The Absolute Best Sweetener Swap For A Non-Alcoholic Old-Fashioned

A smooth old fashioned is the perfect blend of Angostura and orange bitters, bourbon or rye whiskey, and sugar that have been mixed to be served garnished with an orange peel. But whether you've committed to Dry January or have long enjoyed the world of mocktails, neither your social schedule nor drink preferences need to take a hit. Yes, you can still enjoy some of your favorite flavors and drink recipes sans booze, insists Punch. In fact, many bartenders take pleasure in recreating some of the classic, most traditional drinks recipes in a nonalcoholic form.

For instance, Punch highlights Barbuto in New York City, where the velvety mouthfeel of an old fashioned is mimicked using the alcohol-free alternative Kentucky 74. Kentucky 74 is a reverse-distilled drink that has been extracted from grain-neutral spirits to produce a drink with notes of oak, smoke, caramel, and vanilla — perfect for mixing into mocktails, explains Courier Journal. The product comes out of Spiritless, Kentucky's 74th distillery, that has set out to make drinks that give choices to party-goers by offering flavorful, textured flavors with negligible levels of alcohol (via Spiritless). Combining this ingredient with a certain sweetener will have you reaching for more.

A sweet touch

The experienced bartenders at Barbuto mix the Kentucky 74 with maple syrup that is kept at room-temperature to serve and slide "N/A Old-Fashioned" drinks across their Manhattan bar, notes Punch. Maple syrup can easily be added to both alcoholic and alcohol-free drinks, encourages Maple from Canada. Thick sweeteners like maple syrup help build a textured mouthfeel in drinks, and maple syrup can turn up the volume on warm and caramel notes (per Gastronom). Plus, maple syrup isn't just a sweet addition to mocktails and cocktails, but the sweetener also adds a bonus serving of minerals and vitamins to recipes, boasts Maple from Canada.

To authentically imitate a classic old fashioned — without the alcohol — at home, serve your mocktail strained and garnished. Consider adding burnt rosemary along with an orange twist, per Punch, to create a presentation that could easily be ordered and served at a top bar in New York.