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The Best Whiskeys For An Old Fashioned 2023

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

The Old Fashioned Cocktail at Dutch Kills Bar in LIC, NY

On December 1, 2020, one hundred years following the prohibition of alcohol and during the 87th anniversary of Repeal week , New York's premier cocktail exhibition and spirit showcase, the New York Cocktail Expo, began the Best Spirits in Cocktails Awards. Seasoned Bar Industry panelists would decide the "Best Whiskey in the Old Fashioned," one of the most iconic cocktails of all time under the bright city lights.

The contest...same recipe, only a different whiskey in the cocktail each round.

The blind tasting spirit competition returned on Repeal Day Dec 5th 2022, now with seasoned bar panelists Steven Ferreira (Bar Belly NYC), Abbey Immer (Employees Only) & Anton Kinloch (Fuchsia TiKi Bar) along with NYCE Founder & Host Matt Kourie.

The recipe and cocktail for the tasting was made and hosted by Dutch Kills Bar of Long Island City which was given the honor of this nomination for their highly respected and revered Old Fashioned (pictured above).

This occasion kicked off the 3rd Annual "Best Spirits in Cocktails Awards", a series of ongoing spirit competitions & tastings held in person at nominated bars which are known for making the best versions of iconic cocktails. The recipe and award winning whiskeys from the landmark Old Fashioned spirit competition are listed below. Try each one to see which is your group's favorite!!

Gold Medal Winner

"After aging our straight rye whiskey for 4 to 5 years in high-char new American oak barrels, our distillers transfer the aged whiskey into toasted wave stave barrels for an additional 18 months. The increased surface area of the low-char, medium-plus-toast staves imparts Double Oak’s delightful caramel, toffee, hazelnut, and toasted coconut. Our classic Maryland-style rye whiskey is reimagined through this innovative aging process and then proofed with limestone-filtered water from our spring house built in 1909. The final spirit is a shining example of old meeting new."

PALATE: Smooth caramel and rich toasted coconut. Nutty flavors of hazelnut and pecan meld perfectly with vanilla and caramel.

PROOF / 96.6 (48.3% ABV)

AGE / 4- 5 Years

Silver Medal Winner

Virgil Kaine - Rip Track Bourbon

"Wet your whistle with the Southern cocktail’s cocksure sidekick. This versatile, rule-breaking, yet smooth-talking bourbon has a devilish wink of rye that always brings the heat. Pairing its spicy rye kick and sweet kiss of corn makes a foolproof foundation for any classic cocktail in your little black recipe book, even if it is just an empty glass. Finished with notes of sherry casks."

AROMA / NOSE / SMELL: The aromas a full of orange zest, clove, warm oak, and butterscotch candies.

FLAVOR / TASTE / PALATE: The flavor profile is fairly traditional with toffee and toasted oak followed by caramel sauce and sultanas.

FINISH: The finish is longer than most with notes of wet tobacco leaf and a spicy kick.

PROOF: 90 (45% ABV)

Bronze Medal Winner

"Wheaters, come gather ‘round because this one's for you. A delicious and well-balanced wheated bourbon is something every whiskey lover should get their hands on. Ours is a chance for us to show you and the world what we’re capable of. By using our expertise in creating our delicious flagship bourbon, we tweaked our recipe and upped the wheat and kept the corn at the minimum. Our wheated bourbon consists of 51 percent corn, 45 percent wheat and four percent malted barley. The result? A liquid that allows for each ingredient to not only shine on its own, but highlights what happens when success meets craft."

AROMA: Toffee, vanilla ice cream, caramel and floral notes.

TASTE: Cream, toffee, vanilla, toasted almonds, clove.

PROOF / 92 (46% ABV)

More Whiskey To Try in your Old Fashioned!

Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey is a blend of two straight rye mash bills, aged 4 to 6 years in high-char American oak barrels. The first is a high-rye, which adds notes of cinnamon and clove, and the second, a low-rye, contributes notes of caramel, honey, and citrus peel. The final spirit is proofed with limestone-filtered water from our spring house built in 1909 and represents our team’s thoughtful approach to crafting a classic Maryland-style rye whiskey.

PALATE: Traditional Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey. Candied dried orange peel with notes of clove and nutmeg. Lingering hints of walnut and brown sugar to finish.

PROOF: 83 (41.5% ABV)

AGE: 4 - 6 Years

"Like the turn of the century that inspired it, boldness and refinement come together to create a bourbon that’s meant to be raised in celebration. Aged for a minimum of 6 years in new American white oak barrels to produce unparalleled smoothness. This harmony makes it easy to enjoy from the front of the mouth to the back. Worthy of any occasion, you pick the moment and this award-winning small batch bourbon will make it."

AROMA: Aged for a minimum of 6 years in the barrel this bourbon leads with a scent of vanilla and sweet hay, accented by sandalwood and mace.

TASTE: It enters the palate smoothly, and the bourbon is nicely balanced with a hint of pecan pie sweetness.

FINISH: It fulfills the promise of its nose before evolving into a warm, rich, spicy sensation and leaves the drinker with a complex, yet balanced and long-lasting signature chestnut finish.

"Old Fashioned" Cocktail Recipe

(Recipe spec by Dutch Kills Bar)


2 oz whiskey

1 sugar cube

4-5 dashes angostura bitters

Bar spoon soda water


Dash the bitters and soda water over the sugar cube in a whiskey glass. Muddle the sugar into a fine paste. Add the whiskey and stir in ice (1 large rock is preferable). Garnish with twists of lemon and orange making sure to express the oil over the drink before placing the twists, pith facing in, inside the glass.

Spirit Brands can register to participate & be featured in the 2023 Best Spirits in Cocktails Awards by contacting

Upcoming Events in New York!

New York's Premier Cocktail Festival Returns Aug 20, 2023 to Melrose Ballroom in LIC, NY!

For more, follow @nycocktailexpo on Instagram

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