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Spiced Cherry Wood Old Fashioned

This recipe is sponsored by All opinions are my own.

This spiced Old Fashioned is the perfect cold weather cocktail. It’s a simple drink that features a couple of elevated ingredients that are well worth the extra time spent making them.

a fancy rocks glass filled with a golden brown cocktail.

My spiced Old Fashioned uses an easy spiced simple syrup that can be whipped up in just minutes. I’ve also used a bourbon that I infused with cherry wood thanks to the Barrel Char in a Jar system.

Barrel Char in a Jar spirits aging

The Barrel Char Jar system is a simple and effective way to infuse spirits at home with toasted or charred wood. The process does take some patience, but in as little as a few weeks, your infusion will begin to create new flavors and lend incredible smoothness to any liquor of your choosing.

I began a series of infusions back in October 2021 and the results have been fantastic. I made a London dry gin infused with birch, a white rum infused with sugar maple, and a tequila blanco infused with Brazilian amburana wood.

All of the infusions have been very tasty, but this cherry wood infused bourbon has probably been the most popular.

Four mason jars filled with liquor and pieces of wood.

The 6+ month infusion of Maker’s Mark with toasted cherry wood was a great success, transforming the flavor of the bourbon with layers of spice, roasted nuts, and dried fruit.

Maker’s Mark has a prominent vanilla note that was right at home with the new flavors of allspice, almond, and ripe stone fruits.

One note about cherry wood is that it seems to add a noticeable astringency to the liquor. I think for me, the perfect length of time to infuse a bourbon with cherry wood would be somewhere between 4 and 6 months so that it’s full of flavor, but doesn’t become too “dry” on the tongue.

Learn all about this spirits aging alternative in my Barrel Char in a Jar review or check them out at!

More barrel jar infusion cocktail recipes:

How to make the spiced simple syrup

Spiced simple syrup is an easy way to add all of those comforting baking spices to drinks both hot and cold. First, add equal measures of water and sugar to a small saucepan with your desired spices and place over medium heat.

pouring spiced simple syrup from a jigger into a mixing glass.

Spiced simple syrup ingredients:

  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Demerara sugar
  • Cardamom pods
  • Allspice berries
  • Orange peel

Stir to dissolve all of the sugar, allow the syrup to simmer for 5-10 minutes, then let the liquid cool. Once fully cool, strain out the solids and store the syrup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Get the detailed Spiced Simple Syrup Recipe.

Tips for making the perfect Old Fashioned

Everyone seems to have their own preferred way to make an Old Fashioned. I might not know how you enjoy yours, but I can share what I have found to be my perfect method.

This recipe obviously uses a simple syrup to sweeten the drink, rather than a sugar cube. Sugar cubes don’t dissolve readily and can leave you with a gritty cocktail. Skip the sugar cubes and use simple syrup when you make any Old Fashioned and you won’t regret it.

pouring whiskey from a silver jigger into a mixing glass.

There’s no muddled fruit here – this is a classic, 1800s-style Old Fashioned. That being said, I feel like a little orange and cherry would actually work really well with the baking spices in the syrup.

I prefer to stir my Old Fashioned with ice and then strain it over fresh ice if I’m straining over a large chunk of ice for serving. This gives the drink just the right amount of dilution.

However, if I’m serving my OF over regular, smaller ice, I know I’ll get much more dilution – so I will often make the drink in the same glass I’m going to drink it out of. Stir as usual, then add some more fresh ice to the glass and garnish.

pouring a golden cocktail from a mixing glass into a rocks glass.

Be sure to measure your ingredients carefully when making a very simple drink like an Old Fashioned. Too much or too little sweetener can really throw off the balance of the drink.

And don’t forget the orange peel oils! Expressing the orange peel over the surface of the drink is critical to the final flavor and aroma of an OF.

Options for bitters

You can use any bitters you like for this recipe. I like to use orange or aromatic since they both work beautifully with the spiced syrup.

However, you could also use interesting bitters like chocolate, pecan, coffee, or even peach. Bitters are a really fun way to play around with classic cocktail templates.

a golden brown cocktail in a rocks glass with a fancy orange twist.

Learn all about citrus peel garnishes in my beginner’s garnish guide and my guide to citrus peel garnishes and find a tutorial for this particular spiked orange peel over on Instagram.

You may also enjoy these other cocktails:

a golden brown cocktail in a rocks glass with a fancy orange twist.

Spiced Cherry Wood Old Fashioned Cocktail

Amy Traynor
This simple variation on the classic Old Fashioned enhances the flavors of your bourbon of choice with a spiced simple syrup and a cherry wood infused bourbon.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Syrup Cooling Time 20 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail


For the cocktail:

  • 2 oz cherry wood infused bourbon I used Maker's Mark
  • ¼ oz spiced simple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

For the spiced simple syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar I used demerara
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 1 wide piece of orange peel


For the cocktail:

  • Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill it about 3/4 with ice.
  • Stir until well chilled, then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an expressed orange peel.

For the spiced simple syrup:

  • Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir frequently until all of the sugar has dissolved. Add the spices and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until flavorful.
  • Allow the syrup to cool, then strain out the solids. Store the syrup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar (I used demerara)
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 3 allspice berries
  • Orange peel
Keyword barrel char jar, bourbon, old fashioned, simple syrup, spiced simple syrup, whiskey
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