Brown-Butter Old Fashioned Recipe

The classic Old Fashioned cocktail gets an update with toasty, nutty browned butter, which adds richness while mellowing things out.

Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Washing the bourbon with butter infuses it with the alcohol-soluble aromatics in the fat.
  • Premixing the cocktail makes it simple for guests to serve themselves.

If you love a classic Old Fashioned, this rich, butter-enhanced twist will be right up your alley. Fat-washing is a simple process that infuses liquor with all the alcohol-soluble flavors in fat. It's a great trick to fancify any not-so-great whiskey into something smooth and rich. As a bonus, the butter becomes flavored with spicy notes of bourbon, perfect for your next batch of shortbread or for basting a pan-seared steak.

This recipe is for a batched drink, which transforms the whole bottle of whiskey into 12 cocktails, so guests can help themselves throughout an evening. Feel free to multiply the batch as needed.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Serves: 12 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 1 bottle bourbon (25 ounces; 750ml)
  • 1 cup butter (8 ounces; 224g)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (2 ounces; 60g)
  • 24 to 36 dashes bitters


  1. For the Bourbon: Pour bourbon into a freezer-safe, resealable plastic container. In a small saucepot over medium heat, melt butter and stir with a whisk until the solids brown, about 5 minutes. Immediately whisk butter into bourbon. Cover and freeze until butter rises to the top and solidifies, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

  2. Remove butter from bourbon and reserve for basting meat, cooking vegetables, or baking. Strain buttered bourbon through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any remaining droplets of butter.

  3. For the Cocktails: Dissolve turbinado sugar in 1/2 cup hot water (4 ounces; 120ml). Combine bourbon with sugar syrup and bitters. For each cocktail, serve the pre-batched Old Fashioned mixture on the rocks in a tumbler, or stirred with ice and then strained into a cocktail glass.

Special equipment

Fine-mesh strainer, whisk

This Recipe Appears In