Whether it’s a night out on the town with old friends or a quaint brunch with family, sipping on some cocktails is a staple to the Kansas City event life.
If you’ve visited a bar with a decent cocktail menu, trying something new is always a part of the experience. But, knowing what you want or choosing what you like can be difficult. Many bars also offer seasonal drinks or entire rotating menus of cocktails, making it even harder to pick.
Sometimes it’s better to keep things simple. This guide will show you why an Old Fashioned cocktail in Kansas City should be next on your drink list.
What is an Old Fashioned?
When it comes to classic whiskey cocktails, there’s none more well-known than the Old Fashioned. It is one cocktail known for its suave simplicity. It has a smooth blend of whiskey, sugar, water and bitters — all topped off with an orange garnish. So, the only complex choices you’ll have to make? Which type of whiskey you’ll use, which sweetener you’ll choose and with whom to share?
Old Fashioned Ingredients
Although there are many techniques and ingredients to perfect the Old Fashioned cocktail in Kansas City, here are the typical ingredients you would find in a Bourbon Old Fashioned:
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar*
- 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 ounces bourbon
- Garnish: Orange peel
*Some people might opt for simple syrup instead of muddled sugar. Prep time will vary.
5 Places to Find Great Old Fashioned-Inspired Cocktails in Kansas City
Kansas City is known for its wide array of restaurants, distilleries, bars and nightlife. So, here are five places in Kansas City that have amazing Old Fashioned-inspired cocktails:
Nestled inside the popular, art-filled restaurant of Society in the heart of the Crossroads is the Scarlet Room. This intimate, dimly-lit lounge houses all sorts of new and old cocktails ready to try.
The Scarlet Room gives a whole new taste to the Old Fashioned with eight different Old Fashioned-inspired cocktails. The Society Of closely resembles the traditional Old Fashioned with its angostura and orange bitters and a buffalo trace bourbon, but this drink substitutes its sugar for demerara syrup.
Some of the other Old Fashioned-inspired cocktails include:
- “Rye Curious”: Rittenhouse Rye bottled in bond, chocolate bitters, angostura bitters and maple syrup
- “The Wisconsinite”: Pierre Ferrand Cognac, angostura bitters, muddled orange, cherry and a sugar cube
- “The Triple Crown”: Blanton’s bourbon, angostura bitters, black-lemon bitters and blackstrap molasses demerara
Located right off Truman and Grand Boulevard, SoT, or “South of Truman,” is the neon-lit bar and restaurant that makes some carefully concocted drinks served with an eclectic flair.
The cocktails you try here, you might never taste anywhere else. The same can be said about the Old Fashioned-inspired drinks. The “Alpine Hypnosis (The Horse That Won)” features burlesque bitters with banana, vanilla and genepy.
Or, there is a cocktail you can try that is a bit more different: “Ginny and June.” This cocktail incorporates burlesque bitters, honey, ginger, cherry and egg white.
Now here’s a place that is newer to the block. When West Bottoms Whiskey Co. opened in January 2021, the company wasted no time getting drinks on the menu. The Best Old Fashioned in Kansas CityTM might just live up to its name.
The West Bottoms Whiskey Co.’s own product — the Kansas City Whiskey — is available in over 300 retail locations in Kansas and Missouri. So, if you can’t make the trip to the distillery or parlor, chances are there is a nice bottle waiting for you on the self of your nearest Kansas City liquor store.
A great time to visit is during happy hour because of the $6 Old Fashioned specials. Whether it’s 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the specials will make you want to stay the whole time.
Julep also has Manhattans, Whiskey Sours and Sazeracs, but nothing compares to the Old Fashioned-inspired selections:
- “Great Awakening”: Overproof Bourbon, turbinado and aromatic bitters
- “Westport”: Bourbon, turbinado and aromatic bitters
- And more
Located in the basement of the most well-known distillery in Kansas City — J. Rieger & Co. — you’ll find a truly sophisticated bar. Enriched with history, this place not only has sprightful live music and a cozy interior, but you’ll find some pretty incredible drinks.
J. Rieger’s Kansas City Whiskey is smooth, well-balanced and slightly sweet. Although it tastes wonders when served neat or on the rocks, it also works well in classic Bourbon-based cocktails like the Horsefeather, Manhattan, and, you guessed it, the Old Fashioned.
These are just a few of many places you can find fantastic Old Fashioned Inspired cocktails in Kansas City. Of course, an Old Fashioned is best accompanied by some food. Check out some of the best cuisines Kansas City offers and get a nice, smooth Old Fashioned to go along with it.