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How to Make an Old Fashioned


The Old Fashioned is the whole group of alcoholic beverages (cocktails, to be precise) which include the mixture of bitter, sugar and strong alcohol (gin, whiskey or brandy). An Old fashioned is usually served in the special glass with plain straight walls and thick bottom (rocks glass). Traditionally it is decorated with the spiral lemon peel on the side of the glass. It is supposed that an Old Fashioned was the first drink to be called a cocktail.

For the first time the name “Old Fashioned” was applied to a cocktail containing Bourbon in 1880 in the Gentleman Club Pendennis, Kentucky. It is supposed that the original recipe of the Old Fashioned was invented by the barman who used to work in that club. One of the members of this club named James E. Pepper who was a colonel is said to maintain the popularity of this cocktail. He had brought this cocktail to Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York city.


Prepare the glass and the ingredients

At first you need to chill a special glass for an Old Fashioned. The glass has the same name or it is also called rocks glass. This kind of glasses is characterized with the plain straight and smooth walls and the thick bottom. In the case your guests wouldn't like their cocktail cold you may skip this step. The Old Fashioned doesn't require any ice for being cooled down as in that case the beverage will be diluted and lose its taste blend. The chilled glass will let the beverage stay cool while your guests will be sipping it slowly. It is recommended to hold the glass closer to its thick bottom as in that case the glass won't be warmed by your palm and fingers.


Put the small amount of sugar into the glass. You may take the crystallized sugar but still it is recommended to add a piece of the brown cane sugar. In the case you use the white crystallized sugar you need to make sure that its has been completely dissolved in a teaspoon of cool water. The matter is that alcohol doesn't dissolve the white crystallized sugar. In the case the sugar isn't dissolved the beverage won't get the necessary sweetness. All you will get is just the curdy precipitate on the bottom of the glass.


Add a teaspoon of the cool water in order just to dissolve sugar. It is recommended to take the crystal clean spring water. That will improve the taste of the cocktail significantly.


You will need just a couple of drops. Though the word “bitter” may be misleading and the people sometimes suppose that bitter taste is not necessary to be present in a cocktail. However the aromatic bitters blend the tastes of whiskey and sugar perfectly and create the unique and easily recognizable taste of Old Fashioned.

Mix but not shake

Take the special cocktail spoon and mix the Old Fashioned. Shaking will destroy its structure and spoil the taste.


  • Don't shake your Old Fashioned. All you need to do is just to mix it.
  • Don't add any ice otherwise the cocktail will be diluted and the taste will get too vague.
  • Don't throw the sugar into alcohol. You need to dissolve it with water at first.



Old Fashioned was the favorite cocktail of the President of the United States Harry Truman and his wife Bess. Today it still remains one of the most popular cocktails in the world. Old Fashioned isn't less popular than Margarita or Pina Colada. Try it to appreciate its rich taste and aroma. You won't stay indifferent.

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