With the holidays officially around the corner, it’s time to think about festive cocktails. My grocery store recently had some gorgeous black mission figs so I picked up a few and knew I wanted to include them in this fun fall harvest gathering. Believe it or not, a fig old fashioned is actually quite common. Okay, maybe not THAT common. But it’s definitely a thing and I highly recommend giving it a try.
I did a bit of testing and honestly, hated what I came up with. I couldn’t figure out what it needed. Wasn’t sweet enough, needed a different bit of something. Then I stumbled onto this recipe from The Kitchen (a favorite show to watch on Saturday mornings) and had to give it a whirl. The recipe includes balsamic vinegar which you’re probably thinking, um I don’t want to drink that! But yes you do. It’s an acid, just like lemon, and can help create that tart and brightness a cocktail needs. Especially with something heavier like bourbon. Plus, shrubs, a common cocktail addition for that something acidy but sweet, is oftentimes made with vinegar of some sort.
Personally, I don’t keep orange juice in the house, so I swapped it with lemon juice and just upped the maple a tad to counterbalance the tartness. If you don’t have fresh figs readily available, you can definitely use dried figs. I’d recommend rehydrating them in some of the balsamic vinegar before adding it to your shaker. Which would really give you pretty much a shrub. See what you just did there, you little mixologist, you! You can also add the dried figs to your bourbon and let it soak. Then you’ll have some delicious fig infused bourbon that you can enjoy on the rocks as is.
Fig Old Fashioned Cocktail
How To Make An Old Fashioned With Figs
- 1 1/2 ounces of bourbon – you can also use a rye or whiskey if you prefer
- 1-2 black mission figs, halved – remove the stems.
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of maple syrup
TIP – If you don’t have fresh figs, dried ones will work too! Just hydrate them in one of the liquids above.
Add your figs, lemon juice and vinegar into a shaker and muddle with a muddler
Add ice and bourbon. Cover and shake like crazy. At least 60 seconds.
Strain into a coupe glass or a standard old fashioned low ball glass. Garnish with a halved fig.
If you want to start small and try just a classic old fashioned cocktail, they’re super easy to make. Just bourbon, a sugar cube, couple of dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of water.
Photos by Hannah Lozano