Fig and Bourbon Cocktail – The Old Farmer

Fig and bourbon cocktail garnished with bruleed figs

I have dubbed this fig and bourbon cocktail “The Old Farmer”. Figs are thought to be the oldest know cultivated fruit so I thought the name was very fitting. Additionally, September is Bourbon Heritage Month and the last month that figs are in season. So I just had to find a way to put them together.

This cocktail is a riff on the modern classic cocktail called The Paper Plane. It’s a drink composed of equal parts of bourbon, bitter aperitif, sweet aperitif and lemon juice. The ratios for The Old Farmer are a little bit different but the components are similar. Instead of a sweet aperitif we’ll use some fig preserves to sweeten the drink.

Fig and bourbon drink being double strained into glass


Here are some of my favorite bourbons that won’t break the bank. But anything that you prefer in the 90-100 proof range will certainly work

Under $30 (usually)

  • Buffalo Trace
  • Wild Turkey 101
  • Blue Note Juke Joint

Under $45 (usually)

  • Blue Note Crossroads
  • Basil Hayden
  • Penelope Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Lets Talk About Bitter Aperitif’s

Bitter aperitif’s are a bitter liqueur hailing from northern parts of Italy. They originally were made as an appetite stimulant but have gone onto be so much more. Campari is the most famous brand and can usually be found in every liquor store you pop into. But being the biggest doesn’t necessarily mean you are the best and if you haven’t tried others may I give you a few suggestions.

  • Select Aperitivo (my favorite)
  • Leopold Bro Aperitivo
  • Contratto Bitter
The old farmer with bourbon and bitter liqueur in the background

Tips For Making The Best Fig and Bourbon Cocktail

I’ve said it many times before and it’s still worth repeating. The fewer the ingredients the more the technique matter. Here’s a list of things to maximize your new favorite cocktail.

  • Equipment – Because we are using fig preserves you will need to double strain to remove the pulp and seeds.
  • Clear Ice – Of course it’s not necessary but clear ice makes all cocktails just a little bit more special. I use the True Cubes system all the time.
  • Good Bourbon – There’s a saying called garbage in/garbage out. So if you use subpar bourbon don’t expect anything more in the final drink.

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The Old Farmer Cocktail garnished with bruleed figs
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The Old Farmer

A fig and bourbon cocktail shaken up with some bitter aperitif and lemon juice
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: aperitif, bourbon, bourbon cocktail, fig
Servings: 1
Cost: $5


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce bitter aperitif like Campari
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fig preserves


  • Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin with ice. Shake until ice cold. Double strain into glass with fresh ice.