A Well-Stocked Bar: The Old Fashioned


Despite the fact that its name is the Old Fashioned, there is nothing out of date or boring about this famous cocktail. If you’re looking to learn how to make staple drinks, the Old Fashioned is the epitome of classic, and should be high up on your list for that very reason. For those of us who have previously tried this concoction, it’s no secret why it has stuck around for so long.

The History of the Old Fashioned

To put it simply, the Old Fashioned was the original cocktail. The first documented definition of the cocktail occurred in 1806, and it was defined as being a mixture of spirits, water, sugar, and bitters. Others have also amended this definition by saying that a cocktail always includes a garnish as well.

Once the original recipe for the cocktail became popular and appeared in vogue, it was given the name “Old Fashioned”. Old Fashioneds were almost always made with whiskey, and they first appeared at a gentlemen’s club in Kentucky. A bartender at this club created the drink in honor of a well-known bourbon distiller named Colonel James E. Pepper. He eventually brought it to the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, which served to make it even more popular than it already was.

Here’s how you can make your own Old Fashioneds at home.

The Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe


  •      4.5 cl bourbon or rye whiskey
  •      2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  •      1 sugar cube
  •      A few dashes of regular water
  •      Orange slice
  •      Cocktail cherry

To prepare, first place the sugar cube in the bottom of the drink glass. Add bitters and a dash of water, and wait until sugar is dissolved. Then, fill the glass with ice, and add the whiskey. Garnish with the orange slice and cherry, and you’re all set!


Although whiskey is almost always used in the Old Fashioned, some variations have evolved over the years. For instance, in Wisconsin, brandy is commonly used in place of whiskey. This is, naturally, referred to as a Brandy Old Fashioned.

Other small changes are also often made, such as using gin in place of whiskey, and adding soda water in place of regular water. Additionally, in modern times, bartenders are starting to use sugar syrup rather than a sugar cube. This prevents drinkers from swallowing undissolved sugar in their last sip, which I frankly think we should all take a moment to be thankful for.


Make sure to let us know about your Old Fashioned experiences in the comments below!

About the author

Brooke Demchuk

Brooke is a freelance writer and full time student who specializes in coffee consumption and the art of procrastination. She sat down to figure out a life plan one day, but instead decided that she'd do that sometime later. When she's not in her college's library or hiding behind her laptop at hipster coffee shops, she enjoys ruining DIY Pinterest projects, looking at photos of French Bulldogs, and getting lost in downtown Washington, DC.

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