Julian Van Winkle’s Old Fashioned


Julian Van Winkle’s Old Fashioned

Julian Van Winkle’s Old Fashioned is a riff on the original which is one of the most popular drinks of all time. The origin of the Old Fashioned lies somewhere in the murky past, between 1860 and 1880.  Some give credit to the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky. If not there, I would bet somewhere in that fine city because bourbon is King in Louisville.

A Short History of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbons

Julian Van Winkle owned the Stitzel-Weller Distillery and began producing the Old Rip Van Winkle brand on Kentucky Derby Day, 1935. They were located in Shively, a suburb of Louisville not far from Churchill Downs.

They sold the distillery in the early 70’s but kept the rights to the brand and the old stocks of aging bourbon. Julian Jr. and his son used that to bottle 10 year Old Rip Van Winkle and the 15, 20 and 23 year old expressions of Pappy Van Winkle. In 2002 Julian III formed a joint venture with Buffalo Trace Distillery to continue producing their brands.

The limited production, somewhere between 10,000-15,000 bottles annually and the overwhelming demand make it a rare and pricey indulgence. Today, black market bottles of 23 year old Pappy sell for $5,000 or more.

Origin of the Julian Van Winkle Old Fashioned

Unlike the provenance of the original, it’s safe to say this version was created within the last few decades by Julian Van Winkle III. I learned to make it thanks to Ed Lee of 610 Magnolia. His friend Julian demonstrated how, when he was a guest on Ed’s television show, Mind of a Chef.  Julian’s old fashioned looked and sounded so good I had to give it a try. Some might argue it’s an abomination to “waste” PVW mixed in a cocktail, but who are we to argue with the man himself?

  • Author: TJ


  • 1 slice of fresh ripe orange
  • 1 cube of demararra sugar
  • orange bitters
  • 2 oz of 15 year-old 107 proof Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon.  If you must, substitute a high quality aged Kentucky bourbon, 8 years +, and try to find something at least 100 proof
  • slice of orange peel for garnish

PVW old fashioned ingredients


  1. Begin with a slice of fresh ripe orange, remove the center pith to avoid bitterness, then place in the bottom of an Old Fashioned rocks glass.
  2. Place a napkin over the glass and rest a cube of demararra sugar on it, then add several dashes of orange bitters. The napkin prevents any spillage from overpowering the drink
  3. Release the sugar cube into the glass, crush it and muddle with the orange being careful to avoid crushing the pith in the outer rind.
  4. Add one ounce of 15 year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. What if you’re not a Van Winkle Family member and don’t have access to that mythical nectar of the gods? All is not lost. Use high quality aged Kentucky bourbon, 8 years + and at least 100 proof
  5. Fill the glass with rocks
  6. Gently swirl the glass a few times
  7. Add another ounce of Bourbon and repeat the swirl
  8. Garnish with the slice of peel
Avoid the temptation to stir, shake or otherwise mix it into a single homogeneous solution. Enjoy it as the taste changes with every sip.

But just one last thing…

My bottle is near empty as you can see.  If anybody can hook me up with another, I would gladly repay you with a cheeseburger next Tuesday.