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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: 87 kcal

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

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Ingredients

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)

Instructions

CHAI SIMPLE SYRUP

  • 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.

OLD FASHIONED

  • 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. 

horizontal photo of Vanilla Chai Old Fashioned

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Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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?
      thanks!
      jess

      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

  3. We LOVED the syrup, but weren’t crazy about the lemon juice in the final assembly. Our favorite combo was to use a squeeze of orange instead, and omit the sparkling water. Perfect holiday drink!

    1. Hey there,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am thrilled that it worked out for you! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  4. Hey Tieghan! Wondering if you think I could use Orange Juice instead of Lemon? Lemon just sounds a bit too “bright” for an Old Fashioned and Orange is just so wonderful around the holidays. Thanks!

    1. Hey Nicholas,
      Yes, that would work well! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

    1. Hey Chamila,
      Yes, you can skip the orange bitters, and whiskey will also work! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  5. Making this was so much fun! My boyfriend absolute loved this. I followed instructions to a tee but used an espresso vanilla in the chai syrup which I now know I need to keep a batch on hand at all times. Between my boyfriend and myself, we used it all up tonite. This is a great drink.

  6. I would like to make a big batch of this. For 6 drinks, would you 6x everything- even the simple syrup? Can it be made pitcher-style? 🙂

  7. Really need to check the tartness of the lemon and adjust the syrup accordingly or leave out all together. Smells amazing and will make again.

  8. 5 stars
    Fab. I’m a bourbon fan. Preferred 2 tbsp of the chai syrup. Of course I tried with one last night! Will make again.

  9. After adding the maple, I also accidentally added the vanilla and boiled it all for those last 4-5 minutes. Will this syrup taste bad/different since I boiled the vanilla compared to if had added the vanilla after boiling?

    1. Hey Kelly,
      The syrup should be okay:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  10. The spirit of Thanksgiving is one of family, friends, love, inclusiveness, being grateful and, last but not least, fabulous food. The holiday is a favorite for so many people because it isn’t focused on presents or extravagant decorations – it’s about sitting down for a delicious meal, surrounded by friends and family.

  11. 4 stars
    Wish you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving! Wishing you the gift of faith and the blessing of hope this thanksgiving day! We gather on this day to be thankful for what we have, for the family we love, the friends we cherish, and for the blessings that will come. Happy Thanksgiving! https://proremovalsrochdale.co.uk/

  12. I’ve been waiting for this recipe ever since I saw it on your thanksgiving menu, it looks soo amazing!

  13. Sounds like making the choice to drink chai tea every day isn’t too bad. Studies have also shown that other chai essentials, such as cinnamon and cloves as well as cardamom and black pepper, possess antibacterial properties. These properties can prevent digestive problems resulting from bacterial infections
    https://removalserviceshampshire.co.uk/

  14. Chai is traditionally brewed with milk in India but that’s the great thing about Real Chai, you can brew it the way YOU like it. It contains only spices and tea, so if you prefer not to use milk simply leave it out for a delicious black tea version. I personally love to use Soy Milk in my chai over dairy milk. movers

  15. Whole cow’s milk. If you’re not vegan or lactose intolerant whole cow’s milk is perhaps the most popular and traditional accompaniment to masala chai.

  16. 4 stars
    Easy and very tasty! But as a former bartender and bourbon lover, I definitely wouldn’t call this an old fashioned. Too many ingredients, And the chai syrup would taste great with brown sugar if anyone is looking for a cheaper alternative. SALUD!

  17. 5 stars
    My boyfriend and I made a huge batch of these as our signature drink for our annual Christmas party this weekend. I thought we made too much but everyone loved it and kept asking for more! Seriously delicious and I’m not even a bourbon fan!

    1. HI! I like to use Four Roses or Woodford. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  18. Hi! I am wondering if you could tell me where your beautiful glasses are from? I always have a hard time buying drink ware. I know….it’s an odd thing to be picky about! Anyhow I love the glass your old fashion is in and am also loving the sounds of this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Question….what kind of chai tea should be used? I found some vanilla chai tea in bags…or should I look for Just chai tea in bags?

    1. Hey Jennie! Vanilla chai tea bags are perfect and will be delicious! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much and happy Holidays!! xTieghan ?

    1. I think vodka will be just fine. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much!! xTieghan ?

  20. Made mine with ginger beer instead of sparkling water. Used brown sugar instead of maple syrup since that is what I had on hand. One of the best cocktails I’ve had as a non-bourbon drinker usually

  21. 5 stars
    My husband loves a good Old Fashioned and he loves chai tea. He gave this high remarks, said “its outstanding, wow!” Would highly recommend. Next time I make this I’ll double the simple syrup recipe so I have more on hand and share with friends. <3

  22. 5 stars
    I loved this simple cocktail. I made them the night before Thanksgiving for my boyfriend and I, and they were the perfect for snuggling on the couch and watching The Grinch. 🙂 The simple syrup was so easy and really tasty. I garnished with a cinnamon stick and a cranberry. 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Hey Sally! The syrup should be thin! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much!! xTieghan

    1. Sure! Warm all ingredients over low heat until steaming. I am sure that will be great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much and happy Thanksgiving! xTieghan

  23. I’ve been waiting for this recipe ever since I saw it on your thanksgiving menu, it looks sooooooo amazing!