The old fashioned is one of the most basic and perfect whiskey cocktails you can make. It’s called an Old Fashioned because it’s made in the style of the original cocktail, no frills, no gimmiks.

An old fashioned is traditionally made with Rye whiskey, sugar, bitters, a twist of orange, and ice in a standard rocks glass.

The appeal of an old fashioned is to have a drink which both tastes like whiskey, but is ‘easy to drink’. While you still taste the full force of the whiskey the harsh notes are eliminated and replaced with those more vibrant and sweet.


  • Rye Straight Whiskey (You can make it with Straight Bourbon if you desire)
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Simple Syrup (2-parts water, 1-part sugar)
  • A firm, fresh lemon or orange*
  • Ice*

*Items denoted as such are optional.


  • Take a twist of orange peel (lemon works great as well). Abuse the twist a little to get some of the oils bubbling to the surface and rub that on the inside of the glass, then drop your twist in the glass.
  • Add the syrup to the glass. A splash will do. You’re sweetening to taste, start with a little and you can always add more.
  • Add a dash of bitters.
  • Add 2 ounces of Whiskey
  • Stir

This drink is best served with one large ice cube. Minimizing the surface area like this will help keep the drink from diluting down quickly.

Note: If you are not familiar, you can learn the basics of cocktail mixing here.

Important Notes

What you have just read is how an Old Fashioned is made, period. You’ll often see people add a bunch of other crap to this drink, while you can try to argue the merits of this any way you like, the simple answer is this: the drink is called an Old Fashioned, its entire purpose is to carry on the tradition of a classic, old fashioned, cocktail. Adding anything extra defeats the entire purpose of this drink. If you want fresh fruit in a cocktail, make one with fresh fruit on the ingredients list.

  • There are no slices, wedges or juices in an Old Fashioned.
  • There are no cherries in an Old Fashioned.
  • In fact, there are no fruits of any kind added, muddled, mashed, steeped or garnished with this drink.

There are no more ingredients at all, including soda water, pop, vermouth, beer added to an Old Fashioned, and you do not shake it. Like a Gin Martini, this drink is always stirred in a glass.