Oaxacan Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

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Oaxacan 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 Oaxacan Old Fashioned is a modern twist on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail, created by renowned bartender Phil Ward at the famous Death & Co. bar in New York City. This cocktail is a perfect blend of Mexican and American spirits, combining the smoky flavors of mezcal with the sweetness of agave syrup and the bitterness of Angostura bitters. It's a favorite among adventurous drinkers and those who appreciate the unique flavors of mezcal.

How Oaxacan Old Fashioned Tastes?

The Oaxacan Old Fashioned is a complex, smoky, and slightly sweet cocktail with a rich, velvety texture. The mezcal provides an earthy, smoky backbone, while the agave syrup adds a touch of sweetness and the Angostura bitters bring a subtle bitterness to balance the flavors.

Interesting facts about Oaxacan Old Fashioned

  • The Oaxacan Old Fashioned was created by Phil Ward, a renowned bartender at Death & Co., one of the most influential cocktail bars in the world.
  • Mezcal, the primary spirit in this cocktail, is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the agave plant, native to Mexico.
  • The name 'Oaxacan' comes from the region of Oaxaca in Mexico, which is known for producing some of the finest mezcal in the world.



  • Why 2oz? Just the right amount to capture mezcal's smoky character without overpowering the spirit of the cocktail. Drink it neat, and you're just sipping on culture; too little, and you're just being shy.
  • Flavor? It adds the distinctive smoky flavor that is central to this cocktail's character.
  • Without it? An Oaxacan Old Fashioned without mezcal is like a beach without sand. It's the backbone of this drink.

Emma Rose

Reposado Tequila

  • Why 0.5oz? It's a supporting act to mezcal's leading role. A perfect sidekick adding complexity and a little warmth.
  • Flavor? It brings a hint of vanilla and oak which compliments the mezcal.
  • Without it? You'd miss out on the nuanced interplay between two types of agave spirits that gives this drink its depth.

Alex Green

Agave Syrup

  • Why 0.25oz? It's a nod to the agave origins of our spirit friends and just enough to balance the bitters’ bite without turning the cocktail into a sugar bomb.
  • Flavor? Adds a smooth, sweet counterpart.
  • Without it? The drink might be too harsh; the syrup mellows out the edges and binds the flavors.

Mary Mitkina

Angostura Bitters

  • Why 2 dashes? Just enough to add a botanical complexity without turning your sip into a spice rack escapade.
  • Flavor? It gives the cocktail its well-rounded depth and aromatic complexity.
  • Without it? It would be like a party without music—just lacking that vital spark.

Emma Rose

Orange Peel

  • Why 1 peel? Because no one has ever said, “Oh, that's too much citrus aroma in my cocktail!” Adds freshness and a fragrant note to tie the room together.
  • Flavor? Brings a bright, citrusy, fragrant aroma.
  • Without it? You'd lose the zesty magic that finishes the cocktail with a flourish.

Alex Green

Luxardo Maraschino Cherry

  • Why 1 cherry? It's the final touch, a sweet, sophisticated cherry on top.
  • Flavor? A touch of sweetness and a hint of cherry flavor.
  • Without it? The drink would still be decent, but you'd miss out on the classic cocktail experience.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Oaxacan Old Fashioned Drink

  1. In a mixing glass, combine the mezcal, reposado tequila, agave syrup, and Angostura bitters.
  2. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir the cocktail until well chilled.
  3. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with a large ice cube.
  4. Express the orange peel over the cocktail, then discard the peel.
  5. Garnish the cocktail with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Use a high-quality mezcal for the best flavor. The smokiness of the mezcal is a key component of this cocktail.
  • Stir the cocktail well to ensure all the ingredients are fully combined and the cocktail is properly chilled.
  • Express the orange peel over the cocktail to release the oils and add a subtle citrus aroma.

Perfect Pairings

Savory Snacks

  • Grilled Steak Tacos: The smokiness of mezcal and reposado tequila complements the charred flavors of grilled meat.
  • Chips and Guacamole: The creamy texture of the avocado balances the bite of the bitters and the citrus notes from the orange peel.

Spicy Dishes

  • Spicy Tuna Roll: The heat from the wasabi and sriracha sauce in a spicy tuna roll is mellowed by the sweet agave syrup and cherry garnish.
  • Chile Rellenos: The Oaxacan Old Fashioned's complexity stands up to the robust flavors of stuffed and fried poblano peppers.

Sweet Treats

  • Dark Chocolate: A piece of high-quality dark chocolate brings out the depths of the mezcal and reposado tequila while contrasting with the brightness of the orange.

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What you could change in Oaxacan Old Fashioned

  • If you don't have mezcal, you can use a smoky Scotch as a substitute.
  • If you don't have reposado tequila, you can use blanco tequila instead, but the flavor will be slightly different.
  • If you don't have agave syrup, you can use simple syrup or honey as a substitute.

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And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Spice Old Fashioned

  • Ingredients: Replace 2oz of mezcal with 2oz of smoky Scotch and the Angostura bitters with chipotle bitters.
  • Recipe: Similar to the original, replacing the key ingredients with the above.
  • Taste: A deep dive into a peaty affair, with a hint of chipotle to warm your palette.
  • Why make it?: Smoked spice lovers, unite! It's a drink that bites back.

Agave Old Fashioned Deluxe

  • Ingredients: Double the agave syrup and add a pinch of smoked salt.
  • Recipe: Follow the original recipe, but stir in the smoked salt before adding ice.
  • Taste: Sweeter with a surprising salty twang that brings out a new side of mezcal.
  • Why make it?: For those with a sweet tooth who like to walk the salty side of the street.

Citrus Burst Old Fashioned

  • Ingredients: Add a splash of fresh orange juice and use blood orange bitters instead of Angostura.
  • Recipe: Mix as usual, adding the orange juice to your spirit base before stirring.
  • Taste: A brighter, fruitier take that sends citrus vibrations through your taste buds.
  • Why make it?: If you're feeling zesty and longing for a citrusy twist, this is your jam.

In case you forgot basics how to make Oaxacan Old Fashioned

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 Oaxacan Old Fashioned

What is the best time to enjoy an Oaxacan Old Fashioned?

It is often enjoyed in the evening, either as a pre-dinner cocktail to stimulate the appetite, or as a neat slow-sipper post-dinner drink.

What does 'express the orange peel' mean?

This refers to squeezing the orange zest or peel over the drink, so the aromatic oils spray onto the surface.

What does it mean when a drink is described as 'smoky'?

This term often refers to a unique flavor profile that originates from the process of roasting or smoking, found mainly in whiskies and mezcal.

What kinds of meals pair well with an Oaxacan Old Fashioned?

Considering its smoky and slightly sweet profile, it pairs well with grilled meats and spicy Mexican dishes.

What is the alcohol content of an Oaxacan Old Fashioned?

The alcohol content of this beverage can be quite high, but it can vary depending upon the proportions of mezcal and tequila added. Please drink responsibly.

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