Gingerbread Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

An old fashioned is the perfect winter drink. While simple, it has a warm and inviting flavor that's followed by the sharp bite of strong bourbon or brandy. It's as cozy as a drink can be with a giant ice cube in the middle. Involving muddled orange, cherry, and sugar, an old fashioned already has the makings of a good holiday drink, too — it only requires a few extra spices to taste a little more like Christmas. In this recipe developed with Michelle McGlinn, the old fashioned gets a wintry upgrade with a homemade gingerbread syrup made with molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice. It tastes just like your favorite Christmas cookies in a glass and is as dangerously delicious as you'd imagine. Whip up a few glasses for your big, cookie =-baking extravaganza (we know you have a whole day planned) and let the holiday spirit – or, as we like to call it, brandy – fill you up.

Gather the ingredients for a gingerbread old fashioned cocktail

To make the gingerbread syrup for this cocktail, you will need water, brown sugar, molasses, fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, and cloves. We recommend using whole spices here instead of ground so that you can strain the syrup into a smooth consistency. If you swap for ground spices, the syrup will taste just as good but will have a grainy texture that can't be strained away. To build the cocktail from there, you'll just need orange slices, cardamom bitters, and brandy. If you don't love a brandy old fashioned as much as we do, just swap it for your favorite bourbon, instead.

Step 1: Combine the syrup ingredients

Combine water, sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Step 2: Simmer

Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Step 3: Steep

Allow the spices to steep while the mixture cools for about 20 minutes.

Step 4: Strain the spices

Strain out the spices from the syrup.

Step 5: Add the orange slices

To build the cocktails, add 1 orange slice each to 4 rocks glasses.

Step 6: Muddle with bitters

Add 3 dashes bitters and 1 ounce gingerbread syrup to each glass, then muddle gently to juice the orange.

Step 7: Fill with ice

Fill the glasses with ice.

Step 8: Add the brandy

Pour 2 ounces brandy over the ice in each glass and stir.

Step 9: Serve

Serve, garnished with a gingerbread cookie, if desired.

What can use as a garnish for a gingerbread old fashioned?

Of course, we recommend garnishing this cocktail with a gingerbread cookie, which adds even more of the sugary, ginger flavor to the drink (it's also super cute). If you're in a rush and can't prepare a batch of cookies — not to mention shaping and icing them — there are plenty of other holiday-friendly garnishing options. Easiest of all is an orange slice, which can be folded into the drink as-is. You can also use dried oranges, which are especially easy if you already made a batch to use for garland. Besides fruit, you can also add a stick of cinnamon or a sprig of rosemary for some warm holiday cheer. If you really want the "cute" factor without the baking, you can also tie the glass with a little bow made of your favorite ribbon so that the drink looks like a tiny little present. If all else fails, check your local grocery store for premade gingerbread cookies — we won't tell.

How can I use leftover gingerbread syrup?

The gingerbread syrup is delicious on its own and can be used in a variety of ways apart from this old fashioned recipe. It can be used in other boozy winter drinks, like a gingerbread Manhattan or a spiced hot toddy. It can also be used to flavor your morning coffee; pair it with hazelnut or chocolate flavors. For an extra Christmas-y breakfast, drizzle the syrup over pancakes or waffles. This is especially good if your batter includes vanilla, nutmeg, or cinnamon already. You can also use it to top desserts like cheesecake or chocolate cake, where the warm spices complement the rich flavors. To store leftover gingerbread syrup, let it cool completely, then transfer it to a sealable jar or container. Store for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. As for the cocktail itself, it's best to make that fresh. But, with the syrup prepped and ready, the cocktail comes together in seconds.

Gingerbread Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe
5 from 21 ratings
Your next great holiday cocktail awaits with this gingerbread old fashioned, which features a make-from-scratch gingerbread syrup full of warming spices.
Prep Time
25
minutes
Cook Time
5
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
gingerbread old fashioned on wood table
Total time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the gingerbread syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • ½ inch fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries
  • 5 cloves
  • For the cocktails
  • 4 orange slices
  • 12 dashes cardamom bitters
  • 8 ounces brandy
Optional Ingredients
  • Gingerbread cookies, for garnish
Directions
  1. Combine water, sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Allow the spices to steep while the mixture cools for about 20 minutes.
  4. Strain out the spices from the syrup.
  5. To build the cocktails, add 1 orange slice each to 4 rocks glasses.
  6. Add 3 dashes bitters and 1 ounce gingerbread syrup to each glass, then muddle gently to juice the orange.
  7. Fill the glasses with ice.
  8. Pour 2 ounces brandy over the ice in each glass and stir.
  9. Serve, garnished with a gingerbread cookie, if desired.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 216
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Total Sugars 18.6 g
Sodium 9.5 mg
Protein 0.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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