Ultimate Old Fashioned with Spiced Maraschino Cherries


Here we walk through the three keys of craft mixology with this cocktail:

1. Quality Ingredients

This Old Fashioned recipe uses spiced maraschino cherries as a key ingredient. I use the recipe from the Cupcake Project Blog here. These are well worth the time to make.

Do not use standard “maraschino” cherries! If you must buy, get a real maraschino cherry like the Oregon Bordeaux cherries.

2. Precise Measuring

Put your bitters in a dropper bottle. It’s far to easy to overwhelm a cocktail by dashing just a bit too much bitters in it. Measure your alcohol, too! If you don’t have one, the OXO SteeL Double Jigger is the best I’ve ever used.

3. Perfect Technique

Shake, then shake some more. It’s an arm work out to get the sugar to dissolve this way but it’s worth it because the sugar abrades the orange and cherry and extracts maximum flavor into the drink.

Double-strain! There’s an enormous difference between a finely-strained cocktail and one with pulp. If you leave fruit pulp (or – shudder – pieces of fruit) in a cocktail like this, it will cause separation over a few minutes. You’ll wind up with fruit bits on one layer, alcohol on another and a skin of water on the top.

Fruit juice and oils are in the drink, whole fruit is in the garnish. Keep it that way.


Ultimate Old Fashioned with Spiced Maraschino Cherries

  • YIELD: 1 drink (1 Servings)
  • PREP: 5 mins

The best Old Fashioned you’ll ever have.


  • hard ice
  • 2 half-moons orange
  • 2 spiced maraschino cherries
  • 2 oz bourbon prefer a premium or super-premium like Woodford Reserve or Four Roses Small Batch
  • 8 drops Angostura bitters (app. 2 small dashes)


  1. Add to shaker: * 1 half-moon orange * 1 spiced maraschino cherry * sugar * bitters * bourbon
  2. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds or until sugar is disolved.
  3. Double-strain (hawthorne & fine mesh) into double-old fashioned glass.
  4. Fill glass with ice and top with a flag made using the other orange half-moon and spiced maraschino cherry.
  5. Stick in a straw and enjoy!

Recipes from the 2013 4th annual Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience

Kelly Choi master of ceremonies @kellychoi


Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience Judges:  Chris Morris,


This year’s Manhattan Experience featured cocktails:


Contest recipes in order of presentation:

Twitter hash tag #WoodfordNYC will get your posts with additional photos of drinks and the event.

Washington D.C.’s Charles Tappan presents his cocktail “The Lineage” : 2oz Woodford Reserve bourbon, 1oz Lillet Rose, 2 dashes bitters, 1 1/2 smoked honey ice cubes. Smoked honey ice cubes: boil 2 cups water w/ 1 cup honey. Add 1 1/2 oz. Lapsang Souchong tea. Let cool and freeze in ice cube tray.

Up next is Travis Fourmont’s “Midnight Manhattan” : 2oz Woodford Reserve bourbon, 1/2oz Italian Amaro, 1/4oz each cherry liqueur & bitter orange liqueur, 4 dashes orange bitters.

Marc Yanga with “The Jerry Thomas Experiment” : 2oz Woodford Reserve bourbon, 1oz Carpano Antica, 1/4oz orange curaçao, 3 dashes orange bitters

Kyle Grosz with “The Big Horse” Manhattan : 2oz Woodford Reserve bourbon, 3/4oz Cocchi Barolo Chinato, 1/2oz Original Combier, 2 dashes bitters.

Garron Gore shows off his “East of Hudson” Manhattan for the judges : 2oz Woodford Reserve bourbon, 1/2oz Carpano Antica, 1/2oz Punt e Mes, 2 dashes bitters.

Last but not least, here’s Christopher Ryan James making his “Far East Manhattan” : 2oz Woodford Reserve bourbon, 1oz sesame seed infused vermouth, 2 dashes bitters.

More detailed recipe instructions and photos of each drink and mixologist can be found on Bourbon Blog.

The 2013 4th annual Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience Winner is…

Garron Gore wins audience favorite with his East of Hudson!
Congrats Garron!

And the big prize goes to… Travis Fourmont’s “Midnight Manhattan.”
Congratulations Travis!

Woodford Reserve cocktails from NYC for the 3rd annual Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience 2012

In honor of tonight’s 4th Annual Woodford Reserve Manhattan Contest I’m going to post the recipes from the 2012 contest. If you would like to follow along with this year’s contest, starting at 7:30pm EST January 7th 2013, follow Woodford Reserve’s Twitter feed at: twitter.com/woodfordreserve

There was a full house at the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience in NYC 2012. 79d077189c66dc6184b9262e4cedf474 1a9dc7731036a072cf028490f6c60678

The bartenders scurry to prepare garnishes for the competition.


Recipes are in order of the competition:

First up is Rob Turek’s Buffalo Plains Manhattan: 1.5 oz buffalo bacon fat washed WR, 3/4 oz black peppercorn infused vermouth, 1/4 oz elderflower liqueur, 1 dash chocolate bitters.

Now up is Karla Ramsey from Louisville, KY with the Ramsey’s Manhattan: 2 oz WR, 1 oz apple brandy, 1 oz sweet vermouth, 2 splashes bitters

Curtis Parker from Indy makes the Downtown Manhattan while we sip on a WR Bourbon Ball manhattan. pic.twitter.com/fUDFjJlH Downtown Manhattan: 2 1/2 oz WR, 1/4 oz cherry syrup, 1 orange rind, 2 coffee beans, 2 vanilla beans

From Philly comes Colin Shearn’s Radiation Blues Manhattan: 2 oz WR, 1/2 oz orange curaçao, 1/2 oz Italian bitters, 3 dashes bitters

Seattle’s own Brien Hendershott makes a Vintage Manhattan: 2 oz WR, 1/2 oz sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz port vinegar reduction, 3 dashes bitters

NYC’s Joann Spiegel’s “Leaving Manhattan”: 2 oz WR, 1/2 oz Italian vermouth, 1/4 oz dark creme de cacao, 1/4 oz black tea

Joe Raya from Charleston presents his Connecticut Shade Manhattan: 2 oz tabasco infused WR, 1 oz vermouth, 1 dash homemade Tabasco bitters

Last years winner, Nick Nistico from Miami, creates Mr. October: 2 1/2 oz WR, 1 oz mandarin liqueur, 1 oz ginger syrup, 1/2 oz sweet vermouth, 2 dashes bitters, 2 dashes orange bitters

Now up is John Miller’s “The Big Apple” from Annapolis: 2 oz Maple infused WR, 1 oz cinnamon infused vermouth, 2 dashes baked apple bitters

From the nation’s capital comes Erik Thompson with his Blackened Cherry Manhattan : 2 oz WR, 1 oz sweet vermouth, 5 sprays cherry bitters

From Scottsdale, AZ comes Matt McCullough’s “The Big Orange”: 2 oz WR, 1/2 oz Tuaca, 1/2 oz orange liqueur, 1/4 oz Madeira

Up now – Michael Cerretani’s “Woodford Dey Manhattan” from Denver: 2 oz WR, 1/4 oz bitters, 1/4 oz vermouth, 1/4 oz yellow chartreuse build

Chicago’s own Jonny Abens concocts his “Chicago Sunday”: 2 oz WR, 1/4 oz maple syrup, 4 dashes peach bitters, 1/4 oz lemon juice

And now for Sin City’s Jessica Fesler with “The Mayan 212”: 2 oz WR, 1 oz Licor 43, 2 dashes bitters infused w/ red chili pepper.

Last 2 bartenders… Now up is James Potter from ATL with “The Absinthe Minded Professor”: 2 oz WR, 3/4 Chai-infused swt vermouth and 1/4 oz orange liqueur

Last but not least is Christopher Asay from Asbury Park, NJ with “The Hothead Manhattan” : in heat resistant container Ignite 3 oz WR with 1 1/2 oz jalapeño infused ginger syrup and 3/4 set vermouth. Also add 3/4 oz high proof rum and 4 dashes bitters and ignite in 2nd heat resistant container add 3 oz boiling water. Pass solution back and forth w/ ignited water. After a few passes snuff the flame and pour!


The 2012 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Contest Winner:

Joann Spiegel’s “Leaving Manhattan”: ” 2 oz WR, 1/2 oz vermouth, 1/4 oz creme de cacao, 1/4 oz Lapsang tea syrup, 2 dashes orange bitters



Woodford Reserve Kentucky Coffee

  • YIELD: 1 cocktail (1 Servings)
  • PREP: 5 mins

Rich, creamy, warm and bourbon-y.


  • 1 oz sorghum syrup
  • 1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • coffee
  • heavy cream
  • holiday spice mix


  1. In coffee mug, mix together sorghum syrup, bourbon and coffee. Leave 1/2″ room at top of mug for cream.
  2. Layer the cream on top of the coffee. You can do this by pouring it slowly over the back of a spoon just barely dipped in the coffee.
  3. Sprinkle generously with the holiday spice mix.
  4. * The holiday spice mix is just pre-ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves mixed together. I keep mine in a mason jar.

Woodford Reserve Applejack Ginger Hot Toddy

  • YIELD: 1 cocktail (1 Servings)
  • PREP: 5 mins

Bright and sweet with apple, ginger, caramel and vanilla.


  • 1/2 oz ginger syrup
  • 1/2 oz applejack
  • juice of 2 half-moon lemon slices
  • 1 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • 1 bag strong black tea


  1. In coffee mug, combine all ingredients. Fill with hot water. Stir gently.

The Woodford Reserve Advanced Flavor Wheel

Yesterday we held our first Advanced Flavor Wheel tasting. This builds on the basic Flavor Wheel tasting developed by Ouita Michel. In the basic tasting participants taste six items – parmesan, toasted nut, dried berry, fresh orange, dark chocolate and sorghum – against Woodford Reserve neat. This type of culinary-aid tasting allows the participants to taste many of the subtle and nuanced flavors in the bourbon that they might not otherwise be able to detect.

For the Advanced Flavor Wheel, participants had an assortment of over 30 different food items to taste against. These ranged from single ingredients – like apple slices, mint springs and country ham – to freshly made syrups and scratch-made rye crackers.

We also served our signature sorghum mint julep cocktail.

This level of tasting allows a very rich palate experience. It’s something very unique and I recommend it to anyone who gets the opportunity.

Fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Cheeses
Fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Cheeses

Corn muffins, bourbon beer bread, rye bread, toasted pecans, country ham and, of course, bacon
Corn muffins, bourbon beer bread, rye bread, toasted pecans, country ham and, of course, bacon


Fresh syrups
Fresh syrups

Woodford Reserve Blackberry Manhattan

Just whipped this up at the request of Seth Thompson of the Bourbon Review to promote our upcoming Summer Cocktails Class.



  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • ½ oz sweet vermouth
  • ½ oz cold-prep blackberry syrup


  1. Stir over ice, strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino-soaked blackberry.
Woodford Reserve Blackberry Manhattan.
This recipe uses orange bitters.