Old Fashioned Cocktail

Learn how to make an old fashioned! This simple recipe calls for just 5 ingredients, so you can easily make this classic whiskey cocktail at home.

Old fashioned cocktail

You don’t need to go to a bar or a restaurant to enjoy an old fashioned. Nope, this classic whiskey cocktail is a cinch to make at home! In fact, it’s Jack’s favorite drink, so we always keep old fashioned ingredients on hand. They’re super simple: whiskey (Jack likes rye), Angostura Bitters, a little sugar, ice, and an orange twist for garnish.

The Best Whiskey for an Old Fashioned

Jack’s biggest tip for this old fashioned recipe is to choose a whiskey you love.

The simplicity of a classic old fashioned means that there’s not much to mask the flavor of the liquor. If anything, the bitters and sugar enhance it. For that reason, you’ll want to make this old fashioned recipe with a whiskey whose nuances you want to feature.

  • Rye is Jack’s preference. He likes its dry, spicy finish. His go-to brand is Koval (made locally in Chicago!).
  • bourbon old fashioned will have sweeter notes. We like Bulleit and Woodford Reserve bourbon.

Old fashioned ingredients

Old Fashioned Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this old fashioned recipe:

  • Whiskey – Choose bourbon for a sweeter, oakier cocktail or rye for a drier one.
  • Angostura Bitters – They add notes of clove and cinnamon.
  • Sugar – A traditional old fashioned would use a sugar cube or granulated sugar as a sweetener. Either will work well here, though if we have simple syrup on hand, we often use it instead. That way, we don’t have to worry about dissolving the sugar in the drink.
  • Ice – Instead of using crushed ice or small ice cubes, opt for one large ice cube here. It melts more slowly than smaller ice cubes would, so it doesn’t dilute the cocktail too quickly.
  • And an orange peel – Or whatever garnish you like! You could use an orange slice, lemon peel, or a cocktail cherry instead.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

How to Make An Old Fashioned Cocktail

Once you have your ingredients ready, this old fashioned recipe is a breeze to stir together. Here’s how it goes:

  • First, muddle the sugar and bitters in the bottom of a rocks glass until the sugar dissolves. We love this cocktail muddler! If you want to simplify this step, use simple syrup instead of the sugar.
  • Next, add the whiskey and ice. Stir well to mix the whiskey with the sugar and bitters.
  • Then, let the old fashioned sit for at least 30 seconds. This time allows the whiskey to chill, and it gives the ice a chance to melt a bit, slightly diluting the cocktail. (The most basic definition of an old fashioned—dating back to the 1800s!—is a mixture of spirits, sugar, bitters, and water. We skip the water and let the ice melt a little instead!)
  • Finally, garnish and enjoy! Top off your glass with a twisted orange peel and/or maraschino cherry. Cheers!

Old fashioned recipe

More Classic Cocktail Recipes

If you love this old fashioned recipe, try one of these easy cocktails next:

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Old Fashioned

rate this recipe:
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves 1
Learn how to make an old fashioned! This classic whiskey cocktail recipe is one of our favorites, and it's so simple to make at home.



  • Combine the sugar and bitters in the bottom of a rocks glass. Use a muddler to muddle and dissolve the sugar. Add the whiskey and the ice and stir well. Let the whiskey chill and the ice dilute for 30 seconds.
  • Garnish with a twisted orange peel and serve.

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5 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. CookappliHub

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this wonderfully simple and delicious Old Fashioned cocktail recipe! This classic whiskey-based drink is an absolute staple, and your easy-to-follow steps make it a breeze to recreate at home.

    I appreciate the attention to detail in the whiskey selection and the guidance on using either bourbon or rye, highlighting their unique flavors and how they affect the overall taste profile of the cocktail. The addition of Angostura Bitters, sugar (or simple syrup), and the recommendation of a large ice cube for slower dilution truly elevate the drinking experience.

    Your suggestion for garnishing with an orange peel adds a delightful aromatic touch that complements the drink impeccably. The versatility you offer by mentioning various alternatives for garnishing allows for personal preferences in tailoring this classic cocktail.

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! Cheers to your team for making cocktail crafting so accessible and enjoyable. It’s great to have a foolproof recipe for such a timeless drink.

  2. Sydney

    I think you forgot to mention that as a last step you twist-and-squeeze the orange peel into the drink before dropping it into the Old Fashioned (?). Thanks for posting recipe.

  3. Sabrina from newkitchenlife.com

    lovely, a classic in every way, thank you for this old fashioned it feels like the right time of year for it too, thank you

  4. Brielle

    I LOVE an old fashioned with maple syrup instead of sugar! I think it gives it depth and a lovely unique flavor. Thanks for sharing your take. Always love your recipes!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      We do too actually! 🙂

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.