Chai Maple Butter Old-Fashioned

I LOVE a good old-fashioned.

In case you weren’t aware, old-fashioneds aren’t some old-timey dessert like ladyfingers. An old-fashioned is a boozy, fragrant drink that gets up in your nose with citrus and has a well-balanced profile of bitters, the warmth of whiskey, and just a touch of smoky sweetness. It’s the perfect cocktail as far as I’m concerned.

But you know what else I love?

Chai. And all things maple.

I decided there had to be a way to have the best of both worlds this holiday. And I was gonna find it.



There are three very important components to this recipe for the perfect Christmas cocktail:

  1. Use a good bourbon (I recommend Bulleit)

  2. Don’t be stingy with the maple butter

  3. That chai simple syrup is the secret sauce


A word about garnish before we mix and shake this up, folks. Believe it or not, what you garnish a cocktail with is as important as what you put into the cocktail. A great deal of our taste develops from our smell and that’s especially true of drinks where we are sipping and savoring for long periods of time.

Garnishes are designed for exactly this reason. To get up in your nose and deliver the essence of the cocktail. This old-fashioned is all about citrus, so a generous, long and wide orange peel or a big slice is essential.

I’ll let you get onto the sipping and savoring part of your holiday weekend.

Bottoms up!


Chai Maple Butter Old-Fashioned


4 chai tea bags

1/3 cup real maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


2 ounces (1/4 cup) bourbon

1 ounce lemon juice

1 dash citrus bitters (orange or grapefruit)

1-2 ounces (2-4 tablespoons) chai tea syrup

dollop of maple butter (Trader Joe’s)

sparkling water, for topping

Orange peel or slice for garnish

cinnamon and star anise, for serving (optional)


For the chai maple simple syrup: In a medium pot, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the chai tea bags, cover and steep 10-15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add the maple. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 3-5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla. Let cool. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

For the cocktail: In a shaker, combine the bourbon, lemon juice, citrus bitters, maple butter, and 2 tablespoons of the chai syrup. Shake to combine. Strain into a glass. If desired top with sparkling water. Garnish with orange, cinnamon and star anise.

Looking for more Christmas cocktails? Follow along for inspiration on Instagram.