Some people love Old-Fashioned, while others don’t. What you can learn about the people who enjoy Old-Fashioned regularly is that they have a particular and unique taste in the type of whiskey they consume.
The Old-Fashioned cocktail consists of booze, sugar, ice, and Angostura bitters. It’s simple, so the whiskey you use for making this cocktail matters a lot.
When choosing a whiskey for your Old-Fashioned, consider bourbons that aren’t too sweet, ryes that aren’t too spicy, and high-proof and dry enough whiskeys to handle the sugar cube and ice dilution.
However, that doesn’t mean you should purchase the most expensive whiskey you find. Remember that the Old-Fashioned cocktail is mixed, so you can get away with a decent bourbon or rye and save your extravagant bottles for thoughtful sipping or celebrations.
In today’s article, I will suggest some of the best whiskey for Old-Fashioned drinks, so let’s dive right in.
Best Whiskey for Old Fashioned: 25 Proven Choices
The Old-Fashioned is a simple but still complicated drink to prepare. In fact, getting the mixture right takes a talented mixologist or experienced bartender to concoct.
Moreover, the best Old-Fashioned drinks come with a single ice cube; however, you can find different opinions on this step of the making process.
Nonetheless, using the whiskey for this drink matters the most, but picking the right one can be overwhelming with so much booze on the market.
That’s where I kick in and save you time and headaches. Here’s a list of the 25 best whiskeys for your Old-Fashioned drink (if you’re of legal drinking age, of course).
1. Old Forester 100
The Old Forester 100 is a product of the Old Forester Distillery, which plays a vital part in American bourbon history.
It’s the first bourbon in the United States sold in sealed bottles. It’s also the longest continuously distilled operation.
If you’re looking for something with a strong and bold flavor that will perfectly fit your recipe for your Old-Fashioned, look no further than this bourbon.
It’s a unique blend of fruits, baking spices, and caramel, so it’s the perfect base for your Old-Fashioned.
You can purchase a 750ml bottle of this bourbon for about $25.
2. Balcones Baby Blue
The Balcones Baby Blue is a product of the Texan distillery Balcones. It’s made with heirloom blue corn. What’s special about this blue corn is that it was created by the Native American Hopi tribe.
If you’re looking for a buttery and nutty whiskey with unique flavors of tropical fruits, smoked paprika, and wholemeal bread, consider Balcones Baby Blue.
3. Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is popular booze made in the Buffalo Trace Distillery.
This distillery produces the most popular whiskey brands worldwide, including Eagle Rare, Pappy Van Winkle, and Sazerac Rye, among many others.
Their bourbon will work for Old-Fashioned thanks to the strong flavor and aromas of toffee, cinnamon, and profiteroles with undertones of more toffee, coffee, apple, and dried fruit.
4. Four Roses Small Batch
Bourbon consists of various grains. The blend is known as the ‘mash bill,’ and corn takes about 51% of the recipe.
Four Roses have five yeasts and two mash bills to prepare ten recipes for bourbon in their products.
The Four Roses Small Batch is a blend of four bourbons, delivering a deep whiskey with hints of strawberry, raspberry, cinnamon, and caramel.
5. High West Rendezvous Rye
The High West is the only ski-in, ski-out distillery in the world. Located in Utah, this distillery makes the popular High West Rendezvous Rye, a combination of aged rye whiskeys between four and seven years.
It’s a spicy, full-bodied whiskey with hints of cherry, buttered bread, apricot, vanilla, anise, cinnamon, and peppery spice, all covered with a floral taste.
6. Maker’s 46
The producers of Makers Mark produced the 46 in the same manner as the original bourbon. The only difference is the aging process.
The Maker’s 46 is completed in barrels with other European oak staved added. It’s a spicy whiskey with unique flavors of vanilla, tropical fruits, fudge, and undertones of chili, paprika, and peach.
7. Michter’s US 1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Michter’s entered the industry in 1753. The company underwent two name changes over the years, numerous owners, and a 23-year production break.
Their Straight Bourbon comes in small batches of only 20 barrels and delivers a rich palate of caramel, vanilla fudge, black pepper spice, and dried fruits.
8. Wild Turkey 101
Produced by a father and a son, Jimmy and Eddie Rusell, Wild Turkey has been on the market for over six decades.
Their distillery’s portfolio of whiskey is extensive and trusted by bourbon lovers. And Wild Turkey 101 is one of their most popular products.
It’s the ideal high-abv product for people who like a boozy kick in their cocktails. It’s a unique combo of wholemeal bread, vanilla, Butterscotch, toasted nuts, and winter spices that will take your Old-Fashioned to the next level.
9. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The Woodford Reserve’s recipe includes 18% rye, a pretty high amount for bourbon, and provides chocolatey and spicy notes in the whiskey.
If you pick the Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, you will get a unique combo of cinnamon, cocoa, and tobacco spice flavors with hints of vanilla, orange peel, and ginger.
10. Jim Beam White Label Bourbon Whiskey
The Jum Beam White Label Bourbon Whiskey includes the same ingredients since the 18th century, so you know it’s good.
Although it’s not as deep as other whiskeys, it’s still consistent, spicy, and smooth. The best part? It’s a budget-friendly option for your Old-Fashioned.
Also, you don’t have to worry about quality, as Jim Beam is one of the world’s most popular and best-selling brands. The flavor is inviting with a blend of vanilla aromas, cornbread, and light caramel.
So, look no further than this well-known bourbon if you’re looking for soft and easy-drinking alcohol.
11. Rittenhouse Straight Rye Bottled-in-Bond
If you’re in the market for a super affordable rye, consider Rittenhouse Straight Rye Bottled-in-Bond.
It’s slightly stronger than a classic bourbon, with unique notes of pepper and hints of subtle fruit. You will get oak notes with spice and caramel ending in a dry taste.
You can use this spirit for your Old-Fashioned, as it’s capable of withstanding sugar cubes. The Rittenhouse Straight Rye Bottled-in-bond is a product of the Heaven Hill distillery and makes a great choice for most cocktails because of the deep flavor.
In fact, it’s a go-to for bartenders because it’s super versatile. You can try it in your Old-Fashioned, Boulevardier, or Manhattan.
12. Sazerac Rye
The Sazerac Rye has a deep, exotic, and spicy flavor. It’s special rye that will mix into your Old-Fashioned perfectly and provide a unique beverage.
If you choose this whiskey, you will get your drink in a recognizable, attractive bottle and sleek log. The Sazarac Rye has pleasant but not super intense aromas of stone fruit and toasted oak.
The palate provides a well-balanced combination of grain, banana, and spice, which work well for the whiskey’s namesake cocktail.
13. Widow Jane Oak & Apple Wood Aged Rye
The Brooklyn’s Widow Jane adds a creative touch to the rye whiskey by introducing applewood staves into the barrels throughout maturation.
The final product has rye-forward aromas followed by a hint of cornbread, while the palate provides sweetness and spice with a bitter dark chocolate finish. So, it’s ideal for your complex Old-Fashioned.
If you’re searching for something tested and proven that will help you make the best Old-Fashioned, consider Widow Jane Oak and Apple Wood Aged Rye.
14. Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond
The Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond is a robust option for traditional cocktails like the Old-Fashioned.
It’s a good whiskey with a peppery smell and sweet and fruity palate. Although it’s a cheaper option that won’t impress your friends, it’s still a great whiskey with a charm and a reasonable price.
You can get a bottle of Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond for as little as $15-20. People often overlook this whiskey when looking for options for their Old-Fashioned cocktail because they think the more expensive the whiskey, the better.
However, that’s not the case when using whiskeys for cocktails.
You can use a cheap alternative in your mix and prepare a satisfying cocktail if it’s a good whiskey like this one.
The best part? No one will suspect you’ve used a cheaper whiskey because it’s that good.
15. Starward Nova Single Malt Australian Whisky
The malted barley mash of this whiskey uses brewer’s yeast for fermentation, while the final double-distilled spirit remains in red wine barrels sourced from the Barossa and Yarra valleys.
Australia’s winemakers and brewers inspired the making process of this whiskey.
The result is a single malt containing vibrant red fruit and baking spices. They come in strong but balanced proportions.
So, you have nothing to worry about when making your Old-Fashioned because it’s a great option with complex and deep flavor.
Lastly, you don’t have to use it in only your Old-Fashioned. This whiskey also works well in many other cocktails, so experiment a little and discover new flavors.
16. Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey
The Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey can also help you make a good Old-Fashioned cocktail because it’s strong and unique.
If you buy this whiskey, you will get New York’s original bourbon made of 100% corn grown in the state and kept in small barrels for best results.
The Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey has a sweet, caramel, and vanilla character, so it’s a great base for many cocktails, including Old-Fashioned.
Most bartenders use this whiskey in their cocktails because it’s intense and delivers excellent results.
Just mix two ounces of Hudson Baby and a small amount of simple syrup; pour this mixture over ice cubes, and you’ve got yourself a delicious cocktail.
17. Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 10 Year isn’t the same as the Eagle Rare Single Barrel. The Eagle Rare Single Barrel isn’t a blended bourbon, so it’s best not to mix it into cocktails and drink it plain.
However, the Eagle Rare 10 Year will provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience if you make your Old-Fashioned with it.
It’s a luxurious bourbon with a subtle depth of flavor that many people get surprised by because it’s not the most expensive whiskey on the market. On the contrary, it’s a reasonably priced whiskey.
The best part? You can quickly find the ten-year-old Buffalo Trace bottling in stores and enjoy a sweet, mellow, and appealing flavor.
The 17-year-old elder sibling of this whiskey provides extra boldness. However, this one is still mature with hints of tobacco, leather, caramel, and vanilla.
18. Elijah Craig Barrel-Proof
The Elijah Craig Barrel-Proof comes from Kentucky. It’s a rich and complex bourbon that will nicely complement your Old-Fashioned.
You will definitely taste the bourbon in your cocktail if you use Elijah Craig. It’s well-balanced, elegant, and flavorful. In short, it’s like everything you ever wanted from a bourbon.
The tasting notes of this option include oak, apple, Butterscotch, and cinnamon, so it’s the perfect base for your cocktail.
19. Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey
The Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey is aged three years but still works great in different cocktails, including Old-Fashioned.
The tasting notes of this Kentucky whiskey include pie crust, cinnamon, and oak, so it’s a great base for cocktails. It’s strong but not too intense, so you will get a mellow Old-Fashioned that will satisfy your thirst for whiskey.
People recommend this whiskey for Old-Fashioned because it’s popular, reasonably priced, and well-balanced between grain and spice flavors.
It’s a great mixable classic for all types of cocktails.
The best part? You can mix different drinks with this rye for your friends and family without breaking your bank account.
20. WhistlePig Rye 10 Year
The WhistlePig Rye comes from Vermont. It’s a spicy and edgy all-rye whiskey with a chocolate finish and packs a punch at 100 proof.
People prefer this creamy whiskey for their cocktails because it’s aged in barrels for citrusy and caramelly notes with a chocolate finish and velvety mouthfeel.
The tasting notes include caramel, orange, dark chocolate, and spice. They all work well in different cocktails, including Old-Fashioned, as they provide the right texture, so you can rest assured you’re making a knockout drink.
21. Bulleit Bourbon
The Bulleit Bourbon originates from Kentucky. It’s distilled and bottled in Loretto and makes a great choice for cocktails, as it’s strong but not too intense.
The tasting notes of this whiskey include nutmeg, oak, and maple.
Made of a mash of corn, malted barley, and rye and aged in charred oak barrels for four years, this whiskey has a medium amber color and a smooth, clean finish with toffee hints.
If you choose this whiskey for your Old-Fashioned, you will notice it’s slightly spiced with sweet oak notes. It’s a bold, complex, and unique whiskey with many flavors.
Therefore, it’s perfect for making cocktails with aromatic bitters, sugar, and cherries. If you add this unique whiskey to your cocktails, you can expect a flavorful drink that will knock your loved ones off their feet.
You can find a 750ml bottle of this good whiskey for as little as $25.
22. Larceny Small Batch Bourbon
The Larceny Small Batch Bourbon comes from Kentucky and doesn’t cost much. It’s a cheaper whiskey ($20 for a 750ml bottle) but still great for making cocktails.
Therefore, you don’t have to break your bank account to make good cocktails.
The tasting notes of this bourbon include spiced cherries, vanilla, oak, and caramel. Now, that’s a great combination that will complement your Old-Fashioned drink.
Produced in the heart of Kentucky, this bourbon is suspected to include corn, wheat, and malted barley. And I say “suspected” because the mash bill is kept a secret.
Moreover, it’s bottled at 92 proof and comes in 50ml and 750ml bottles, so you can buy whatever bottle meets your needs.
Additionally, it’s one of the few bourbons with wheat as a secondary grain.
There aren’t many companies that make wheated bourbons. And while competitors like Makers Mark focus on the wheat in the mash bill, Larceny made something that appeals to a bigger audience.
As a result, many people criticize Makers Mark’s taste, while the taste of Larceny is preferred and doesn’t draw complaints.
They prefer Larceny because it’s unique. The notes of spicy cherry make it a lovely fit in many cocktails, including Old-Fashioned.
23. High West Whiskey Double Rye
The High West Whiskey Double Rye is made in Kentucky and costs only 28$. It’s a combination of two types of Straight Rye Whiskey, one aged for two years and the other for nine years.
The tasting notes of this whiskey include honeysuckle, oak, and vanilla, so it’s mild but still suitable for making cocktails.
Overall, it’s not very strong but has good spice notes, so if you’re looking for a spicy whiskey for your Old-Fashioned, look no further than this one.
Remember that sipped neat, the taste of this whiskey is slightly muted.
It almost tastes diluted, and you only get light notes of oak and vanilla and the slight sweetness from honeysuckle and honey.
However, if you add this whiskey to your Old-Fashioned, you will get a great cocktail because the other ingredients will balance out the spiciness and pronounce the light notes and sweetness.
In a nutshell, this whiskey makes a great choice for spicy cocktails.
24. Willet Family Estate Four-Year Rye
The Willet Family Estate Four-Year Rye is produced in Kentucky and costs $70. So, it’s a little pricey.
However, the caramel, spice, mint, and raisin tasting notes make this whiskey worth the cost. The Willet Family Estate Four-Year Rye combines Willet’s high rye mash bill and Willet’s low rye mash bill.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s probably not that special, but you’re mistaken.
This whiskey doesn’t look good on paper and is aged for “only” four years; however, it’s still a great rye whiskey with a good aroma and flavor profile. Moreover, you can taste botanical and floral notes that will make your drinks even more exciting.
In short, it’s a perfect option for preparing a rye Old-Fashioned.
In a combination with aromatic cocktail bitters and sugar, this spirit provides a wide range of flavors that will impress your loved ones.
25. Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey
You can never go wrong with good old Jack Daniels.
What’s interesting about this whiskey is that every bottle sold worldwide is still made at the distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the taste profile of this whiskey. However, if you’re new to whiskeys and cocktails, here’s a short description. It’s light and sweet with notes of spice, oily nuts, and a touch of smoke.
You will also get hints of banana milkshake, caramel with crème anglaise, and nuts. The finish is sweet.
To make a good Jack Old Fashioned, you will need two ounces of Jack Daniel’s Old No.7, 1/2 ounces of simple syrup, and two dashes of bitters.
Which Whisky is Best for an Old Fashioned?
When making your Old-Fashioned cocktail, you should always use a high-quality rye or bourbon American whiskey. Note that Old-Fashioned is a serious, unique cocktail in which the spirit plays a vital part.
Any whiskeys above will work for your Old-Fashioned, so take a look and make your pick.
What Kind of Bourbon is Best for an Old Fashioned?
Great bourbons for your Old-Fashioned includes Four Roses Small Batch, Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, Elijah Craig Small Batch, Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style, Eagle Rare 10-Year, Knob Creek 9-Year, Old Grandad 114, Marker’s Mark, and Bulleit.
What Bourbon Do Bars Use for Old Fashioned?
Most bars prefer Four Roses Small Batch for Old-Fashioned because it’s a perfect blend that gives the cocktail character.
Can You Use Jack Daniels in an Old Fashioned?
You can use Jack Daniels in your Old-Fashioned and get excellent results. Just mix two ounces of Jack Daniels, one sugar cube, one teaspoon of water, two dashes of cocktail bitters, and one orange peel.
Hopefully, you find this guide helpful, and remember that the best whiskey for Old-Fashioned is the one that suits your tastebuds best.
I highly suggest you experiment with different types of whiskey and determine which works best for you and your loved ones.