This Tequila Old Fashioned is a twist on the whiskey-based Old Fashioned. The aged, añejo tequila along with the agave syrup and cocoa bitters breathes fresh life into this classic cocktail.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy – It’s an easy 3 ingredient cocktail with simple ingredients that can be found at any grocery or liquor store.
- Complex flavor – Añejo aged tequila has a rich, nuanced flavor with notes of caramel and oak that give a special kind of complexity.
- Versatility – You can make this drink your own with just a few little changes to the type of tequila, syrup, or bitters.
Tequila – Añejo tequila is one of best picks for a Tequila Old Fashioned as this type of tequila is aged for at least a year in oak barrels. This imparts more of the caramel and oak notes that you find in a classic Old Fashioned cocktail.
Agave nectar – Sometimes called agave syrup, it comes from the sap of the agave plant. It tends to have an earthy, vanilla-like flavor that compliments the tequila well. Plus, tequila and agave nectar are derived from the same plant.
Cocoa bitters – This adds a subtle, extra layer of chocolate flavor that compliments the caramel, vanilla, and woody notes of the rest of the cocktail.
Orange peel – Having an orange peel for a garnish is more than just for looks. Breathing in the fresh citrusy aroma from the orange oil when you lean in your nose into the glass gives a balance to the other bitter and earthy flavors of the cocktail.
Step 1: Add the tequila and agave nectar to a mixing glass.
Step 2: Add a few dashes of bitters and ice to the glass. Using a long spoon (or bar spoon), stir for at least 30 seconds.
Expert Tips and Variations
- Use a large, oversized piece of ice (round or square) in your finished cocktail to allow for slower dilution. The smaller surface area of one large cube will dilute your drink’s flavor at a much slower rate. And, if you use clear ice, instead of cloudy, it will slow down the melt rate down further – I make my large, clear cubes with this special ice tray from Amazon.
- When stirring an Old Fashioned in a mixing glass, make sure to stir for at least 30 seconds to properly chill the drink.
- Use a vegetable peeler for safety when making an orange peel garnish.
Can I use simple syrup instead of agave nectar?
Yes, you can definitely use simple syrup, but keep in mind that agave nectar is sweeter than simple syrup so you will have to adjust accordingly. I would increase the amount of simple syrup to 1 ounce instead of the ½ ounce of agave syrup.
Also, you might want to try my homemade pumpkin spice simple syrup for a fall spin or try my rosemary simple syrup in your Tequila Old Fashioned. I use it in my Smoked Rosemary Old Fashioned and it works beautifully.
Is añejo or reposado tequila better for a Tequila Old Fashioned?
Most prefer an Añejo Old Fashioned as it has more similarities to the flavor profile of whiskey; however, reposado works as well but gives a lighter flavor and more vanilla notes. I would recommend steering clear of silver or blanco tequila as it would make the flavor quite bland.
How strong is a Tequila Old Fashioned?
There is not much to dilute an old fashioned aside from a touch of water from the ice and syrup, so the % ABV (alcohol by volume) will be very close to the ABV of the tequila you choose. Old Fashioned cocktails are very strong and not for the weak of heart.
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Tequila Old Fashioned Recipe
- 2 ounces tequila (recommend añejo)
- ½ ounce agave nectar syrup
- 3 dashes cocoa bitters
- Orange peel for garnish
- Add the tequila, agave nectar syrup, and cocoa bitters to a mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir for at least 30 seconds.
- Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice (preferably a large ice cube) and garnish with an orange peel.
- If you can’t find añejo tequila, opt for reposado but not blanco or silver tequila.
- Use a large, oversized piece of ice (round or square) in your finished cocktail to allow for slower dilution. The smaller surface area of one large cube will dilute your drink’s flavor at a much slower rate.
- Make sure to stir for at least 30 seconds in the mixing glass to properly chill the drink.