Old Fashioned Cocktail

An Old Fashioned is a true classic. Made with whiskey, sugar, Angostura bitters, and an orange peel (or cherry) for garnish, it's a cocktail made for whiskey lovers!

classic old fashioned cocktail recipe in a rocks glass
Alison Bickel

What did the trendy cocktail say to the classic cocktail? "I'm glad that you're Old Fashioned." And ... thank you, folks, that's all for tonight!

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 is up there with other cocktail greats like the Manhattan, Negroni, and Sazerac.

It's super simple to make, too, as is appropriate for a cocktail designed to highlight its main ingredient – whiskey!

Video: How to Make Old Fashioned Cocktails


Old Fashioned

The Best Whiskey for an Old Fashioned

The best whiskey for an Old Fashioned is ... the whiskey you like! Many reputable mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts have opined on whether you should use rye or bourbon, but honestly, you can use either. Which do you prefer? There – that's your whiskey for an Old Fashioned!

I like this drink with bourbon. I used Buffalo Trace most recently, but other mid-tier bourbons like Maker's Mark, Bulleit, or Knob Creek would all be excellent choices.

Sugar Cube or Simple Syrup?

Old Fashioned purists say the proper thing to do is to muddle a sugar cube with the bitters (and either a little club soda or water) in the bottom of the rocks glass. Non-purists, like myself, think that's nice but the sugar never seems to fully dissolve this way. Either my muddling skills are weak (quite possible), or there might be another way.

I'm in favor of using simple syrup for an Old Fashioned because it's easy and convenient. Here's how to make it.

Old fashioned cocktail ingredients
Alison Bickel

If You Want to Experiment, Try Different Bitters

Angostura bitters is traditionally used in an Old Fashioned. (Fun fact: Apparently Angostura bitters is kind of like Coca Cola, in that only five people on earth know the recipe, which reportedly consists of over 40 different herbs and spices! That may be true, but I mostly smell nutmeg right off the bat.)

You can't go wrong with Angostura bitters, but if you're making an Old Fashioned in the winter or around the holidays, I recommend using a few dashes of Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters instead. You get way more cinnamon and clove on the nose, like a winter holiday in a bottle.

More Whiskey Cocktails to Enjoy This Winter:

Old Fashioned Cocktail

Prep Time 2 mins
Total Time 2 mins
Serving 1 serving


  • 2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel or Luxardo cherry, for garnish (optional)


  1. Make the drink:

    Add simple syrup and bitters to a rocks glass. Fill the glass with ice, and stir to combine. (My favorite stirrer for a single cocktail? This cake tester!) Add bourbon or rye and stir for about 30 seconds to chill and dilute. Garnish with orange peel or Luxardo cherry, if desired.