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Banana Old Fashioned

4.59 from 12 votes

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Last Updated on March 4, 2021 by Heather Wibbels

Banana Old Fashioned

Remember that banana syrup I fell in love with, well, I’m back pairing it with bourbon today in a Banana Old Fashioned. The intense banana flavor of the syrup reminds me of really moist banana bread. So of course I want to pair it with Old Forester for those aromas of banana bread that spread deliciously through the air when mixing or baking with it.

I’m pairing the banana bread flavors with black walnut bitters to add some of that nuttiness. If you’re a chocolate chip banana bread person, add some chocolate bitters to the mixing glass to add notes of chocolate to the cocktail.

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Banana Notes in Whiskey

While it may seem strange, banana is a common aroma and taste from whiskey. I taste and nose banana in a lot of Old Forester products. I specifically get banana bread notes when I’m working with Old Forester 86. And for this cocktail, since I knew I wanted to use the banana syrup, pairing it with a banana-forward whiskey made all the difference.

What’s in an Old Fashioned Cocktail?

Banana Old Fashioned

I make a lot of old fashioneds, and this one is in the top two or three for the year. It’s an amazing cocktail I designed just for bourbon lovers for one simple reason. It is all about the bourbon. This is not a cocktail that hides the bourbon. The bourbon is front and center and paired with nuttiness from the bitters and banana from the syrup. Both those elements simply push the bourbon front and center here.

I imagined this cocktail would be good. I didn’t imagine that I would fall in love with it and want to send it to every single bourbon drinker I know. The good thing is, I know where I can get more bananas.

The old fashioned is a deceptively simple cocktail. In its purest form it’s spirit, sugar and bitters. These days, the base spirit is usually a bourbon or rye. And since you know I’m a whiskey girl I’m sticking with bourbon for this one. 

While I generally make my old fashioneds in a mixing glass and strain them into a rocks glass with one large cube, this one, with just three ingredients, is easy to build in a glass. 

For a full history of the old fashioned and the basics of how to make one (including my recipe for the perfect old fashioned), take a look at my article here: How to Make a Perfect Old Fashioned.

How to Make Banana Syrup for the Banana Old Fashioned

Peel 3 very ripe bananas and put them in a small saucepan. Add a third cup of water and a cup of sugar. Break up the bananas just enough that you can move the liquid through the pan. Let it simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. It will be foamy, but that’s normal.  Turn off the heat and let cool. Strain into a clean glass jar and store in the fridge. It makes about a cup of syrup.

It was easy and fast. The only thing that took any time was straining it, but even that took no more than about 3 minutes.

How to Make the Banana Old Fashioned

Banana Old Fashioned

Add ½ oz of the luscious banana syrup to a mixing glass, 2 oz of bourbon (Old Forester preferred), and 2 dashes of Fee Brothers Black Walnut bitters. Add ice, stir until chilled. I usually under dilute an old fashioned if I want to sip on it for a while so it doesn’t get watery while I’m drinking it.

Strain into a rocks glass with one large cube. I garnished it with a knotted vanilla bean. That turned out to be an excellent choice. I was able to drop it in the glass and let it infuse with bourbon while I was sipping. Now, the next time I need a vanilla bean, I’ll be using the one that infused in the banana old fashioned cocktail. 

Other Old Fashioned Cocktails to Try

Recommended Bar Tools

You don’t need every slick, beautiful bar tool out there, but there are several I’ll recommend. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, that does not affect the cost of the items below.) My favorite pieces usually come from the Cocktail Kingdom section of Amazon:

You may already have these bar essentials, but just in case:

Banana Old Fashioned with orange peel and a knotted vanilla bean garnish on a metal plate
Banana Old Fashioned
Banana Old Fashioned on a metal plate with a tied vanilla bean garnish

Banana Old Fashioned

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
If you have an old fashioned lover in your house they will love this bourbon-forward, slightly sweet, very nutty old fashioned with banana syrup and black walnut bitters.
4.59 from 12 votes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1


  • ½ oz banana syrup**
  • 2 oz bourbon Old Forester preferred
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers’ black walnut bitters
  • Garnish: orange peel and vanilla bean


  • Add syrup, bourbon and bitters to a mixing glass and add ice. Stir until well-chilled, strain into a rocks glass with a large cube and garnish.


**Banana syrup: 
  • 3 very ripe bananas 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water 
Add ingredients to a small saucepan and heat to a low simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the banana flavor really starts to pop. Let cool and strain into a clean glass jar. Store in the fridge.
Keyword bananas, black walnut, bourbon, old fashioned
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on December 5th, 2020
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey and cocktail author (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.

More posts by this author.

5 thoughts on “Banana Old Fashioned”

    • If you refrigerate it and put a little vodka in it keeps for 3-4 weeks, sometimes longer. When it starts to smell off, get cloudy or develop any mold at all along the lid it’s time to make a new batch. Cheers!

  1. Hi thanks for the recipe. I am curious, are you supposed to mash the bananas while making the simple syrup? That’s what I did but the recipe doesn’t specify. Thank you!

    • I don’t mash them because it makes them really hard to strain. But I do use very ripe bananas to make them. Because they’re so ripe they do break down a bit, so I don’t end up having to mash them to pieces. Hope that helps. When I strain the banana syrup I do usually end up having to use a mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter.

  2. Tonight I substituted agave syrup for simple syrup with old Forrester and immediately tasted a wonderful banana flavor. Wow! I thought there is likely a recipe for using banana syrup or liquor. I am anxious to try your recipe! Thx!

4.59 from 12 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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