Warm Old-Fashioned

Warm Old-Fashioned with Maker's Mark Bourbon WHiskey
The Old-fashioned is a great whiskey cocktail and on those cold, chilly nights you can warm it up with this simple recipe. Eisenhut and Mayer Wien/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Serving: 1 serving

The warm old-fashioned is perfect for really chilly days when a cold drink just won't do. It's the same great cocktail as the classic old-fashioned, it's simply topped off with a little warm water.

This recipe uses bourbon, which is a nice choice for a warm whiskey drink. Accenting it with the customary old-fashioned ingredients like a bitters-soaked sugar cube, orange, and cherry is a really nice touch. And, as soon as that hot water hits the mix, the flavors open up, melt together, and leave you with a soothing beverage that rivals any hot toddy.


  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3 dashes aromatic bitters
  • 1 orange slice
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • Splash of club soda
  • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • 2 ounces hot water
  • Garnish: orange slice
  • Garnish: cherry

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place a sugar cube in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass and saturate it with 3 dashes of bitters.

  3. Add the orange slice, cherry, and a splash of soda. Muddle thoroughly. Remove the fruit remnants.

  4. Add the bourbon and finish it off with warm water.

  5. Garnish with a fresh orange slice and a cherry. Serve and enjoy.


  • Not every glass is going to be able to stand up to hot water. Choose one made of thick glass and, if you don't have one, mix the drink up in an Irish coffee glass or your favorite mug.
  • When dousing the sugar cube, do your best to get the bitters onto the cube itself. Let it sit for a few seconds so it really soaks in before proceeding.
  • Choose your cherries carefully. The average neon red maraschino is actually bleached before red dye and artificial flavors are added. It's better to choose high-end, naturally processed maraschinos or use fresh or brandied cherries.
  • The amount of hot water is merely a suggestion. Start small and add more if you like. The goal is to gently warm the cocktail's base, not necessarily to fill the glass.
  • The water should not be boiling hot. The average temperature a teapot produces is perfect for this drink.

Recipe Variation

Nearly any whiskey (bourbon or another style) will work just fine in the warm old-fashioned. You may even enjoy it better with a high-proof, really robust whiskey or any of the fantastic rye whiskeys available.

How Strong Is a Warm Old-Fashioned?

If using a robust bourbon that's bottled at a flavorful 90 proof, this is not going to be a light drink. If you pour a full 2 ounces of water, the whiskey is knocked down to a pleasant 22 percent ABV (44 proof). That's a comfortable range for a short, casual sipper and will retain a nice whiskey flavor.