Best Autumn Drink: Try This Classic Old Fashioned

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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 Old Fashioned cocktail is a classic American drink that dates back to the early 1800s. It is said to have originated in Louisville, Kentucky, and was popularized in New York City. The Old Fashioned is a favorite among whiskey lovers and has been enjoyed by notable figures such as President Harry S. Truman and Frank Sinatra.

  • The name 'Old Fashioned' comes from the way it was made in the 'old fashioned' way, with sugar, bitters, and whiskey.
  • The Old Fashioned has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, thanks in part to the television show Mad Men.
  • The Old Fashioned is often considered the quintessential American cocktail.

How Old Fashioned Tastes?

The Old Fashioned has a rich, complex taste that is both sweet and bitter. The whiskey provides a strong, warming base, while the sugar and bitters add a touch of sweetness and a hint of spice. The orange and cherry garnish add a subtle fruity note.

Interesting facts about Old Fashioned

  • The Old Fashioned is the official cocktail of Louisville, Kentucky.
  • The Old Fashioned was reportedly the first drink to be called a 'cocktail'.
  • The Old Fashioned is traditionally made with bourbon, but can also be made with rye whiskey or other types of whiskey.


Whiskey (2 oz)

The heart and soul of an Old Fashioned. It's rich, it's strong, it's smooth. Go big or go home; right? Using less might leave you wondering where the party is, while more could start a party for one a tad too quickly. No whiskey? No Old Fashioned!

Mary Mitkina

Sugar Cube (1)

The sweet to the whiskey's mighty. It softens the blow and whispers sweet nothings to your taste buds. Forget to invite sugar to the party, and you might grimace with every sip. Too much, and you're attending a syrup convention.

Alex Green

Angostura Bitters (3 dashes)

The spice of life here. A couple of dashes keep the drink from being a one-note wonder. Miss out on these, and you'll miss the depth they bring. Bitters are like the rhythm section in a band - often overlooked, but essential.

Emma Rose

Orange Peel (1)

This is the zesty jazz hand of the show. It adds brightness and a fragrant aroma. No peel, no pizzazz. It's like Sinatra without the swing.

Mary Mitkina

Maraschino Cherry (1)

It's the cherry on top! Both literally and metaphorically; offers a hint of sweetness and an indulgent finish. Without it, you'll survive, but life's too short not to have a cherry on top.

Alex Green

Ice Cubes

They're the cool crowd, chilling the drink, mellowing the whiskey without watering down the party too quickly. No ice means a warm, potent sip that could scorch your cool.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Old Fashioned Drink

  1. Place the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass.
  2. Add the Angostura bitters and a splash of water.
  3. Muddle the sugar and bitters until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add the whiskey and stir to combine.
  5. Fill the glass with ice cubes and stir again.
  6. Express the orange peel over the drink and drop it into the glass.
  7. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Use a large ice cube to slow down the dilution of the drink.
  • Express the orange peel over the drink to release its oils, adding an extra layer of flavor.
  • Try different types of whiskey to change the flavor profile of the cocktail.

Perfect Pairings

Cheese Platter

Especially aged cheeses like cheddar or gouda, as their rich flavors are a nice counterbalance to the whiskey's kick.

Grilled Meats

Think steak or barbecued pork; the smokiness from the grill complements the depth of an Old Fashioned.

Dark Chocolate

A square of good dark chocolate can bring out the subtly sweet notes in the cocktail.

Roasted Nuts

A bowl of roasted nuts and the Old Fashioned are like Bonnie and Clyde; they just make sense together.

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What you could change in Old Fashioned

  • Bourbon can be substituted with Rye Whiskey or other types of whiskey.
  • A sugar cube can be replaced with a teaspoon of simple syrup.
  • Angostura bitters can be replaced with other types of bitters for a different flavor profile.

Explore all drinks starting with O here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoked Old Fashioned

Ingredients: Same as original, but with smoked whiskey. Recipe: Follow the same steps, and right before serving, capture smoke from a smoldering wood chip in the glass then quickly cover it. The drink takes on a campfire persona, adding a smoky layer to the cocktail's profile.

Spicy Old Fashioned

Ingredients: Add a small slice of fresh jalapeño or a dash of spicy bitters. Recipe: Muddle the jalapeño with the sugar and bitters, then carry on as usual. It's like your Old Fashioned spent summer in Mexico and came back with a spicy souvenir.

Chocolate Old Fashioned

Ingredients: Add chocolate bitters and a small piece of dark chocolate. Recipe: Use chocolate bitters instead of Angostura and stir with dark chocolate until it melts. Turning your cocktail into a velvety indulgence, perfect for dessert or when you'd rather drink your chocolate than eat it.

In case you forgot basics how to make Old Fashioned

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

The key to proper muddling is to crush the ingredients just enough to release their flavors and not overdo it. Over-muddling can result in a bitter taste, especially with herbs.

Learn everything on how to muddle

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 Old Fashioned

What other drinks can I make with whiskey?

Whiskey can be used to make a variety of cocktails such as Mint Julep, Manhattan, Whiskey Sour, or Irish Coffee.

What is muddling and how do I do it?

Muddling is a technique that mixes or lightly crushes the ingredients in the drink. You can use a muddler, the back of a wooden spoon, or a similar tool to do this.

What does “express the orange peel” mean?

Expressing an orange peel (or any citrus peel) refers to releasing the oils from the skin, typically by twisting or squeezing it, usually over the cocktail glass.

Apart from orange peel and Maraschino cherry, what else can I use as garnish?

You could also garnish your Old Fashioned with a lemon twist or even other fruits like pineapple or apple slices for a unique twist.

Are there non-alcoholic substitutions available for whiskey?

Non-alcoholic versions of whiskey are commercially available and can serve as replacements in cocktail recipes.

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