Reviews of Traverse City Whiskey Co.'s Old Fashioned and Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktails


The Ready-To-Drink (RTD) Cocktail category has been around for several years, but in the last few, it has exploded in popularity. I’ve been reviewing these for almost as long as I’ve been reviewing whiskeys. I have found that distillers are improving their skills, making RTDs better than ever.


Traverse City Whiskey Co. was founded in 2015 by Chris Frederickson, Jared Rapp, and Moti Goldring. As the story goes, Chris’s grandfather had some whiskey distilling patents from the 1920s. Like many brands, Traverse City originally sourced its whiskey from MGP while waiting for its distillate to come of age. That’s far in the rearview mirror now.


This isn’t the first time Traverse City Whiskey Co. has produced cherry whiskey cocktails. My introduction to it was in 2019 when I reviewed its American Cherry Edition Whiskey.


We’re exploring Traverse City Whiskey Co.’s Old Fashioned Cocktail and Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail RTDs. I’m admittedly excited about this because when I go to a bar and do not order a whiskey, I almost always opt for an Old Fashioned, making judging the quality of these cocktails easy.


“An Old Fashioned is one of the original classic bourbon cocktails. Our delicious and convenient ready-to-serve Old Fashioned cocktails are hand crafted and ready to pour. They’re a welcomed addition to our portfolio of whiskey offerings.” – Chris Fredrickson


If you’re unfamiliar with this popular cocktail, it comes in three versions: Sweet, Sour, and Pressed. All three are made the same except for one deviation. That is unless you’re like me and you live in Wisconsin.


For most of the universe, an Old Fashioned cocktail is made with whiskey, cherries, oranges, sugar, water, and bitters. If you are in Wisconsin, most folks substitute brandy for whiskey. Unless you specify whiskey here, assume it is made with brandy.


You muddle the fruit with sugar and a teaspoon of water, then add a few dashes of bitters. Next comes the ice and whiskey (or brandy). Then, stir and garnish it with either cherries, olives, or pickled mushrooms. If you stopped here, you would have an Old Fashioned Pressed, which is how I order mine. Sour involves adding lime or lemon juice, while Sweet has either additional sugar or simple syrup. Some folks will add soda water or Sprite.


Enough of the background. Let’s #DrinkCurious with these RTDs. First, I must thank Traverse City Whiskey Co. for providing these samples in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


For the record, I sipped both chilled in rocks glasses.


Old Fashioned Cocktail

  • Made with 6-year-old Bourbon, simple syrup, bitters, and citrus expression
  • 37% ABV (74°)
  • $29.99 for a 375ml (8 servings)

Appearance: This cocktail was a murky orange and brown, which is what you’d expect for an Old Fashioned.


Nose: I could easily smell the Bourbon and bitters. I also effortlessly picked out the citrus note.


Palate: The mouthfeel had some weight. I tasted the Bourbon’s oakiness along with orange citrus on the front. The middle offered rich caramel, and the back featured bitters and clove.


Finish: Clove, oak spice, and orange citrus stuck around, and as it fell off, there was a kiss of ginger and smoke. I was surprised by how long its duration was – I clocked it at 1:09. I found that it extended more than any Old Fashioned I’ve ordered in a bar.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This is definitely made for an Old Fashioned Sweet drinker. While I rarely order one, it used to be my cocktail of choice before discovering the Pressed version. Traverse City Whiskey Co. did a fine job bottling what you’d expect to taste. And, while the finish shocked me, I don’t typically specify a brand when I order a cocktail. I suppose higher-proofed, older whiskeys would produce a longer finish.


I was disappointed that there wasn’t a cherry influence, but I tossed in some Marischinos to fix that.


This is a fun pour to consider if you’re lazy like me or want something portable to serve with friends. You get eight servings here; that $29.99 is far cheaper than you’d spend ordering eight Old Fashioneds. I believe that translates to a Bottle rating.




Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail


  • Made with American Cherry Edition Whiskey, cherries, simple syrup, bitters, and citrus expression
  • 27% ABV (54°)
  • $19.99 for a 375ml (8 servings)


Appearance: For whatever reason, I expected this to have a reddish hue. It didn’t. Instead, it was very similar in appearance to the first RTD.


Nose: Oh, this is where things get fun. The nose is a cherry bomb. Beneath that was caramel, orange zest, and oak.


Palate: My mouth encountered a thicker texture than the first RTD. I tasted Maraschino cherries, orange citrus, a bit of caramel, and oak. There wasn’t a front, middle, or back, and that’s okay because I don’t dissect that when I’m drinking a cocktail at a bar.


Finish: Cherries, orange citrus, and oak spice remained. Its duration was much shorter, hovering at 38 seconds.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail seemed more authentic than The Old Fashioned Cocktail. It mimicked beautifully with what I would typically order. There was no long spice to the finish. And, despite the cherry influence, it was less sweet than its counterpart. That could be attributed to its 20-point difference in proof.


I love green olives in my Old Fashioneds, so I tossed in a few after jotting down my notes. At this point, it was near perfect. For $20.00, you’re getting eight cocktails. Even at a dive bar, I can’t do that well. This one is a slam-dunk Bottle rating.


Final Thoughts: As a fan of an Old Fashioned Pressed cocktail, the Cherry version hit all the right buttons. These were both delicious, but I’d pick that every time. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.