The Forefathers Cocktail: A Nod to Southern Traditions in a Glass

In the heart of Bentonville, Arkansas, at the quaint Bar Cleeta, bartender Weisi Basore has crafted a cocktail that encapsulates the essence of the South. The Forefathers cocktail is more than just a drink; it’s a tribute to the region’s cherished traditions, blending the refreshing taste of sweet tea with the timeless appeal of bourbon.

A Southern Staple Reimagined

Sweet tea is a staple in the South, a symbol of hospitality and comfort. Basore, with her rich experience in the cocktail industry, including her time with the late Sasha Petraske and at New York City’s Blue Hill, brings a sophisticated twist to this beloved beverage. The Forefathers cocktail is a creative rendition of an Old Fashioned, incorporating sweet tea oleo saccharum, a unique syrup that combines the zesty oils of citrus peels with the sweetness of sugar, infused with the classic flavor of sweet tea.

The Forefathers Cocktail:
Calories: 131kcal
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes
The Forefathers cocktail is a Southern-inspired twist on the classic Old Fashioned, blending the charm of sweet tea with the robustness of bourbon. Created by bartender Weisi Basore at Bar Cleeta in Bentonville, Arkansas, this drink pays homage to the beloved regional refreshment. It features Evan Williams 1783 bourbon, sweet tea oleo saccharum, and peach bitters, garnished with an orange peel. This cocktail perfectly captures the essence of Southern hospitality, offering a refreshing and nostalgic sip that's ideal for warm, muggy days or as a sophisticated evening treat.


  • 2 ounces Bourbon Whiskey Evan Williams 1783
  • 2 teaspoons Sweet tea oleo saccharum*
  • 3 dashes Peach bitters
  • Garnish: orange peel


  • Combine the bourbon, sweet tea oleo saccharum, and peach bitters in a mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir until well-chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into an Old Fashioned glass over a large ice cube.
  • Garnish with an orange peel.

Sweet Tea Oleo Saccharum:

  • Peel 4 lemons and 2 oranges.
  • In a sealed bag, mix the peels with 2 cups of sugar.
  • Let sit for 24-48 hours, then cook with 1 1/2 cups unsweetened, chilled Red Diamond tea until syrup forms.

Estimated Nutrition:

Calories: 131kcal (7%)Sodium: 1mgPotassium: 1mgIron: 0.02mg
CourseBeverage, Cocktail, Drinks
CuisineBeverage, Cocktail, Drinks
KeywordBeverage Recipe, Cocktail Recipe, Drink Recipe

A Taste of the South

The Forefathers cocktail is a liquid homage to Southern culture. The sweet tea oleo saccharum brings a delightful citrusy twist to the drink, while the peach bitters add a subtle fruity note, complementing the robust flavors of the bourbon. This cocktail aligns perfectly with Bar Cleeta’s ethos of simple, classic-inspired drinks made from seasonal ingredients.