Old Fashioned Recipe

Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
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This Old Fashioned is a timeless classic cocktail that combines bourbon, sugar, spiced Angostura bitters, and a hint of citrus for a sophisticated and balanced drink. Ready in just 2 minutes, this cocktail is impeccably smooth and perfect for savoring every sip!

Old fashioned cocktail served in a short glass with a large cube ice cube, orange peel and cherry for garnish.

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Why I Love This Classic Cocktail

Growing up, the classic old fashioned was my mom’s drink of choice, and I remember the rich, complex aroma filling the room. Now, it’s my go-to cocktail when I want something sophisticated and refined. This recipe captures those cherished memories in a glass, blending bourbon, bitters, and a hint of citrus perfectly. Here’s why I love this old fashioned recipe:

  • Timeless Classic: A sophisticated and elegant cocktail that never goes out of style.
  • Fancy, But Easy: Ready in just 2 minutes, you don’t need to be a cocktail master to make this impressive and sophisticated drink.
  • Party Of One: This old fashioned recipe is perfect for a single serving. Double or triple it as needed!
  • Aromatic: Angostura bitters, toasty bourbon, and an orange peel give each sip a lovely aroma.

Looking for more simple cocktail recipes? Try my favorite mint mojito, fresh grapefruit paloma, or light and fruity coconut margarita!

Labeled ingredients for old fashioned recipe, from top to bottom: bourbon, angostura bitters, orange peel, sugar, and optional cherries for garnish.

Old Fashioned Ingredients

Sweet bourbon, aromatic bitters, and a tart cherry give this old fashioned cocktail its sophisticated flavor profile. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact ingredient amounts.

  • Granulated Sugar: You can use regular granulated sugar or a single sugar cube to look like a fancy bartender while preparing the cocktail. Feel free to use light brown sugar for a more caramelized flavor.
  • Angostura Bitters: For the most classic taste, use the original angostura bitters. However, I personally love the orange bitters, and some enjoy the cocoa bitters. Try them all to see which makes your favorite old fashioned cocktail.
  • Ice: Old fashioned cocktails are meant to be sipped slowly. Using a large ice cube ensures the ice melts slowly so your cocktail does not become watered down. You can usually find them for sale at the liquor store or make your own with square molds or sphere molds.
  • Bourbon or Rye Whiskey: Use your favorite. The barrel it was kept in will give it a toasty oak or sweet vanilla flavor.
  • Orange Peel: Dried peels work too, but a fresh orange peel adds the most flavor and aromatics.
  • Cherry: Go for a maraschino cherry or fresh cherries, or use fancy cocktail cherries to elevate your cocktail to another level.

What’s The Best Liquor For An Old Fashioned?

Bourbon and rye whiskey are the best types of liquor for old fashioned cocktails. Bourbon is mellow and sweeter, whereas rye whiskey is spicier and has a drier kick to it. When made with bourbon, the drink will have a smooth finish. With whiskey, it’ll feel sharper.

Two old fashioned cocktails garnished with orange peel and cherries next to a bowl of fresh cherries.

How To Make An Old Fashioned Cocktail

A single, large ice cube allows a slow melt, preventing this old fashioned from becoming watered down too quickly. Below is a quick recipe overview, but please scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for full instructions.

  • Muddle: Muddle the sugar and bitters in a short rocks glass to combine the flavors. Add the ice and pour in the bourbon.
  • Garnish and serve: Use your fingers to twist the orange peel over the glass to release the oils, then drop it into the cocktail and add a cherry. Enjoy!
Old fashioned cocktail garnished with a succulent sweet cherry and an orange peel.

Tips & Variations

  • Top shelf: Since the old fashioned is a simple cocktail with just a few ingredients, the quality really matters. Opt for top-shelf bourbon or rye whiskey for the best flavor.
  • Chill the glass: I always like to pre-chill the glass for an extra cold cocktail!
  • More aroma: Rub the rim of the glass with the orange peel, gently squeezing as you move it along, to release its oils and aroma.
  • Change the sweetener: Use dark brown sugar, raw honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar instead of sugar.
  • Don’t shake it: Old fashioned cocktails shouldn’t be shaken because the drink would dilute too much. You only need to stir it for about 20 seconds, giving it just enough time to chill.
  • Make it fruity: Muddle 1-2 slices canned peaches, apricots, fresh blackberries, or pitted cherries with the sugar and bitters for a naturally sweeter and fruity drink.
  • Swap the garnishes: Lemon and grapefruit peels, candied ginger, dehydrated orange slices, and a rosemary sprig can switch things up.
Two glasses of old fashioneds.
Chilled old fashioned with a cherry and an orange peel as garnishes.
5 from 1 vote
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Yield: 1 Cocktail

Old Fashioned Recipe

This classic old fashioned recipe with caramelized bourbon, spiced Angostura bitters, and fruity garnishes is an easy cocktail for one.
Cook Time2 minutes
Total Time2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, or 1 sugar cube
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters, or orange bitters for more orange flavor
  • 1 large ice cube
  • 2 oz Bourbon, or rye whiskey
  • orange peel, for garnish
  • fresh or maraschino cherry on stem, or fancy cocktail cherries, for garnish

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Instructions 

  • In a short rocks glass, add the sugar and Angostura bitters and then muddle together. You can also just stir the two together until the sugar melts.
  • Add a single large ice cube to the glass and pour the Bourbon over the top. Stir for 20 seconds.
  • Twist the fresh orange peel over the top of the glass to release the oils and aromatics, then drop it into the cocktail. You can also rub the rim of the glass with the orange peel, gently squeezing as you move it along.
  • Add a maraschino cherry for garnish, and serve. Cheers!

Notes

Large Ice Cube: I prefer to use a single large ice cube. You can usually find them for sale at the liquor store or make your own with square molds or sphere molds. Old fashioned cocktails are meant to be sipped slowly. Using a large ice cube ensures the ice melts slowly so your cocktail does not become watered down.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cocktail, Calories: 161kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 1mg, Sugar: 4g, Calcium: 0.5mg, Iron: 0.02mg

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5 stars
I love this recipe!! Perfect bourbon cocktail!

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.