My Pop-Pop was a classic. With his black hair slicked back and a super clean shave, he looked like a cross between Dean Martin and Ronald Reagan. And that hair was black as ever until the day he died at the age of 90. He was a consummate gentleman, soft spoken and kind. I literally never heard him raise his voice, not even once. He enjoyed classic car shows, cigarettes (when they were cool), and sipping on bourbon cocktails. This Fig Old Fashioned Cocktail would have been right up his alley.
What is an Old Fashioned?
An Old Fashioned is a bourbon whiskey cocktail that’s traditionally made with sugar cubes, orange peel and bitters. Some bartenders will also garnish an Old Fashioned with a cherry. My Pop-Pop always liked the cherry.
An Old Fashioned is similar to a Manhattan in that they’re both bourbon-based and have bitters, but a Manhattan uses sweet vermouth and no sugar cubes.
If you’re a stickler for the classics, you’ll be making this Fig Old Fashioned Cocktail with whiskey. But more and more, people are pouring bourbon into their Old Fashioneds.
What’s the difference? Well, all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. A whiskey must meet a higher, stricter set of standards in the distilling process in order to be called a bourbon. For me, bourbon is always the right answer.
How to Make a Fig Old Fashioned
Although I love a classic Old Fashioned Cocktail, I hate adding straight sugar to my drinks. So the sugar cube thing tends to put me off. We’re swapping out the sugar cubes in this cocktail for fig preserves. Still sweet, plus the added bonus of fig flavor. And figs are just so perfect this time of year.
The orange juice also adds some sweetness. So we’ve got the OJ and the fig preserves plus the standards: bourbon and bitters. I love Angostura bitters and use them as a gold standard for cocktails. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are lots of different flavored bitters out there to experiment with.
Garnish these cocktails with fresh figs, orange peel, fresh thyme or even a cocktail cherry. The flavors are just right for the season. Cheers!
Fig Old Fashioned Cocktail
- 2 shots quality whiskey or bourbon
- 2 dashes bitters
- 2 tsp. fig preserves
- 2 tsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 sprig fresh thyme garnish, optional
- 1 fresh fig sliced, garnish, optional
- 1 orange peel garnish, optional
- Pour the fig preserves and orange juice into a shaker. Shake vigorously.
- Strain the fig mixture into the glass. Pour in the bourbon and bitters. Stir gently.
- Fill the glass with ice and stir gently again. Garnish with fresh thyme, fresh figs and/or orange peel.