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How to Make an Old Fashioned Cocktail?

The Old Fashioned cocktail is a timeless classic that has stood the test of time. Revered for its simplicity and depth of flavor, it's a staple in the world of mixology. But how do you make an Old Fashioned cocktail? This blog post helps you understand and master this timeless drink. From unraveling its rich history to selecting the best wine accompaniment, we cover every aspect. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to make an Old Fashion cocktail to enjoy your perfect drink. Read on!

Old Fashioned Cocktail

What Is the Old Fashioned?

Originating in the early 19th century, the Old Fashioned is often regarded as the quintessential American cocktail. At its core, an Old Fashioned consists of whiskey (typically bourbon or rye), sugar, and bitters. These components are delicately balanced to enhance each other: the whiskey provides a warm, robust base, the sugar adds a touch of sweetness to mellow the spirit's strength, and the bitters bring a depth of flavor, adding an aromatic and slightly bitter counterpoint to the drink's sweetness.

The Old Fashioned has undergone various adaptations over time, with bartenders adding their own twists and variations, but its essence remains the same: a robust, yet smooth and well-rounded cocktail that's both deeply flavorful and surprisingly simple.

Best Wine for the Old Fashioned

Choosing the best whiskey for an Old Fashioned depends largely on personal preference, but there are certain types that are commonly recommended for their ability to complement and enhance the cocktail's flavor profile. Here are some top picks:

  • Bourbon: Known for its sweet and full-bodied flavor, bourbon is a popular choice for an Old Fashioned. It adds notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak. Brands like Buffalo Trace, Maker's Mark, and Woodford Reserve are often recommended.
  • Rye Whiskey: For a spicier, more robust Old Fashioned, rye whiskey is an excellent choice. It adds a peppery and slightly fruity note to the cocktail. Rye whiskeys like Bulleit Rye, Rittenhouse Rye, and Sazerac Rye are highly regarded.
  • Wheated Bourbon: If you prefer a smoother, softer profile, wheated bourbons are a great option. They replace the rye grain commonly used in bourbon with wheat, resulting in a sweeter and more mellow flavor. Larceny and W.L. Weller are notable wheated bourbons.
  • Scotch Whisky: While not traditional, a peated Scotch can add a smoky element to the drink, suitable for those who enjoy a smoky flavor.

What Sweeter Should You Choose?

Modern Old Fashioned Cocktail

When selecting a sweetener for an Old Fashioned, your choice significantly influences the cocktail's overall flavor. The traditional option is a sugar cube or granulated sugar, offering a clean, straightforward sweetness. For a richer, more complex profile, consider demerara or brown sugar, which adds subtle molasses notes. Maple syrup is another excellent choice, lending a smooth, autumnal sweetness that complements the whiskey's warmth. Alternatively, honey can introduce a floral sweetness, though it's thicker and may need more stirring or a bit of water to integrate well. You can choose your favorite flavor to enhance your drinking experience.

How to Make Old Fashioned Cocktail?

Make Old Fashioned Cocktail

Creating an Old Fashioned requires attention to detail and an understanding of how each ingredient contributes to the overall flavor. Here is a detailed instruction:

Ingredients for the Perfect Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey (Or other whiskey you like)
  • 1 sugar cube (or 1/2 tsp loose sugar)
  • A Few dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Splash of water
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange twist and a cocktail cherry for garnish

Step-by-Step Guide to Making an Old Fashioned

  • Dissolve the Sugar: Place the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Add a few dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of water. Muddle these ingredients together until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
  • Add Whiskey: Pour in the bourbon or rye whiskey. Stir to combine with the sugar mixture.
  • Chill the Drink: Add a few ice cubes to the glass and stir the cocktail until it's chilled. This usually takes about 30 seconds.
  • Garnish: Express the oil of an orange twist over the drink by twisting it over the glass. Rub the twist around the rim of the glass and drop it into the drink. Add a cocktail cherry if desired.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When making an Old Fashioned, avoiding common mistakes can significantly enhance the drink's quality and taste. Here are a few tips:

  • Over-muddling: Avoid muddling the orange slice and cherry with the sugar and bitters. This can release too much fruit juice and pulp, overpowering the whiskey's flavor.
  • Too Much Sugar: Be cautious with the amount of sugar. Too much can make the drink overly sweet, masking the whiskey's nuanced flavors.
  • Wrong Type of Ice: Use large ice cubes or an ice sphere if possible. Smaller ice cubes melt faster, diluting the cocktail too quickly.
  • Over-stirring: While stirring is essential for chilling and dilution, overdoing it can result in a too-diluted cocktail. Stir until the drink is chilled, usually around 30 seconds, and then stop.


In conclusion, the Old Fashioned stands as a timeless cocktail, embodying the essence of classic mixology. By understanding its history, mastering the balance of its ingredients, and following the step-by-step guide, anyone can make a perfect Old Fashioned cocktail. While being mindful of common mistakes, exploring its variations and modern twists using different whiskey and sweeter adds a personal touch to this enduring classic.

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