Coffee Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Wake up your senses with an aromatic coffee old-fashioned cocktail. With coffee liqueur and coffee bitters, the classic bourbon cocktail is just as lovable after it has had some caffeine!

a coffee old-fashioned and a gold jigger

Mornings are hard without coffee.

I try to never run out, but when we do, there’s always a mad dash to the grocery store that has a coffee shop in it to fuel up.

After that, I always crave coffee flavors a little more than usual. From boozy coffee milkshakes to coffee chocolate chip cookies, I will never say no to a treat with a little bit of coffee flavor.

That’s why I love this coffee old-fashioned cocktail. It puts a caffeinated spin on one of my all-time favorite drinks. It’s worth a try if you like coffee and bourbon!

Coffee Old-Fashioned cocktail recipe

The coffee old-fashioned cocktail is a twist on the classic old-fashioned cocktail. I suppose that makes it a classic coffee drink? Either way, I think Don Draper would really enjoy one of these!

Instead of using simple syrup, it features coffee liqueur. This gives the cocktail its sweetness and packs on some extra booziness to go with oaky bourbon.

Topped with a few dashes of coffee bitters and a sprinkle of coffee grounds if you dare, you’ll be buzzing about this coffee and bourbon cocktail in no time.

One thing I love about this cocktail is the coffee liqueur and bitters are strong enough to give this cocktail enough coffee flavor without having to brew an extra pot of coffee. However, if you are craving a very coffee-heavy drink, you can use cold coffee ice cubes that will slowly melt off more flavor into every sip.

This smooth cocktail would be delicious for brunch or as an after-dinner drink.

top view of a coffee old-fashioned

What is an old-fashioned cocktail?

An old-fashioned is a classic whiskey cocktail. The classic cocktail is traditionally made with bourbon and served over a single large ice cube. It’s flavored with a cocktail cherry, orange peel and a dash of Angostura bitters, which are aromatic bitters, or sometimes orange bitters.

Old-fashioned cocktails are incredibly versatile drinks. The recipe offers a delicious blank slate that isn’t really blank at all, but you can mix them 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.

Ingredients

This coffee and bourbon cocktail only requires a few ingredients.

Bourbon

Chances are, you already have a favorite bourbon. Use that! But if you don’t have one yet, I have a list of all my favorite brands in my Bourbon 101 post.

A clean bourbon, like Maker’s Mark or Bulleit, would be a great choice to pair with the strong coffee flavors. The port barrel-soaked Angel’s Envy would be delicious and complex in this cocktail. Old Forester is the staple bourbon at our house — we think it’s the best whiskey for a budget.

For even more coffee flavor, you can try making this old-fashioned with Jameson Cold Brew, which is Irish whiskey mixed with cold brew coffee.

closeup of coffee grounds garnishing a coffee old-fashioned

Ice

Ice is always an important piece of any cocktail.

For an old-fashioned, I recommend a large ice cube or sphere because it will take longer to melt than a bunch of smaller cubes. As a result, your won’t get diluted too quickly, as spirit-forward drinks need to be sipped more slowly than an easy sipper like a mojito.

For a coffee lover’s version of this cocktail, use your favorite craft coffee brew or instant coffee to make a coffee ice sphere. As it melts, more coffee flavor will infuse into your drink. I wish I’d thought of this sooner!

Coffee Liqueur

Kahlua, Tia Maria and Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur are some of the most well-known brands for coffee liqueur out there. Patron XO is technically a coffee-flavored tequila, but it would also be great in this coffee cocktail. Crème de cacao can be used too, but it will make this drink more chocolatey.

But my favorite is homemade coffee liqueur. You can make it with your favorite coffee beans and vodka.

The coffee liqueur acts as the sweetener here, but if it’s not sweet enough for you, you can add simple syrup, a smidge of maple syrup, a sugar cube or a little bit of brown sugar. If you use sugar, you may want to stir it together in a mixing glass until the sugar dissolves.

Coffee Bitters

A dash or two of coffee bitters gives this drink even deeper notes of coffee and espresso. I used this coffee & chocolate bitters from Crude Bitters, but also love anything from El Guapo and they make a chicory pecan bitters that I must try soon.

Chocolate bitters would also be a delicious addition if you’d like to make this into a mocha old-fashioned cocktail.

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

a gold jigger and a coffee old-fashioned

How to make a coffee old-fashioned

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 coffee liqueur. Top with bourbon and carefully lower in a large ice cube. I do this last so that I don’t melt the ice too much as I pour spirits on top.

Lastly, add dashes of your coffee bitters on top.

I garnished this cocktail with a sprinkle of freshly ground coffee on top of the drink, but it’s totally optional if you don’t think you’ll like the texture. A few whole coffee beans can also be a great way to garnish this drink, or you can skip the garnish entirely.

If you are missing the orange flavor of the classic old-fashioned, feel free to add an orange twist.

top view of a coffee old-fashioned with a gold jigger

More old-fashioned cocktail recipes

Old-fashioned cocktails lend themselves well to coffee shop flavors. Try one of these old-fashioned recipes for more twists on the classic:

With flavors of cardamom, clove and cinnamon, this chai old-fashioned cocktail is one of my absolute favorites.

Use your favorite maple syrup to mix up a sweet maple old-fashioned.

A pumpkin spice old-fashioned is delicious in the fall months. Make it with homemade pumpkin spice syrup for extra flavor.

The chocolate peanut butter old-fashioned shines with peanut butter whiskey and chocolate bitters.

Let me know in the comments below if this cocktail becomes a new favorite! Please leave a recipe rating and/or review if you try it.

a coffee old-fashioned on a blue plate with coffee beans
a coffee old-fashioned on a blue plate with coffee beans

Coffee Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Wake up your senses with an aromatic and smooth coffee old-fashioned cocktail that's made with bourbon, coffee liqueur and coffee bitters.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce coffee liqueur
  • ice
  • 2 dashes coffee bitters
  • coffee beans, for garnish
  • coffee grounds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. To a rocks glass, add bourbon and coffee liqueur and stir together.
  2. Carefully lower in an ice sphere or large cube.
  3. Top with coffee bitters. Garnish with coffee beans and grounds, if desired.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 263Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 0g

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