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The Old-Fashioned

The aptly-named Old-Fashioned is one of the earliest classic cocktails, with at least one written recipe dating back to 1895. In fact, this drink is such a standby that it gave its name to the type of glass it’s traditionally served in (the ten ounce “old fashioned”).

It mixes the flavor of bourbon (or rye, or scotch) with bitter, sweet and sour. The Old-Fashioned is like the grown-up version of the Whiskey Sour.

As is typical with cocktails that have been around for years, there’s more than one Old-Fashioned recipe. The official recipe calls for a dash of soda water, but purists claim soda water has no place in a true Old-Fashioned. I’ll include the soda water as an optional ingredient in this recipe.

Old Fashioned Cocktail on table

The original recipe called for you to dissolve a sugar cube in the bottom of the glass. Simple syrup will actually work better, and you’d use about a tablespoon of it if you want to make that substitution. But part of the charm of this drink is the way you make it, and the sugar cube is central to that.

Old-Fashioned Drink Recipe
Yield: 1 drink

Old-Fashioned Drink Recipe

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

The Old-Fashioned cocktail recipe blends rye (or bourbon or scotch) with sugar and bitters. Those last two ingredients mellow the flavor of the rye slightly, but its flavor will still dominate.



  1. Drop the sugar cube into the bottom of a ten ounce old-fashioned glass.
  2. Pour 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters over it, and a dash of water - just enough to dissolve the sugar cube.
  3. Muddle the sugar and bitters together with the back of a spoon until it's a paste.
  4. Pour in the bourbon, rye or scotch, leaving enough room to drop in a couple of ice cubes.
  5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and orange round.
  6. Stir and serve.

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