Old Fashioned Cocktail

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


Watch How to Make an 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

The Best Bitters for an Old Fashioned

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

Old Fashioned Cocktail

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 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. Combine the simply syrup and bitters:

    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!)

  2. Add whiskey, stir, and garnish:

    Add the bourbon or rye and stir for about 30 seconds to chill and dilute. Garnish with orange peel or Luxardo cherry, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
16 Calories
0g Fat
3g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 16
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 0mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 0mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.