How to Make an Old Fashioned: The Perfect Classic Cocktail

Greetings, Challenger: Discover the Art of Creating a Classic Cocktail from Scratch

Welcome to this article where we will explore the art of making a classic cocktail: The Old Fashioned. Whether you are a bartender, a mixologist, or simply an enthusiast, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and skills to create this timeless drink from scratch. Following the steps outlined in this guide, you will be able to mix the perfect Old Fashioned every time.

But first, let’s explore the history of this classic cocktail and the reason it has remained a favorite beverage for over a century.

The History of the Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a whiskey-based cocktail with bitters and citrus, usually served with a twist of orange rind. This legendary cocktail dates back to the 19th century when bartenders used to mix simple cocktails using spirits, sugar, bitters, and water. The Old Fashioned evolved from this basic recipe, eventually becoming the standard for whiskey cocktails.

The first written recipe for an Old Fashioned is dated as far back as 1862. Although the Old Fashioned has gone through a few revisions since then, its basic recipe remains the same. Even today, it is regarded as a classic cocktail by many mixologists.

Ingredients for the Perfect Old Fashioned

Before we proceed with the step-by-step guide, let’s take a look at the essential ingredients that are required to create an Old Fashioned cocktail. Here is a table that contains all the necessary ingredients:

Ingredient Quantity
Whiskey 2 oz
Bitters 1 dash
Sugar 1 tsp
Water 1 tsp
Ice Cubes 3-4
Orange Peel 1 twist

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Make an Old Fashioned Cocktail

Step 1: Choose Your Whiskey

The key to making a perfect Old Fashioned cocktail is to use high-quality whiskey. Choose a whiskey with a strong flavor, such as bourbon or rye. Pour two ounces of whiskey into your glass.

Step 2: Add Sugar and Bitters

Add one teaspoon of sugar and one dash of bitters to the glass. Stir the mixture well to dissolve the sugar completely.

Step 3: Add Water and Ice

Add one teaspoon of water and three to four ice cubes to the glass. Stir the mixture again to combine all the ingredients.

Step 4: Twist Orange Peel

Twist the orange peel to release its oils and rub the rim of the glass with it. Drop the peel into the glass.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

Your Old Fashioned cocktail is ready! Sip and enjoy the classic flavor of this timeless cocktail.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use different whiskey brands to make an Old Fashioned cocktail?

Yes, you can use different whiskeys to make your Old Fashioned cocktail. However, we recommend using a whiskey with a strong flavor, such as rye or bourbon, to get the best taste.

2. Can I use sugar syrup instead of granulated sugar?

Yes, you can use sugar syrup instead of granulated sugar. However, sugar syrup may dilute your cocktail, so adjust the amount of water accordingly.

3. How many ice cubes should I add to the glass?

You can add three to four ice cubes to your cocktail, depending on the size of the glass you’re using. The ice cubes should fill around 1/3rd of the glass.

4. Can I use a different type of bitters?

Yes, you can use different types of bitters. However, Angostura bitters are the most commonly used bitters for Old Fashioned cocktails.

5. Can I add additional flavors to my Old Fashioned cocktail?

Yes, you can add additional flavors to your cocktail, such as ginger, apple, maple, or cinnamon. However, these flavors may alter the classic taste of the Old Fashioned cocktail.

6. How can I make my Old-Fashioned cocktail sweeter?

You can add more sugar or use a sweeter whiskey brand to make your Old-Fashioned cocktail sweeter. However, be sure to add sugar sparingly so that your cocktail doesn’t become too sweet.

7. Can I make an Old Fashioned cocktail without bitters?

No, bitters are an essential part of the classic Old-Fashioned cocktail. However, you can adjust the amount of bitters depending on your preference.

8. How do I twist the orange peel?

Hold the orange peel between your thumb and index finger, with the skin side facing you. Hold it about an inch above the cocktail and use your other hand to twist it clockwise or counterclockwise. This will release the oils and add pleasing aromatics to your cocktail.

9. How strong is an Old Fashioned cocktail?

An Old Fashioned cocktail has an alcohol content of around 35-40%, depending on the type of whiskey you use and the amount of water you add.

10. Can I add soda water to my Old Fashioned cocktail?

While you can add soda water to your cocktail, it would no longer be considered an Old Fashioned cocktail. Additionally, soda water dilutes the flavor of the whiskey, which is the star of the cocktail.

11. What is the difference between rye whiskey and bourbon?

Rye whiskey is made with at least 51% rye grain, while bourbon is made with at least 51% corn. Rye whiskey has a spicier, more robust flavor compared to bourbon, which has a sweeter and smoother taste.

12. Can I make an Old Fashioned cocktail with Scotch whiskey?

While you can technically make an Old Fashioned cocktail with Scotch whiskey, it is generally not recommended due to the robust and smoky flavor of Scotch, which may overpower the other ingredients.

13. What is the difference between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan?

An Old Fashioned is a whiskey-based cocktail that usually contains sugar, bitters, and an orange twist. A Manhattan, on the other hand, is also a whiskey-based cocktail, but it contains sweet vermouth, bitters, and a cherry garnish.

Conclusion: Mix Your Perfect Old Fashioned Every Time

We hope this guide on how to make an Old Fashioned cocktail inspires you to create this classic drink at home or in your bar. Remember to use high-quality whiskey, Angostura bitters, and fresh citrus, and adjust the recipe to your individual taste. With a little practice, you will be able to mix the perfect Old-Fashioned cocktail every time. Cheers!


It is illegal to consume alcohol below the legal drinking age in your country. Always drink responsibly, and never drink and drive. This guide is intended for people of legal drinking age only.