How to Make an Old Fashioned Cocktail

Understanding the History of the Old Fashioned

Before learning how to make an Old Fashioned, it’s important to understand its history. The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that dates back to the 1800s, where it was originally referred to as a “whiskey cocktail.” It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the term “Old Fashioned” began to be used to describe the cocktail.

The original recipe for the Old Fashioned called for a sugar cube to be muddled with bitters and water, before adding whiskey and ice. As the cocktail grew in popularity, it evolved to include garnishes such as citrus and cherries.

Today, the Old Fashioned remains a beloved classic cocktail and is often served as a symbol of refinement and sophistication. Understanding its history can help you appreciate its flavors and learn how to make a truly authentic Old Fashioned.

Gathering the Necessary Ingredients and Tools

To make an Old Fashioned cocktail, you’ll need a few key ingredients and tools. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 2 oz whiskey (bourbon or rye)
  • 1 sugar cube (or 1/4 oz simple syrup)
  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 maraschino cherry (optional)
  • Ice


  • Mixing glass or cocktail shaker
  • Muddler or spoon
  • Jigger
  • Strainer
  • Old Fashioned glass

Make sure you have all of these ingredients and tools on hand before you begin. The quality of your ingredients will directly affect the taste of your cocktail, so choose high-quality whiskey and fresh citrus for the best results.

Preparing the Glass and Muddling the Ingredients

Once you have all of your ingredients and tools ready, it’s time to prepare your glass and muddle your ingredients. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Place the sugar cube (or simple syrup) in the bottom of your Old Fashioned glass.
  2. Add 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters to the glass.
  3. Using a muddler or spoon, muddle the sugar and bitters together until they’re well combined.
  4. Add a large ice cube to the glass (or several smaller ice cubes).
  5. Take the orange peel and run it around the rim of the glass to release its oils, then add it to the glass.
  6. If desired, add a maraschino cherry to the glass.

By muddling the sugar and bitters together, you create a flavorful base for your cocktail. The addition of the orange peel and cherry add depth and complexity to the drink. Be sure to muddle gently, as over-muddling can result in a bitter drink.

Adding Ice and Pouring the Whiskey

With your glass and ingredients prepared, it’s time to add ice and pour your whiskey. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill your Old Fashioned glass with ice, leaving about a finger’s width of space at the top.
  2. Measure out 2 ounces of whiskey using a jigger and pour it over the ice.
  3. Using a spoon or cocktail stirrer, gently stir the whiskey and ice together for about 20-30 seconds.

Adding ice and whiskey cools the drink down and dilutes it slightly, making it easier to drink. Stirring the whiskey and ice together ensures that the flavors are evenly distributed throughout the cocktail. If you prefer a stronger drink, you can add less ice or more whiskey.

Garnishing and Serving the Perfect Old Fashioned

The final step in making the perfect Old Fashioned cocktail is to add a garnish and serve it. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Take the orange peel that you used earlier and twist it over the top of the drink to release its oils. Rub the peel around the rim of the glass and then drop it into the drink.
  2. If you added a cherry, drop it into the drink as well.
  3. Give the drink a final gentle stir.
  4. Serve the Old Fashioned immediately and enjoy!

The garnish adds an extra layer of flavor and aroma to the cocktail, making it more visually appealing as well. It’s important to serve the Old Fashioned right away, as the ice will continue to melt and dilute the drink over time. Sipping a perfectly balanced Old Fashioned is a true pleasure, and one that you can now enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

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