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Oleo Fashioned – Old Fashioned Amaro Riff

5 from 2 votes

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old fashioned cocktail with orange leaf garnish
Oleo Old Fashioned

Since it’s been Quarantine Citrus Sipper week I’ve had more oranges and lemons around than usual, so I took the plunge, made oleo saccharum and came up with the Oleo Old Fashioned for you. What’s oleo saccharum? In short, it’s a sugar oil made from citrus zest and sugar. Much easier to make that I thought it would be and the orange flavor from the oleo is this intense sweet and bitter citrus. I’ve been calling it a slap-in-the-face citrus punch.

Traditionally used in the 1700s and 1800s to make punches, it’s a fix-it-and-forget-it kind of operation, sort of like the crockpot. You zest however many lemons or oranges you have (I had both so used a combination of the two), keeping as much of the pith out of the zest as you can. Weigh it. Add the same weight of sugar to it, then stir it up in a plasic bag, muddle it a little and let it set for 8-24 hours.

At the end of if you get this explosively citrus syrup that’s infused with the essential oils in the zest of the fruit. I used about 5 oranges and 4 lemons and came away with about 8 to 10 ounces of syrup. It’s not much, but you don’t need much because of the flavor it punches. In short, it’s something I’ll be keeping up in the future. I’d use this recipe as your starting point.

old fashioned cocktail with orange leaf garnish
Oleo Old Fashioned

I either juiced the left over citrus afterwards or sliced it into wheels and dehydrated it to use as garnishes in the future. Either way, no waste cocktails!

But back to the Oleo Old Fashioned. I often add orange bitters to my old fashioned and love it, but with oleo saccharum you get this punch of orange that you can’t get from just bitters. I decided to add some Amaro Nonino – an amaro with bitter orange, licorice and gentian notes and used Michter’s barrel strength rye as the base spirit. I’m glad I did.

The punch of the amaro and the oleo both needed a high proof spirit to stand up to it. In the end I did decide to add 2 dashes of apple bitters just because the cocktail needed something to brighten it up. You could absolutely make it without the apple bitters, but they give it some brighter notes on the palate and the nose.

If you’re looking for the previous Quarantine Citrus Sippers,  check out Lavender Lush – Apricot Lavender Sour and Toes in Sand(box) Spiced Pineapple Summer Cocktail, Smoke and Sigh Grapefruit Mezcal Sipper or ThRUMbelina Rum Tiramisu Manhattan.

For those of you curious about the other recipes in the Quarantine Series, I’ll put them here before you skim past to get to the recipe. We had Quarantine Highball week (Highball Whiskey Spritz and a That’s No Moon Lavender Orange HighballIt Ain’t All Sunhine and Peaches, Petals to the Metal Hibiscus Highball and a Root Beer Highball. ) Quarantine Donut cocktails (Maple Caramel Long JohnPecan Sticky Bun cocktail and Blueberry Cake DonutBoston Cream Cocktail and Apple Fritter Cocktail). Quarantine Juleps, (Breakfast Julep, the Pineapple Sage Rum JulepElvis Julep (peanut butter-banana)Root Beer Float Julep, and the Persian Julep (rose-apricot) ). Quarantine Old Fashioneds (Breakfast Wakey WakeySmoke and SpiceHome SchoolTaco Truck, and Campari/Bitter Lessons ). Quarantine Manhattans (Balanced Perfection (Perfect Manhattan)Coffee ManhattanChocolate Ginger ManhattanFrench Quarter Manhattan, and the Caramel Orange Manhattan.) Quarantine Whiskey Sours (Blackberry SunsetWhiskey TikiBlue Mood OrangeYa Basic, and Peach Rosemary). Quarantine Smashes (Whiskey Smash, Blackberry Sage SmashPineapple Tiki SmashStrawberry Basil Smash and the Coffee Cherry Smash.)

old fashioned cocktail with orange leaf garnish

Oleo Old Fashioned

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Sip on this old fashioned with oleo saccharum and Amaro Nonino – celebrating all things orange and citrus. Make sure to use a high proof rye to stand up to the aggressive flavors in the amaro and oleo. You’ll be glad you did, and you won’t need more than one. Although you might want more than one.
5 from 2 votes
Course Drinks
Cuisine rye cocktail
Servings 1


  • 2 oz Michter’s barrel proof rye
  • ½ oz oleo saccharum
  • ¾ oz Amaro Nonino
  • 2 dashes apple bitters
  • Garnish: Large orange peel or dehydrated orange chip


  • Combine rye whiskey, oleo, amaro and bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled – about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with one large cube and garnish with an expressed orange zest.
Keyword amaro, apple bitters, oleo saccharum, rye
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on May 23rd, 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.

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4 thoughts on “Oleo Fashioned – Old Fashioned Amaro Riff”

  1. Recipe looks great, can’t wait to try it. One question though, can I substitute unicorn blood for Michters Barrel Strength Rye? Would be easier to source.

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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