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Cozying up with this Vanilla Chai Old Fashioned. Homemade spiced chai simple syrup, mixed with warming bourbon, winter citrus, a touch of vanilla, and fizzy sparkling water. This old fashioned makes for the most perfect cozy fall and winter cocktail that everyone will love. Make the syrup ahead of time and keep in the fridge to mix up a quick drink in a moment’s notice. This will be your go-to this Thanksgiving.

close up photo of Vanilla Chai Old Fashioned

Welcome to the Saturday before Thanksgiving. For those of you who are cooking this year, I hope you’re spending the weekend prepping and getting organized. Which will make your Thanksgiving Day much more stress free. You’d think that’s what I would be doing, but instead I am spending the weekend working away and following none of my own advice. Typical.

Unfortunately, I am a bit crunched for time this year, so I’ll have to worry about Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving. The good news is that I did remember to order my turkeys…did you?

The other good news is that I have my menu set. And since I’ve already tested it many times over for the blog, I’m not too stressed. Actually, I’m very much looking forward to cooking all day on Thanksgiving. There will be no worrying about testing new recipes or taking photos. Hoping to bake a few pies with my mom, mix up cocktails for brothers, and just hang with my family. It’s been non-stop lately, so I’m really looking forward to a day with family and friends.

As mentioned, all of my brothers will be here this Thanksgiving and four out of five of them love chai and love bourbon. So, I wanted to create a cocktail that would incorporate the two. I’m such a people pleaser, and I oddly just really love making cocktails for my brothers.

Enter this vanilla chai old fashioned.

It’s truly one of the coziest cocktails, and it’s so good. Not too sweet, not too heavy on the bourbon, but just right and truly great for the Thanksgiving holiday.

overhead photo of Vanilla Chai Old Fashioned

The details.

Start with the chai simple syrup. I first made this last year when I created this chai white Russian, which is another favorite holiday cocktail of mine. I quickly became obsessed with using the syrup in fun cocktails. It’s all the flavor you love from chai tea, sweetened maple, and spiked with hints of vanilla. Delicious.

The syrup is the heart of the cocktail, and where a lot of the flavor comes from. In order to make this a true old fashioned, I added in high quality bourbon and a touch of citrus.

The flavors go so well, and like I said, it’s the perfect warming drink for cold nights. I highly suggest making a batch of the chai syrup this weekend. Then when friends and family randomly show up at your door you can just mix up cocktails. Which for me is very often.

Nothing is more welcoming than a cozy cocktail. Well maybe a roaring fire, but that can sometimes be hard to come by. That said, if you can mix up this old fashioned, and stoke up a fire…ideal.

If not, the cocktail, a candle, and good blanket will do!

front facing photo of Vanilla Chai Old Fashioned

If you make this chai old fashioned be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Vanilla Chai Old Fashioned

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories Per Serving: 547 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


Chai Simple Syrup

Chai Old Fashioned

  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) bourbon
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1-2 ounces (2-4 tablespoons) chai tea syrup
  • sparkling water, for topping
  • cinnamon and star anise, for serving (optional)



  • 1. In a medium pot, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the chai tea bags, cover and steep 10-15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add the maple. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 3-5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla. Let cool. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


  • 1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the bourbon, lemon juice, orange bitters, and 2 tablespoons of the chai syrup. Shake to combine.
    2. Strain into a glass. If desired top with sparkling water. Garnish with cinnamon and star anise. 
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  1. I made this recipe almost exactly as it is written. My only change was the bitters. I didn’t have orange bitters so I just used Angostura and added an orange peel. It was so good! I plan to purchase orange bitters as I think it will make a (better) difference. This will be my signature cocktail on Christmas Eve. Thanks Tieghan!

  2. I found this to be a decent drink but as a bourbon lover I had to tweak it a bit. I found an ounce of lemon juice to be a bit much, so I reduced it to 1/4 ounce and used 2 ounces of the syrup. I also don’t like a fizz to my old fashioned so I abandoned the sparkling water, and instead waited for the ice to melt a bit in the shaker after pouring, and used just a quick splash of the water in the shaker after the drink was poured. I garnished with a cinnamon stick with a burnt end, torched an orange peel and added the anise flower. On a 2nd attempted all I did differently was use a smoker on the glass and shaker with the mix before pouring. I found this to add another layer of complexity to the flavor of the drink and a pleasant aroma before sipping. The chai simple syrup really is the key ingredient but def use a qualify bourbon and you’ll be set.

  3. Excited to make this for a Friendsgiving cocktail this weekend – how would you adjust for a pitcher situation instead of single servings? Will come back and leave an actual review after Friendsgiving!

    1. Hey Elizabeth,
      You can go ahead and adjust the serving size to your liking and all of the measurements will adjust accordingly for you!! I hope you love the recipe! Cheers! xx

  4. I’m not a huge bourbon fan necessarily, but this drink was DELICIOUS! I added a little extra lemon juice and a maraschino cherry…this is going to take the place of a whisky sour in my house!

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks Tieghan! Just what the doctor ordered. I’m going to cut the lemon a bit and omit the soda. This is delicious. I tried it with Sazerac, now I have a great cocktail to use it with.

    1. Hey Justin,
      Wonderful! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  6. Love the syrup! There was too much lemon in the recipe for my/my family’s liking. We preferred either no lemon or 1/4 oz with 3/4 oz of the syrup. More similar to an old fashion sans lemon 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hey Laura,
      Happy Friday! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks to much for giving it a try!! xTieghan

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Wonderful!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! Have a great weekend! xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    Made these for a small dinner party this evening using Monday zero alcohol whiskey. They were a huge hit! The stunning garnishes really steal the show. I used one large globe ice cube in each glass. Festive and a really lovely sipping mocktail. Chai syrup! Wow.

    1. Hi Cari! I really appreciate you taking the time to give this recipe a try! I hope you loved it 🙂 xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    I LOVE this cocktail and just made a hot toddy version of it (just headed it up with some water) and it’s amazing both ways – hot AND cold!

    1. hi tieghan! i am making this cocktail this weekend for a fall camping trip and am wondering if you have tips for batching it?

      1. Hi there! I would recommend storing the different ingredients into mason jars for easy transportation 🙂 xTieghan

    1. Hey Teral,
      I would just skip the alcohol and use plain sparkling water or you could make this into a warm tea. I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

    1. Hey Cayla,
      I am thrilled that you liked the recipe, thanks so much for giving it a go! Have an awesome week:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Anna,
      Chai is the mix of spices used. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy New Year! xTieghan