syrup is on my list to try!

North Carolina maple syrup

Here in North Carolina, my favorite comes from Waterfall Farm Maple Syrup. This farm is run by some family friends of ours who are just the kindest, most wonderful human beings in the world. And their maple syrup happens to be delicious.

They are one of the southernmost commercial maple producers in the country (if not the southernmost).

Vermont and Canada get lots of maple love, but it’s so amazing to have a maple syrup farm right here in N.C.

a maple old-fashioned next to a wooden platter of of maple cookies and candies and a jar of maple syrup

The best bourbon for maple syrup

Maple syrup and bourbon really are a match. Now we get to look for the perfect bourbon to go in our old-fashioned.

My recommendation, if you have it, is to use your favorite. If you don’t have one yet, I have a list of all my favorite brands in my Bourbon 101 post.

The port barrel-soaked Angel’s Envy would be delicious in this cocktail. Buffalo Trace would also be fantastic. Old Forester is the staple bourbon at our house — we think it’s the best whiskey for a budget.

For double maple flavor, you can try making this old-fashioned with Crown Royal Maple Whisky.

In fact, any Canadian whiskey would be great with Canadian maple syrup!

top view of a maple old-fashioned cocktail, a bottle of maple syrup and a tray of maple cookies

How to make an old-fashioned with maple syrup

Get out a large rocks glass (also called an old-fashioned glass). These are short glasses, ideally with a heavy bottom. You don’t have to have anything fancy!

Then add your maple syrup. Top with bourbon and carefully lower in a large ice cube.

Swirl a piece of orange zest around the rim before dropping it in. I use a vegetable peeler to get my orange zest just right.

Lastly, add dashes of two kinds of fall bitters.

We use these cassia bark bitters (AKA cinnamon bitters) and clove bitters from Infuse Bitters, but you can use any flavor of bitters that sound good to you. (The clove bitters was sold out last I checked, but these clove bitters from Dashfire would also be good!

Aromatic bitters or orange bitters are always standard choices. Ginger bitters or cardamom bitters would be delicious too and have that extra taste of fall.

Check out my list of the best bitters brands for some new flavors to check out for your home bar.

I garnished these with a piece of maple leaf candy that’s made from maple sugar. Totally optional, but it’s kind of fun to snack on something when you get to the bottom of this cocktail!

a maple old-fashioned with a maple candy with maple syrup and cookies in the background

Maple cocktails for fall and winter

Maple cocktails in the fall are simply the best. If you love maple as much as I do, you might as well buy a bottle of the best stuff and keep it with your home bar supplies.

If you love maple and bourbon, you might love this maple manhattan.

This maple leaf cocktail or a boozy maple bourbon milkshake are tasty dessert drinks to finish off a fall meal.

Honeycrisp maple margaritas are simply delicious. For a crowd, this sparkling bourbon pumpkin apple punch would be really delicious for fall.

Enjoy these maple drinks with pancakes for brunch (or breakfast for dinner) and maple pecan cookies for dessert.

More old-fashioned cocktail recipes

If you like old-fashioneds, try one of these spins on the classic cocktail:

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a maple old-fashioned next to a jar of maple syrup

Maple Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
The maple old-fashioned offers a naturally sweet twist on the classic bourbon cocktail.
5 from 2 votes
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  • ¼ ounce maple syrup
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 2 dashes clove bitters
  • 2 dashes cassia bark/cinnamon bitters
  • 1 piece orange zest
  • maple candy for garnish, optional


  • To a rocks glass, add maple syrup and bourbon and stir together.
  • Carefully lower in an ice sphere or large cube.
  • Top with clove bitters and cassia bitters. Garnish with a maple candy, if desired.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 2.25ounces Calories: 181kcal Carbohydrates: 10g Protein: 0.2g Fat: 0.02g Sodium: 2mg Potassium: 43mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 5g Vitamin A: 50IU Vitamin C: 16mg Calcium: 27mg Iron: 0.1mg
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