I love an Old Fashioned. It’s a delicious, classic, tried-and-true cocktail downed at bars since before “mixology” was even a term. While my go-to Old Fashioned includes the traditional choice — rye whiskey — I often sub in other spirits like aged rum or tequila, usually to good results. Of late I’ve been enjoying the merits of an Old Fashioned made with apple brandy.

The simple Old Fashioned recipe of spirit, sugar, water and bitters works great with the apple brandy. But subbing real maple syrup for sugar takes this cocktail to another level. The rich maple flavors marry nicely with the apple brandy, and as they’re wont to do, the bitters tie it all together into a well-balanced package.

Apple Brandy Old Fashioned

2 ounces apple brandy
2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
1 teaspoon real maple syrup

Add all ingredients to a rocks glass and stir until maple syrup is incorporated. Add a few big cubes of ice, and then stir again until cold.

A note about apple brandy: French Calvados works fine, but I prefer the domestic route. New Jersey-based Laird and Company makes a popular, accessible product called Applejack, which blends apple brandy with neutral spirits. Laird’s also makes a 100 proof straight apple brandy. I prefer the latter. Maybe it’s just my inner boozehound, but to me, the 100 proof apple brandy tastes better and generally stands up better in cocktails.


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