Cinnamon Rosemary Old Fashioned

So, there’s no good way to say it: It’s been snowing here at least once a week for the last month, and it’s only the first week of October. Cue the bourbon cocktails! I searched online a few different times, but everything seemed to lead to the same variation of a bourbon-pear-sage libation, until I came across this lovely website: Salted Plains. To my delight, I found this recipe for a Cinnamon Rosemary Old Fashioned. I made a few minor changes (mostly opting for orange bitters and upping the orangey-ness overall), and here’s what we mixed up. Thanks, Salted Plains!


  • 2 oz bourbon (we used Bulleit Kentucky Straight Bourbon)
  • 4 tsp cinnamon/rosemary simple syrup
  • 4 dashes of orange bitters
  • Rosemary sprigs, to garnish

For the cinnamon/rosemary syrup

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, snapped into big pieces
  • 4, 3-inch strips of orange zest

To make the syrup, bring the water, honey, rosemary, cinnamon, and orange zest to a boil in a small pot, then reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, strain the syrup into a small Mason jar, and cool it to room temperature before placing it in the fridge to chill. If you’re into presentation, reserve the cinnamon and orange zest for garnishing the cocktail.

Ten minutes before cocktail time, place a highball glass in the freezer to chill (we opted for copper mules). To the chilled glass, add ice, then pour in the bourbon, simple syrup, and bitters. Stir until chilled, and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.

The verdict: I really didn’t like it… at first. I do, however, love a bold drink and really enjoyed the kick of warmth from the bourbon, but the finish was way too sweet for my liking. I kept wondering if it needed more bitters or even a little lemon juice to round everything out. But about four sips in, the ice began to melt, and the entire drink changed for me. It’s not just that the drink diluted, ether; it’s that the water helped the bourbon flavour linger and bring out all those yummy notes of cinnamon and orange that seemed masked before. As for everyone else, two of the other three thought it was a decent cocktail from the get-go, and we all agreed that it kept getting better. Would we try it again? A definite yes from two of us. Sold!

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