The Bourbon & Berries Cocktail: A Seasonal Take on the Old Fashioned

Bourbon, traditionally seen as a spirit for colder months, finds its summer soulmate in strawberries, transforming it into a year-round delight. The Bourbon & Berries Cocktail, a creation that emerged from the innovative minds at San Diego’s Herb & Wood, exemplifies this seasonal transition.

The Birth of Bourbon & Berries

The cocktail was initially crafted by Willem Van Leuven and later adapted by Emily Carroll, bar leads at Herb & Wood. The key to its unique flavor is the strawberry-vanilla syrup, a collaborative creation with executive pastry chef Adrian Mendoza. This syrup is part of a series that includes other seasonal flavors like cranberry-cinnamon and blackberry-cinnamon, showcasing the versatility of fruit syrups in cocktails.

The Bourbon & Berries Cocktail

Bourbon & Berries Cocktail Recipe

Embrace the summer vibes with the Bourbon & Berries Cocktail, a refreshing twist on the classic Old Fashioned. This delightful concoction, originally from San Diego’s Herb & Wood, combines the warmth of bourbon with the sweetness of strawberries, creating a perfect balance for any season. The strawberry-vanilla syrup adds a unique, fruity dimension, making this cocktail a versatile choice for bourbon lovers. This article explores the creation, variations, and the art of making the perfect Bourbon & Berries Cocktail, ensuring a delightful sip every time.

Rate this Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients - What's in it?


  • orange twist

Adjust Servings 1 serving

Instructions - How to make it:

  • Add the bourbon, strawberry-vanilla syrup, and Angostura bitters to a double rocks glass filled with one large ice cube. Stir for 18 to 20 seconds.
  • Add a few more ice cubes.
  • Express the oil of an orange peel over the glass, then drop the peel in.

*Strawberry-vanilla syrup:

  • Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup granulated sugar, and the seeds from 1 vanilla bean in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar dissolves. Add 2 cups sliced strawberries, simmer for 15 minutes, mash, cool, and strain.

Become a Drink Buddy


Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 14mg | Sugar: 15g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Course Beverage, Cocktail, Drinks
Cuisine Beverage, Cocktail, Drinks
Keyword Beverage, Cocktail, Drink

Flexibility and Seasonal Adaptations

What sets the Bourbon & Berries Cocktail apart is its adaptability. The strawberry-vanilla syrup, while perfect for this cocktail, can also be used in other drinks like Daiquiris or Margaritas, adding a fruity twist. The recipe itself is open to experimentation with different fruits and spirits. For instance, substituting bourbon with rum or rye whiskey can offer a whole new flavor profile, making it a fun and versatile cocktail for any season.

Approach and Tips:

  • Approach: The Bourbon & Berries Cocktail is about balancing the robustness of bourbon with the sweet, summery flavor of strawberries, enhanced by the subtle notes of vanilla.
  • Tips:
    • Quality Bourbon: Choose a bourbon that complements the sweetness of the strawberry-vanilla syrup without overpowering it.
    • Syrup Variations: Feel free to experiment with different fruits for the syrup, depending on the season. Apples and pears in fall or other berries in summer can offer delightful variations.
    • Spirit Flexibility: Don’t hesitate to swap bourbon with other spirits like rum or rye whiskey to explore different flavor combinations.
Wisconsin Old Fashioned

Savor the unique Midwestern twist on a classic with the Wisconsin Old Fashioned, where brandy

The Forefathers Cocktail

Savor the South with the Forefathers Cocktail, a sweet tea-infused Old Fashioned with a hint

Benton’s Old Fashioned Cocktail

Explore Benton's Old Fashioned: a unique, smoky twist on the classic. A blend of fat-washed

Old-Fashioned Rum and Coke

Relish the fusion of tradition and comfort in the Old-Fashioned Rum and Coke, a nostalgic

Zapatero Cocktail

Explore the Zapatero, a unique cocktail blending mezcal's smokiness with bourbon's richness, perfected with orgeat

Old Fashioned Cocktail

Savor the timeless elegance of the Old Fashioned cocktail, a classic blend of whiskey, bitters,

Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned

Savor the flavors of fall with the Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned, a sophisticated twist on

Ritz Old-Fashioned

Indulge in the luxurious Ritz Old-Fashioned, where premium spirits and elegant garnishes create a lavish