How to Make an Old Fashioned

Are you a fan of classic cocktails? If so, the Old Fashioned is a must-try drink. This timeless cocktail has been enjoyed for generations and continues to be a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making an Old Fashioned from scratch, providing you with all the information you need to create this delicious drink in the comfort of your own home.

1. Introduction

The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that dates back to the early 19th century. It is known for its simplicity and the way it showcases the flavors of the whiskey used. This cocktail is perfect for those who appreciate the rich and robust taste of a good whiskey.

2. What is an Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned is a cocktail that typically consists of whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a twist of citrus peel. It is traditionally served over ice in a short tumbler glass and garnished with a cherry and orange slice. The combination of these ingredients creates a balanced and flavorful drink.

3. The History of the Old Fashioned

The history of the Old Fashioned is fascinating. It is believed to have originated in the early 19th century and was one of the first cocktails ever created. The original recipe called for a simple mix of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. Over the years, the recipe evolved, and the addition of muddled fruit and garnishes became popular. Today, the Old Fashioned is enjoyed in various forms, but the essence of the drink remains true to its roots.

4. Ingredients Needed

To make a classic Old Fashioned, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of whiskey (bourbon or rye)
  • 1 sugar cube or 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel
  • Maraschino cherry (for garnish)
  • Ice cubes

5. Tools and Glassware

Before you start making your Old Fashioned, it’s important to have the right tools and glassware. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mixing glass
  • Muddler or spoon
  • Jigger or measuring cup
  • Strainer
  • Short tumbler glass (rocks glass)
  • Ice bucket or tray

Now that you have everything prepared, let’s dive into the step-by-step guide on how to make an Old Fashioned.

6. Step-by-Step Guide to Making an Old Fashioned

  1. Muddling the Sugar and BittersStart by placing the sugar cube or sugar in the mixing glass. Add the dashes of bitters onto the sugar. Using a muddler or spoon, gently crush the sugar cube and mix it with the bitters until it forms a paste.
  2. Adding Ice and WhiskeyNext, add ice cubes to the mixing glass. Pour the whiskey over the ice. The amount of whiskey can be adjusted based on your preference for a stronger or milder drink.
  3. Stirring the MixtureUsing a bar spoon or the handle of the muddler, stir the mixture gently for about 30 seconds. This allows the flavors to meld together and the drink to chill.
  4. Garnishing the Old FashionedTake the orange peel and squeeze it over the glass, allowing the oils to release. Rub the rim of the glass with the orange peel and then drop it into the drink. Add a maraschino cherry as a garnish.

7. Variations of the Old Fashioned

While the classic Old Fashioned recipe is delightful on its own, there are several variations you can explore to add a unique twist to the drink. Some popular variations include using different types of bitters, experimenting with different types of whiskey, or adding a splash of soda water for a refreshing touch.

8. Tips for Perfecting Your Old Fashioned

To ensure you create the perfect Old Fashioned every time, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Use high-quality whiskey for the best flavor.
  • Experiment with different types of bitters to find your preferred taste.
  • Don’t rush the stirring process; it helps to incorporate the flavors.
  • Consider using a large ice cube to prevent excessive dilution of the drink.

9. Serving and Enjoying the Old Fashioned

Once you have prepared your Old Fashioned, it’s time to savor it. Serve the drink in a short tumbler glass filled with ice. Take a moment to appreciate the aroma, then take small sips to fully experience the flavors. The Old Fashioned is a cocktail meant to be sipped and enjoyed slowly.

10. Conclusion

The Old Fashioned is a timeless cocktail that continues to captivate cocktail enthusiasts around the world. With its rich history and straightforward recipe, it’s no wonder that this classic drink has stood the test of time. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can easily create a delicious Old Fashioned at home and impress your guests with your mixology skills.


Q: Can I use bourbon instead of rye whiskey in an Old Fashioned?

Yes, you can use either bourbon or rye whiskey to make an Old Fashioned. Bourbon tends to have a sweeter and smoother flavor profile, while rye whiskey has a spicier and bolder taste. Choose the whiskey that suits your preference.

Q: Can I substitute the sugar cube with simple syrup?

Absolutely! Using simple syrup instead of a sugar cube is a common practice when making an Old Fashioned. It ensures that the sugar is evenly distributed and dissolves easily in the drink.

Q: Are there non-alcoholic versions of the Old Fashioned?

Yes, there are non-alcoholic versions of the Old Fashioned that use alternative ingredients to replicate the flavors of the cocktail without the alcohol content. These variations often substitute the whiskey with ingredients like apple cider, tea, or non-alcoholic spirits.

Q: How do I choose the right glassware for serving an Old Fashioned?

The traditional glassware for serving an Old Fashioned is a short tumbler glass, also known as a rocks glass. It is a lowball glass with a thick base that accommodates the ice and allows you to enjoy the aromas and flavors of the drink.

Q: Can I make an Old Fashioned in advance for a party?

While it’s best to prepare an Old Fashioned fresh, you can make a large batch of the mixture in advance and refrigerate it. When serving, pour the pre-made mixture over ice in individual glasses and garnish them with an orange peel and cherry.