Breaking Down the: Old Fashioned

Seasoned, sweetened, and an aromatic a-ppeal (pun very intended), the Old Fashioned is as old as the name itself. For over 150 years, the Old Fashioned has been a staple cocktail for those who enjoy the sweet taste of bourbon. The iconic cocktail is stirred-in-glass to blend the sugar, water, whiskey, and ice. From a purist’s perspective, muddling the sugar is the best option, but simple syrup works. 

Also see: Whiskey Sour

The Old Fashioned Recipe, Name, Origin

You may have heard of the Old Fashioned from the New York advertising executive Don Draper, but the drink is much older than the 60’s. Think back to 1862, wait, actually that was during the American Civil War, ok, maybe not such happy times but when are they ever? Hence the much needed sweetness of the Old Fashioned! Now let's get back to its origins. The recipe is mentioned in a book by the name of Jerry Thomas' Bartenders Guide: How To Mix Drinks where the author coined a gin based version of the drink with the same exact ingredients. The Old Fashioned recipe states;"Crush a small lump of sugar in a whiskey glass containing a little water, add a lump of ice, two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece of lemon peel, one jigger Holland gin. Mix with a small bar spoon. Serve." As time went on the gin was swapped for bourbon whiskey. 


Source: Mad Men, 2007

Old Fashioned Ingredients

• 1/2 teaspoon sugar

• 3 dashes Angostura bitters

• 1 teaspoon water

• 2 ounces bourbon

• Garnish: orange peel


How to Make an Old Fashioned

1. Put sugar and angostura bitters into a rocks glass, add a small amount of water and stir until the sugar is nearly dissolved.

2. Fill the glass with big ice cubes, add bourbon and gently stir.

3. Use an orange peel to coat the rim of the glass then drop in.

4. Looking to become a bartender? Check out our Ultimate Bartending Guide here!