3 Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipes

By Ellie Smith

1 month ago

Here's how to make the classic whiskey drink

If you’re a whiskey lover, you’ll no doubt be well-acquainted with an Old Fashioned, which is up there with some of the cocktail greats. The original version is a blend of just whiskey, sugar and Angostura Bitters, so it’s super simple to make – but can be jazzed up in lots of ways too. Keen to become a connoisseur in the classic cocktail? Read on: here we answer all your questions about the beloved whiskey tipple, plus share a selection of tried and tested Old Fashioned recipes.

Old Fashioned Cocktail: History & How To Make It

What Was In The Original Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned is one of the oldest cocktails in the book. It’s thought the drink dates back to the 1800s – although back then it was simply known as a whiskey cocktail, made in the classic formula: spirit, sugar, water and bitters. Fun fact: apparently people used to drink it first thing in the morning as a hangover cure!

By the 1870s, as new ingredients and liqueurs were becoming available, bartenders began experimenting with different twists on the cocktail – throwing things like absinthe and curacao into the mix. However, some people weren’t so keen on these ‘improved’ versions and would request an ‘old fashioned whisky cocktail’, which is where the name came from.

The first written Old Fashioned recipe was printed in 1895 in Modern American Drinks by George Kappeler. It reads: ‘Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece of ice, a piece of lemon-peel, one jigger whiskey. Mix with small bar-spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass.’

Bartender pouring Old Fashioned

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What Is The Best Whiskey To Make An Old Fashioned With?

There are no bells and whistles in an Old Fashioned, so using a high-quality whiskey is crucial as the taste shines through. Although some traditionalists insist the cocktail should be made with rye, it can actually be made using any type of whiskey – ultimately, it’s down to personal preference. Bourbon will give the drink a more mellow, slightly sweeter taste, while rye gives a spicier result.

Which Glass Should It Be Served In?

Traditionally, an Old Fashioned is served in a lowball glass, also known as a rocks glass: a short tumbler also used for serving spirits neat.

3 Old Fashioned Recipes

Buffalo Trace Old Fashioned


  • 50ml Buffalo Trace
  • 1 sugar cube
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Ice
  • Orange


  1. Put the sugar cube and dashes of bitters in a rocks glass.
  2. Crush the sugar and add 25ml of Buffalo Trace and five cubes of ice.
  3. Stir for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the rest of the Buffalo Trace and five more ice cubes.
  5. Stir for another 45 seconds.
  6. Garnish with orange peel.

Recipe from Buffalo Trace

Classic Old Fashioned


  • 2 x measures bourbon whisky
  • 3 x dashed angostura bitters
  • 1 x measure sugar syrup
  • 1 x handful Polar Cube ice
  • Orange zest twist and cherry for garnishing


  1. Add two ice cubes to a glass and pour in one measure of bourbon. Stir.
  2. Add the sugar syrup, angostura bitters and the rest of the ice cubes and stir well.
  3. Garnish with orange zest twist, cherry and serve.

Recipe from The Ice Co.

Wild Turkey Old Fashioned


  • 50ml Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
  • 10ml simple syrup
  • 2 dashes bitters


  1. Add Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon and syrup to a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add two dashes of bitters and stir together. 
  3. Pour over ice into a rocks glass and garnish with orange peel. 

Recipe from Wild Turkey