Italian Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

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Italian Old Fashioned Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Italian Old Fashioned is a delightful twist on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail. Its roots are in the traditional American Old Fashioned, but it has been given an Italian makeover with the addition of Amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur, and a splash of Prosecco.

  • Origins: The classic Old Fashioned has been around since the early 19th century, but this Italian version is a more recent innovation.
  • Popularity: It's a hit among those who appreciate a bittersweet profile and a touch of effervescence in their drinks.
  • Ideal For: This cocktail is perfect for a sophisticated evening or as a refined after-dinner drink.

How Italian Old Fashioned Tastes?

The Italian Old Fashioned has a complex taste profile. It's bittersweet with herbal undertones from the Amaro, the whiskey provides warmth and depth, and the Prosecco adds a light, bubbly finish.

Interesting facts about Italian Old Fashioned

  • Amaro adds a unique Italian twist to the traditional Old Fashioned.
  • The addition of Prosecco brings a celebratory feel to the drink.
  • It's a cocktail that balances tradition with modern flair.


  • Rye whiskey: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Amaro: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Simple syrup: 0.25 oz(8ml)
  • Prosecco: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Orange peel: 1
  • Maraschino cherry: 1

Rye Whiskey

The 2oz of Rye Whiskey provides a spicy and robust base for the Italian Old Fashioned. It's what gives the cocktail its kick – not too much to overpower, but just enough to warm the soul. Without it, you'd just be sipping on a bubbly amaro concoction, which isn't bad but misses the point. Try bourbon for a sweeter twist, but know that you'll be losing out on rye's unique spice.

Alex Green


1oz of Amaro adds the distinctly Italian bittersweet herbal quality that defines this twist on an Old Fashioned. Not enough and the rye dominates, too much and you're tipping into medicinal territory. If Amaro isn't your thing, try a different herbal liqueur, like Averna or Cynar, for a unique flavor journey.

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup

At 0.25oz, Simple Syrup is there to take the edge off, to whisper sweet nothings into the bitter qualities of the amaro and the spice of the whiskey. Without it, the drink could be too harsh for some. Opt for honey syrup if you like your sweetness with a side of floral.

Emma Rose


Adding 1oz of Prosecco brings an effervescent Italian charm and a lightness to cut through the richer flavors. Skipping it would be like refusing a joyous toast at an Italian wedding – it simply isn't done. Sparkling wine can, however, step in if Prosecco is playing hard to get.

Alex Green

Orange Peel

The Orange Peel garnish adds a citrusy fragrance and a touch of elegance to this libation. It brightens the heavy hitters in the glass and adds depth. Neglect the peel, and the cocktail loses its aromatic allure. Lemon could work in a pinch, but it’s not the same sunny romance.

Mary Mitkina

Maraschino Cherry

Last but not least, the Maraschino Cherry is the delightful sweet treat waiting at the bottom of the glass, a nod to classic Old Fashioned garnishes. It gives a fruity finish to balance out the amaro's bitterness. Without it, you'll survive, but why miss out on the merriness it brings? If cherries aren't your jam, a twist of lemon could do the trick – just expect a tarter endnote.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Italian Old Fashioned Drink

  1. In a mixing glass, combine rye whiskey, Amaro, and simple syrup.
  2. Fill with ice and stir until well-chilled.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
  4. Top with Prosecco.
  5. Garnish with an orange peel and a maraschino cherry. We recommend using these

Pro Tips

  • Chill the glass before serving to keep the drink colder longer.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to get a wide, aromatic orange peel.
  • When adding the Prosecco, pour gently to preserve the bubbles.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie and Cheese: A selection of cured meats and cheeses complement the rich and bittersweet flavors of the Italian Old Fashioned.

  • Bruschetta: The fresh tomatoes and basil can provide a refreshing contrast to the depth of the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Steak: The robust flavors of a grilled steak will hold up nicely against the strong whiskey base.

  • Roasted Pork: The sweetness of the simple syrup and cherry may tie in well with a slightly sweet glaze on a roast.


  • Tiramisu: The coffee flavor in this Italian dessert could be a nice follow-up to the herbal notes of the amaro.

  • Dark Chocolate: The bitterness of the dark chocolate balances the sweetness of the cocktail and complements its complexity.

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What you could change in Italian Old Fashioned

  • Rye Whiskey: Can be substituted with Bourbon for a sweeter profile.
  • Amaro: Different brands of Amaro can be used to tweak the bitterness and herbal notes.
  • Prosecco: Champagne or other sparkling wines can be used as an alternative.

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And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Italian Old Fashioned

Replace rye whiskey with a smoky Scotch whisky and omit Prosecco. Add a dash of chocolate bitters. This twist brings an alluring smokiness that pairs delightfully with the herbal notes of the amaro, elevating the drink to a cozy fireside experience. Perfect for when you want to add a bit of Highland mystery to your Milanese evening.

Venetian Spritz Old Fashioned

Use Aperol in place of Amaro and add an extra 0.5oz of Prosecco. Drop the simple syrup. The result is a lighter, more refreshing drink with the bittersweet character of Aperol shining through, reminiscent of the famous Venetian Spritz, perfect for a sunny afternoon by the canals.

Espresso Old Fashioned

Add a 0.5oz shot of espresso to the original recipe, and weave in a coffee liqueur instead of simple syrup. The deep coffee flavors will entangle with the rye and amaro to create a rich and invigorating twist that could perk up any late-night soiree. It's like inviting a barista to your cocktail party!

In case you forgot basics how to make Italian Old Fashioned

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Italian Old Fashioned

What is Amaro, and how does it affect the taste of the cocktail?

Amaro is an Italian herbal liqueur that often contains a mix of herbs, roots, flowers, bark, and citrus peels. Its taste can range from sweet to bitter or bittersweet, and it gives the Italian Old Fashioned a distinctive herbal and bittersweet edge. The type of Amaro used can greatly impact the overall flavor profile of the drink.

Why is Prosecco used in an Italian Old Fashioned?

Prosecco, a type of Italian sparkling wine, is used in this cocktail to add a light, effervescent texture and a hint of sweetness. It provides a contrast to the richness of the rye whiskey and the complexity of the Amaro, creating a balanced and refreshing experience.

Is there a specific type of glass recommended for serving an Italian Old Fashioned?

Traditionally, an Old Fashioned is served in a rocks glass, also known as a lowball or Old Fashioned glass. For the Italian Old Fashioned, the same type of glass is recommended to accommodate the large ice cube and provide the right aesthetic and drinking experience.

What kind of ice should be used for an Italian Old Fashioned?

It's best to use a large ice cube or ice sphere for the Italian Old Fashioned. Larger ice pieces melt slower, preventing over-dilution of the drink, while maintaining its chilled temperature longer.

Can the Italian Old Fashioned be batched for parties?

Yes, you can prepare a larger quantity of the base mixture by scaling up the whiskey, Amaro, and simple syrup in proportion. Before serving, pour over ice, and top with Prosecco individually to ensure the drink remains effervescent and fresh.

What food pairings work well with an Italian Old Fashioned?

The Italian Old Fashioned pairs well with rich appetizers such as charcuterie boards, cheese platters, or savory pastries. It can also complement main dishes like steak, roasted pork, or pasta with a hearty sauce.

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