Benton’s Old Fashioned: A Smoky Reinvention of a Classic Cocktail

The world of cocktails is ever-evolving, and Benton’s Old Fashioned stands as a shining example of this creative progression. Created by renowned New York bartender Don Lee, this cocktail is a smoky reinterpretation of the traditional Old Fashioned, introducing a technique known as fat-washing to the world of mixology.

Benton’s Old Fashioned
Calories: 160kcal
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Discover Benton's Old Fashioned, a smoky twist on the classic cocktail. This innovative recipe, created by New York bartender Don Lee, infuses bourbon with the rich, smoky flavor of country ham. The process involves fat-washing, a unique technique where bourbon is combined with liquified ham fat, creating a rich and complex base. Complemented with maple syrup and Angostura bitters, this cocktail offers a sophisticated balance of sweet and smoky notes. Perfect for those who appreciate a bold, flavor-forward drink, Benton's Old Fashioned is a testament to the art of cocktail innovation and a must-try for enthusiasts.


  • 2 ounces fat-washed Four Roses bourbon
  • 1/4 ounce Maple Syrup
  • 2 dashes Bitters
  • Orange Twist


  • Prepare the Fat-Washed Bourbon: Combine a 750 mL bottle of Four Roses bourbon with 1 1/2 ounces of liquified fat from Benton’s Smoky Mountain country ham in a container. Let it infuse for 4 hours. Then, freeze for 2 hours and strain the bourbon from the solidified fat using cheesecloth.
  • Mix the Cocktail: In a mixing glass, combine the fat-washed bourbon, maple syrup, and bitters with ice. Stir until well-chilled.
  • Serve: Strain the mixture into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
  • Garnish: Express the oil of an orange twist over the cocktail and add the twist to the glass.

Estimated Nutrition:

Calories: 160kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 6g (2%)Sodium: 1mgPotassium: 17mgSugar: 5g (6%)Calcium: 8mg (1%)Iron: 0.03mg
CourseBeverage, Cocktail, Drinks
CuisineBeverage, Cocktail, Drinks
KeywordBeverage Recipe, Cocktail Recipe, Drink Recipe

The Birth of a Unique Flavor:

The journey of Benton’s Old Fashioned begins with the infusion of bourbon with the smoky essence of country ham. This process, known as fat-washing, involves combining liquified ham fat with bourbon, allowing the flavors to meld together. After several hours, the mixture is frozen, separating the fat from the bourbon, which retains a rich, smoky flavor.

Crafting the Cocktail:

The base of the cocktail is this uniquely infused bourbon, which is then expertly mixed with grade B maple syrup and Angostura bitters. The result is a cocktail that balances the smoky depth of the bourbon with the sweetness of the syrup and the complexity of the bitters.

Serving and Enjoyment:

Benton’s Old Fashioned is best served over a large ice cube in a rocks glass. The garnish of an orange twist is not just for aesthetics; it adds a citrusy aroma that complements the smoky and sweet flavors of the drink.

Pairing and Occasions:

This cocktail is a perfect accompaniment to a range of foods, especially those with a savory profile. It pairs exceptionally well with grilled meats and rich cheeses, making it an excellent choice for dinner parties or sophisticated gatherings.

The Legacy of Innovation:

Benton’s Old Fashioned is more than just a drink; it’s a testament to the innovative spirit of modern mixology. It showcases how traditional methods can be reimagined to create something entirely new and exciting. This cocktail is not just for those who enjoy a good drink, but for those who appreciate the art and science behind mixology.

Benton’s Old Fashioned is a must-try for cocktail enthusiasts and a shining example of how classic recipes can be transformed into contemporary masterpieces. Its unique flavor profile and innovative preparation make it a standout cocktail that continues to inspire bartenders and delight patrons around the world.