The second you detect a chill in the air — or the temperature drops below 90 degrees — your palate starts to long for a good Old Fashioned. At its simplest, an Old Fashioned is a concoction of whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a citrus twist. It’s a warming cocktail that’s still refreshing, thanks to the citrus and ice it’s served on, and it’s especially good when it’s made with Elijah Craig Bourbon. Fortunately, you don’t have to go very far to find an Old Fashioned with your name on it. There’s no shortage of creative takes on the cocktail in Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs (but if you want a classic version, we have that too). Here’s where to find the 13 best Old Fashioned cocktails in Atlanta.Read More
Where to Find Atlanta’s Best Old Fashioneds
1. South Main Kitchen
Appropriately named since it sits on Alpharetta’s Main Street, South Main Kitchen is a casual joint with deceptively well-executed dishes and drinks. It takes a creative approach with the Old Fashioned, making it with bourbon, walnut liqueur, black walnut bitters, orange peel, and a garnish of amarena cherries. The walnut liqueur and bitters give the drink a little bit more depth than your usual Old Fashioned, allowing it to be savored. Pair it with one of their desserts, like the Carolina Gold rice pudding served with a fig compote. If you’re in the mood for something savory, try the braised pork shoulder with yellow stone-ground grits, shaved carrots and beets, and a pomegranate vinaigrette. Or if you’re feeling extra fancy, try out South Main’s exclusive Elijah Craig Old Fashioned — made with Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, bitters, house-made simple syrup, and a roasted orange peel for garnish, it’s only available for a limited time.
2. SHADE Street Food + Bar
Another Alpharetta gem, Shade is found downtown in Alpharetta City Center. The restaurant is lively, with ample neon lighting and a mural that emulates street graffiti. It’s a fun atmosphere, and the perfect spot to sip on their custom Elijah Craig cocktail, the OG Old Fashioned — complete with Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, old fashioned simple syrup, brown sugar simple syrup, and angostura orange bitters. Shade’s food menu also features street food from all over the world, like chicharrones, spicy basil fried rice, hot dogs, and tacos.
3. SILLA DEL TORO
You’ll find Silla Del Toro on charming Marietta Square. Here, you can enjoy Spanish tapas in a warm and casual atmosphere. Try out their Elijah Craig cocktail special; named Midnight Conquest, this take on the Old Fashioned features Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, cream sherry, Hoodoo Chicory Liqueur, Brovo Chocolate Liqueur, and maple cinnamon smoke. Go with friends so you can also share a few of Silla Del Toro’s tapas, like the classic patatas bravas, pan con tomate (grilled bread with tomatoes), and dates stuffed with manchego cheese and wrapped in bacon.
4. Biltong Bar
Biltong Bar is a beloved staple at Ponce City Market, and their Buckhead location was a welcome addition. The high-end bar is spacious and beautifully designed to make you feel like staying awhile. Here, the Old Fashioned features bourbon, rye sugar, bitters, and citrus peels. It’s a boozy drink, so you’ll want to soak it up with some of their namesake biltong (South African beef jerky) or go heavier with beef fat fries served with a curry ketchup and pepperoncini aioli. It also pairs surprisingly well with the peach hand pie, made with smoked peaches served alongside a cinnamon toast crunch ice cream.
5. Yebo Ski Haus
Yebo Ski Haus, the seasonal pop-up of Yebo Beach Haus, is a playful oasis in the heart of Buckhead. Nine months of the year, the vibe is reminiscent of cafes found in St. Tropez and Cape Town. But during the winter months, the bar transforms into a ski lodge complete with outdoor ﬁre pits, pine trees, chairs adorned in blankets and pillows, and a menu focused on comfort foods. The cocktail menu gets a wintry refresh too, and naturally, their seasonal Old Fashioned is a must. Dubbed the Winter Old Fashioned, it uses Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, along with apple, walnut, and bitters.
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6. Whiskey Bird
A restaurant with the word whiskey in it better make a good Old Fashioned, right? You bet they do. It’s made simply with bourbon and bitters, and hits the spot perfectly. In between sips, try the Asian-influenced menu and bring friends — many of the dishes are meant to be shared. There are various yakitori skewers to snack on (the sticky chicken and sweet potato skewers are standouts) as well as small plates like smoked salmon wontons, Hawaiian tuna gyoza tacos, and a Scotch egg made with chicken sausage, a six-minute egg, pickled carrot, and Chinese mustard vinaigrette. Just in time for fall, they’ev added a custom Elijah Craig Old Fashioned through the season, aptly named the Perfect Old Fashioned. It’s made with Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, Dubonnet, Dolin dry vermouth, bitters, and does not disappoint.
Well-executed cocktails and bar games: Ormsby’s is an adult playground. Hidden on the ground level of the Westside Provisions District (look for the archway under the stairs), the cavernous restaurant plays host to college kids and adults looking to cut loose. Here, the Old Fashioned is made with bourbon, simple syrup, angostura bitters, muddled orange, and a Luxardo maraschino cherry. They’ve also got an Elijah Craig Old Fashioned special, the Appalachian, complete with maple syrup, 18.21 Prohibition Aromatic Bitters, orange, and Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon. Sip on one while playing darts, shuffleboard, billiards, or bocce. You can also munch on pub grub like calamari, corn dog pups, and tuna tacos.
8. The Lawrence
Found in Midtown, the Lawrence has been making diners and imbibers happy since 2012 with their creative approach to American dining. The menu sports dishes like Georgia quail stuffed with andouille sausage and pecans and lighter dishes like cucumber-peach gazpacho topped with gulf crab and feta. The strong Old Fashioned is made with bourbon, bitters, and raw sugar. And their Elijah Craig special, the House Old Fashioned, features angostura bitters, angostura orange, house raw sugar, and a lemon and orange twist for garnish.
9. Nina & Rafi
Hampton + Hudson’s sister restaurant, Nina & Rafi, sits on the BeltLine, making it easy to drink their tasty cocktails and eat their delicious food. What to order to drink? Their take on the Old Fashioned, named the Baptiste. It pairs Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon with banana liqueur, sweet vermouth, and Cynar. Of course, you have to try some pizza while you’re there. The Meat Me in Detroit is a hearty option. A Detroit-style pie (rectangular with thick crust) is topped with cheese, pepperoni, hot sopressata, and spicy capicola. Or go for something classic, like the Super Margherita with marinara sauce, garlic, pecorino, extra-virgin olive oil, and house-made mozzarella.
10. no. 246
Ford Fry’s Decatur oasis is the place to go when you want to dine in a mellow atmosphere. The dining room is lovely, but the bar is the best seat in the house where you can watch the bartenders work their magic. Order an Old Fashioned, made with extra bitters, and enjoy the ambiance. While you’re at it, order up some of no. 246’s classic bites. Standouts here include the no. 246 meatball, the baked ricotta, and the cacio e pepe. Their back patio is also an excellent spot to sip that Old Fashioned when the temperature is just right.
11. Hampton + Hudson
The Inman Park pub is a hot spot on weekends, especially during football and soccer seasons. Grab a seat in one of their plush booths and order their Old Fashioned made with Elijah Craig bourbon, simple syrup, orange bitters, and angostura. Or try out their custom Elijah Craig H+H Old Fashioned, similarly made with Elijah Craig, sugar, angostura bitters, and orange bitters. It’s a sophisticated tipple to sip on while you cheer for your team. If you need some snacks to go with it, order the hot chicken sliders served with a buttermilk tabasco aioli or the fish and chips, with beer-battered cod served with caper aioli.
You’ll find Pullman, a cozy gastropub, in the Kirkwood neighborhood. Their Old Fashioned will put you in a fall state of mind. It’s a blend of whiskey, house-made barrel-aged maple syrup, and orange bitters. That maple syrup pushes the drink over the edge and makes you wish you were sipping it by a fire. There might not be a fire at Pullman, but there are plenty of bites to go with your drink. The Pullman PB&J (pimento, bacon, and jalapeno) is delicious, as is the pasta bowl with local veggies.
13. Grindhouse Killer Burgers
One of several locations in Atlanta, Athens, even the airport, Grindhouse Killer Burgers offers up what you expect: killer burgers. But the famed burger chain also has a killer drinks menu, plus their Memorial location boasts two bars — one with outdoor seating, another with shuffleboard and ping pong. Sip on Grindhouse’s unique take on an Old Fashioned, the Bold Fashioned, made with Elijah Craig bourbon, smoked bacon maple syrup, and orange bitters. And pair it with any of their tasty bar snacks.