Black Pepper & Thyme Old Fashioned Cocktail

The Sgt. Pepper’s Old Fashioned cocktail gets its name and flavor from the Black Pepper & Thyme infused honey syrup, which always merits a second drink.

A Peppery and Herbal Twist on the classic Old Fashioned //

Just The Drink: Sgt. Pepper’s Old Fashioned Cocktail

This drink was inspired by my favorite cocktail at Meat & Potatoes, a Pittsburgh restaurant where I have celebrated so many birthdays, anniversaries and just simply, days of the week. The key component is the Thyme & Black Pepper Infused Honey Simple Syrup, which combines to create a bright and almost citrusy flavor. Pair that with the oaky bite of whiskey, and I teeter past my drinking limit every time. It’s that good!

Happy Hour Time //

The Personal:

I started a new ritual, a prayer of sorts but not to any god in particular. I simply pause and express my gratitude out loud before a meal. When I say, “I’m grateful for my friends and family,” I picture them in my mind and wish them contentment and wellness.

When I say, “Everything I have is a gift. May I remember to celebrate,” I picture dancing with my friend Nina, both of us with our heads thrown back in pure joy. We’ve danced all over – at shows, at bars, at weird Christmas light displays in Los Angeles, but my favorite is when we’re just in a living room or at a traffic light and daaancing.

I always say extra thanks for Julep because I really can’t fathom my life, especially a socially-distant life, without her. Where would I be wihtout her lessons of unconditional love?

At last, I say santé, and I take a sip of whatever beverage accompanies my meal, coffee for breakfast, or perhaps this chilled Sgt. Pepper’s Old Fashioned cocktail with dinner. Then, I taste the drink. I really take in the aroma and flavor of what I’m sipping. This practice helps prevent me from slipping into autopilot.

Santé, literally “health,” is what the French say for cheers, not unlike English speakers toasting “to your health.” I chose this word versus amen because it conjures my time in France. It feels so spiritedly conclusive while also reminding me that health is one of the greatest gifts, that my body is a great gift worthy of love and respect, not negative self-talk.

Saying santé reminds me to take that first sip mindfully, to appreciate the farmers, vintners, whiskey-makers and all the folks who enabled me to take that sip, to enjoy my meal and restore my spirit.

So to you, my friend, santé!

Cocktail o'clock //

Honey Simple Syrup with Black Pepper & Thyme //

A new take on the classic Old Fashioned //

Blanton's Bourbon Whiskey //

A new take on the classic Old Fashioned //

Black Pepper & Thyme Old Fashioned Cocktail //

Black Pepper & Thyme Old Fashioned Cocktail //

A new take on the classic Old Fashioned //

Black Pepper & Thyme Old Fashioned Cocktail //

An Old Fashioned with an Infused Honey Simple Syrup //

An Old Fashioned with an Infused Honey Simple Syrup //

Julep’s Corner:

Don’t forget, we’ll actually be hanging in Julep’s Corner and can toast digitally this Friday, May 29th as part of The Salon’s #SalonSlowDown. We can chat food and business, cooking during COVID-19, the making of a cookbook, or just gush about dogs. You know I love gushing about dogs.

The Salon Slow Down
Friday, May 29 | 4:30 – 5 pm EST
RSVP here

The #SalonSlowDown is a way to close out the week with “a leading womxn from the world of culinary, drinks, a creative or just a down right fun-loving gal!” I’m pretty honored to kick it off.

Drinks with Julep //

You Might Also Like:

If you’re a bourbon-loving guy or gal with a sweet tooth and a penchant for dogs, then you are definitely my people. You, my dear new friend, might also like the Derby Day Mint Julep Cake from my book, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook. The recipe was inspired by my desire to attend those decadent hat parties as well as my favorite drink and my dog’s namesake.  This recipe features layers of gluten-free, mint-chocolate cake and bourbon-whipped cream.

Derby Day Mint Julep Cake from "The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook" //

Sgt. Pepper’s Old Fashioned

This recipe describes the more official way to blend the drink, but as the photos indicate, I usually just eyeball it, pour directly over ice, and give it a good whirl to stir. 
Course: Drinks
Yield: 1 drink
Author: Quelcy Kogel


  • 2 teaspoons honey thyme syrup (see note for recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • ice
  • 1.5 oz (1 jigger) bourbon whiskey

Garnishes (optional)

  • fresh thyme sprig(s)
  • Orange or lemon peel
  • A cherry


  • Pour the simple syrup, water, and bitters into a whiskey glass. Stir to combine, then place the ice cubes in the glass. Pour bourbon over the ice, and garnish, to taste.


Here's the recipe for the Thyme & Black Pepper Infused Honey Simple Syrup. 
I used Wigle Whiskey's Rosemary Lavender Bitters for an extra herbal and floral note, but classic Angostura Bitters do the trick. 

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Laura

    You just say bitters….what kind of bitters??

    1. Quelcy Kogel

      I like to experiment with different types of bitters. I have a Rosemary Thyme one I like to use, so I would recommend following your tastebuds. However, Angostura or Orange bitters are both staples that work well with this cocktail. Cheers!

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