Virgin Old Fashioned Recipe (2024)

The Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet is one of my favorite classic co*cktails! I first discovered this twist on the Classic Old Fashioned when I lived in Wisconsin and would order the co*cktail in the (supper) clubs. Since I’m partaking in my 5th annual Dry January, I decided it was time to up my beverage game. My first foray? To create a Virgin Old Fashioned Recipe inspired by a Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet.

Jump to my Virgin Old Fashioned Recipe

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What is an Old Fashioned co*cktail?

The old fashioned is a co*cktail made by muddling sugar with bitters and water, adding whiskey, and garnishing with orange slice or zest and a co*cktail cherry.


There are a few differences between a classic Old Fashioned and the Wisconsin version. In Wisconsin whiskey is replaced with brandy and topped with lemon-lime soda instead of water. Since brandy is made from wine or fermented fruit, this makes for a sweeter, less strong, co*cktail.

Virgin Old Fashioned Recipe (1)

Why is it called an Old Fashioned co*cktail?

Like most things, there are varying accounts of when and who created what we know today as an Old Fashioned. What doesn’t seem to be disputed is the first definition of the word co*cktail, which was in the early 1800s and was defined as a drink made of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters.

As drink-making became more sophisticated and new co*cktails emerged, the ‘Old Fashioned’ sticks to its roots of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. So a Brandy Old Fashioned is as much of a traditional Old Fashioned as the popular Whiskey Old Fashioned and Bourbon Old Fashioned.

Virgin Old Fashioned ingredients

For Dry January, not only is the intention to make a Non-Alcoholic Old Fashioned, but it was to make it a little cleaner than the traditional recipe too. Some substitutions we’ll be making are using organic apple juice instead of brandy (both are made with fruit after all), skipping the added sugar, and using a high-quality ginger beer instead of the lemon-lime soda.

What exactly are Bitters?

You’ll notice that we aren’t using Bitters in the recipe, even though they are a key component to an Old Fashioned. Although considered non-alcoholic, alcohol is the #1 ingredient in bitters before the herbs and spices. You can’t really create an Old Fashioned Mocktail Recipe if one of your ingredients is alcohol, can you?

However, if the 2 dashes of bitters that you would use won’t bother you, then this is the gold standard brand to use in the mocktail.

Muddling not only the inside of the orange but also the peel gets some of the bitter oil into the drink, achieving a “bitters” flavor.

Virgin Old Fashioned Recipe (2)

Non-Alcoholic Spirits

In this Old Fashioned Mocktail recipe, I’ve chosen to use apple juice as the alcohol substitute. The other option is to use a non-alcoholic spirit. With the emergence of the sober curious movement, many zero-proof companies have popped up. I haven’t personally tried these, but if you are interested, some of the more well-known companies are Lyre’s, Ritual Zero Proof, and ArKay.

What bar tools do you need to make an Old Fashioned Mocktail?

  • Muddler | You’ll really want to muddle the orange peel to work those oils. This is a great option since the tip won’t damage your glass.
  • Jigger | Part of every well-equipped bar, and makes measuring a breeze.
  • co*cktail Picks | Not only used for the cherry garnish, you can use this to stir the drink as well.

Virgin Old Fashioned Recipe

Servings: 1



  1. Place 1 cherry and ½ orange slice in the bottom of an old fashioned glass
  2. Muddle making sure to work oil from the peel
  3. Add ice and apple juice
  4. Top with ginger beer
  5. Garnish with a cherry and ½ orange slice


  • I recommend getting large ice cube molds – the larger the ice the slower it melts and waters down the drink
  • If you are looking for an alcoholic version of the classic co*cktail, check out the Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet Recipe

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Looking for other Mocktail recipes? Check these out!

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Virgin Old Fashioned Recipe (2024)
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