Traditional drinks like the Old Fashioned beautifully marry sweetness, a little sourness, and little bitterness. This drink really lives up to its name, which was said to be coined back in the late 1800s!

Even if you know nothing about cocktails, chances are you’ve at least heard of an Old Fashioned. Made with just four ingredients – whiskey, sugar, Angostura bitters, and an optional (but recommended) orange peel or Luxardo cherry garnish.

The Old Fashioned recipe is perhaps one of the easiest great cocktails there is! It’s almost 100% whiskey, so you’ve got to love the stuff to drink this one.

This classic cocktail is dependably warming, sweet, and comforting.

An old-fashioned is a classic whiskey cocktail with bitters, simple syrup, and fruit. Experts believe the drink is called the “old fashioned” because it’s one of the first widely known cocktails ever. The name comes from people ordering the drink the “old-fashioned way.


These are the ingredients you’ll need to make this top-rated old-fashioned recipe:

  • Water: A teaspoon of water helps bring out the flavor of the bourbon
  • 2 ounces of bourbon or rye whiskey – Of course, you’ll need bourbon! You can use rye whiskey instead if you like.
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup – Use store-bought simple syrup or make your own at home.
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters – Use store-bought bitters or make your own at home.
  • 1 cup ice cubes – Traditional old-fashioned cocktails are served over ice.
  • Orange peel or Luxardo cherry, for garnish – Garnish your old-fashioned with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.


  1. Shake 4 dashes of bitters on 1 sugar cube, then muddle it with ½ teaspoon water. This is the traditional method, though many recipes these days call for simple syrup since it dissolves better. We like the nuanced sweetness of the sugar cube best: it really lets the whiskey shine. Don’t worry if it doesn’t dissolve all the way.
  2. Add 2 ounces of whiskey. Bourbon is sweet with hints of vanilla and oak, or use rye whiskey which has a spicier finish.
  3. Stir gently until the level of the ice and liquid equalize.
  4. Add ice, orange peel, and optional cherry. Add a large ice cube and an orange peel, making sure to squeeze it over the drink to release the oils. If desired, add a cocktail cherry. A bit more about that ice…
  5. Garnish and serve: Garnish with lime slices and mint sprig. Enjoy! Firmly slap the mint sprig on the back of your hand before garnishing; this releases the oils to make the mint more aromatic.


The best bourbon for an Old Fashioned is a highly personal decision; Bulleit is a safe choice for bourbon or rye, while Four Roses have a pleasant caramel edge for cocktail newcomers.

Manhattan v/s. Old Fashioned

Manhattans and old-fashioned are popular whiskey-based cocktails. They have a lot in common, but there are a few key differences.

  • An old-fashioned is sweetened with sugar or simple syrup. Manhattan’s sweetness comes from the vermouth.
  • An old-fashioned is served in a lowball glass, but a Manhattan is served in a stemmed martini glass.
  • An old-fashioned is garnished with an orange peel, while a Manhattan is garnished with a brandied cherry.