How to Make the Best Old Fashioneds to Celebrate National Bourbon Day

Every June 14th, we celebrate National Bourbon Day. It’s a day when we get to look back at the history of America’s “native” spirit and take a moment to really appreciate what’s in our glass.

In this article, we discuss the origin of the day while providing a bit of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey history. We’ll also provide you with a few of our favorite old-fashioned cocktail recipes so that you can enjoy the day in the best way possible.

The History of National Bourbon Day

Bourbon’s origins trace back to the westward migration of settlers from the original colonies during the 18th and 19th centuries. These settlers included Scots-Irish descendants, whose ancestors had invented Scotch and Irish whiskies, as well as English, Welsh, German, and French settlers.

From there, multiple whiskey families emerged to shape the entire history of whiskey and bourbon. Two of those families that have direct ties to Limestone Branch Distillery are the Beams and the Dants.

Stephen Beam opened Limestone Branch Distillery in 2011 with the goal of crafting the finest spirits in small batches. He is a seventh-generation distiller with a history of distilling on both sides of his family—Beam (on his father’s side) and Dant (on his mother’s side).

Jacob Beam, Stephen’s great-great-uncle, was a farmer who sold his first barrels of corn whiskey, called Old Jake Beam around 1795.

Seven generations later, that tradition continues with Limestone Branch Distillery and Yellowstone Bourbon.

National Bourbon Day is a great way to honor that tradition. Every year it’s celebrated on June 14th, which is said to be the anniversary of the day bourbon was first distilled in 1789.

How to Celebrate National Bourbon Day

Much like drinking your bourbon and whiskey, you can do it however you want. For us, we like to gather with friends and family, maybe walk around Limestone Branch Distillery, remember those who came before us, and, of course, have a wonderful drink in hand while we do it.

The Old Fashioned Cocktail

The exact origins of the Old Fashioned are debated, but the prevailing story is that this iconic drink began being served in the early 1800s. Its name emerged in the mid-1800s as a reaction to the increasingly complex cocktails of the time, which included ingredients like Chartreuse, Absinthe, and Curacao. Traditionalists began asking for a cocktail made in the old-fashioned style—simple and straightforward with just spirit, sugar, water, and bitters.

Prohibition brought significant changes to the cocktail scene, particularly with the quality of available spirits, which were often harsh due to illegal production methods. To mask these rough edges, bartenders started adding fruit to the Old Fashioned. In the Midwest, muddled orange and cherry became common additions.

After Prohibition ended, the quality of spirits improved, allowing the Old Fashioned to return to its roots of showcasing good quality Bourbon or Rye. Interestingly, whiskey was not always the default spirit for an Old Fashioned. When first referenced in the early 1800s, the Old Fashioned was not tied to a specific spirit but was a style of cocktail where the base spirit could be whiskey, gin, or even mezcal.

Many became familiar with the old-fashioned thanks to it being the drink of choice of Don Draper in the popular series, Mad Men.

Many bartenders now view the Old Fashioned as a basic formula that can be adapted to create endless variations. This adaptability is part of what makes it an enduring favorite.

The Perfect Old Fashioned with Yellowstone Bourbon

Yellowstone Bourbon, distinguished by its rich palate and Kentucky heritage, is the ideal foundation for crafting the perfect Old Fashioned. Here’s how to bring this beloved classic to life:



  1. Place the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass and saturate it with bitters. Add a dash of plain water.
  2. Muddle the sugar until dissolved.
  3. Fill the glass with ice cubes and add Yellowstone Bourbon.
  4. Stir well until the beverage is properly chilled.
  5. Garnish with an orange peel and a cherry.

If you want to try something different, mix up one of the following instead.

Smoked Maple Old Fashioned

Add a twist of autumn warmth to your glass.


  • 2 oz Yellowstone Bourbon Toasted
  • 1/2 oz maple syrup
  • A few dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Ice
  • Smoke – either with a smoking gun or use an oak or maple wood chip
  • Orange peel for garnish


Repeat the steps of the classic Old Fashioned, substituting sugar with maple syrup and adding smoke to your glass for extra complexity.

Spiced Orange Old Fashioned

Infuse your drink with the zest of citrus and spice.


  • 2 oz Yellowstone Bourbon Rum Cask
  • 1 sugar cube soaked in Angostura orange bitters
  • Splash of club soda
  • Ice cubes
  • Thinly sliced orange peel and a cinnamon stick for garnish


Follow the original procedure, introducing the soaked sugar cube and Angostura orange bitters for a spicy, citrusy undertone.


Celebrating National Bourbon Day with Yellowstone Bourbon invites you into a world of tradition enriched with modern twists. Whether you lean towards the classic Old Fashioned or venture into newer variations, each sip is a toast to the enduring legacy of bourbon.

Find Yellowstone Bourbon near you.

And if you really want to spend the day in the best way possible, join us at Limestone Branch Distillery to learn more about America’s favorite spirit.