Brown-Butter Old Fashioned Recipe

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

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.

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.

What’s New On Serious Eats

  • Yield:Makes 12 cocktails
  • Active time:30 minutes
  • Total time:1 1/2 hours
  • Rated:5
  • Ingredients

    • 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. 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. 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. 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.

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