Give Your Old Fashioned A Spring Makeover With One Easy Swap

Spring has officially sprung, and you know what that means: gin is stealing the spotlight on seasonal bar menus everywhere. Distilled from juniper berries, this spirit boasts a citrusy flavor bursting with herbal and floral undertones from botanicals, making it a perfect fit for the season — light, airy, and fragrant. But if you're craving for a smooth Old-Fashioned, the seasonal shift can be a bit of a problem. Crafted from whiskey, which brings warmth, this classic cocktail is typically enjoyed when the weather cools down, like at the tail end of summer and into fall.


However, don't fret, you can easily give it a springtime twist with a simple swap. Instead of reaching for bourbon, grab a quality bottle of gin to serve as the base for your Old-Fashioned!

Now, we know what you're thinking – swapping bourbon for gin may seem odd, even sacrilegious if you're a die-hard Old-Fashioned fan. But trust us, a shot of gin will not only align this cocktail with the spring season's vibe but also offer a brand-new tasting experience.

How well does gin blend into a classic old fashioned?

Surprisingly, even without the robust punch of rye or bourbon whiskey, gin still brings plenty of alcohol to the table, offering a comforting warmth with each sip. As we mentioned earlier, few spirits capture the floral essence of spring quite like gin.


In a classic old fashioned, you mix in orange bitters along with aromatic bitters like Angostura, then add sugar. Thankfully, gin pairs very well with all these components. The orange bitters, mixed from a blend of orange peel and spices such as cinnamon and anise, harmonize beautifully with the botanicals found in gin, so it'll lend a greater depth to the classic flavor of your cocktail.

The same holds for Angostura, which boasts its own blend of secret spices. Since gin also has a rich and complex aroma, particularly with its prominent herbal notes, it complements Angostura perfectly without overpowering it. It's the same mix-and-match principle used when crafting this whiskey-based sweet lavender old fashioned cocktail!


A good gin is key

You don't need to do much to the original recipe to get a gin old fashioned. All you have to do is to swap in a good gin in the exact proportion of whiskey written in the recipe.

Now, when it comes to selecting the right gin, quality matters significantly. Since the old fashioned is celebrated for its oak-infused flavor derived from whiskey, choosing a gin that can replicate this woody essence is crucial. Opting for juniper-forward gins like Bombay Sapphire or floral varieties such as Green Hat or St. George Botanivore won't quite hit the mark.


Instead, focus on barrel-finished gins, which undergo a brief aging process in oak barrels. Brands like Scratch Distillery, Bluecoat, and Philadelphia Distilling offer excellent options. These gins boast a deep amber hue reminiscent of aged whiskey and are packed with rich oaky and vanilla notes, which will give you that signature old fashioned vibe despite the different alcohol base. Additionally, the barrel-aging process will temper the spirit's intensity, resulting in a smoother flavor profile where the juniper presence is more subtle and less harsh. The drink should be a lot smoother as a result!