The Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe: A Simple Bourbon Cocktail

The Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe: A Simple Bourbon Cocktail
The key is the orange peel: you need a hefty chunk of it, it needs to be as pith-free as possible, and you need to muddle the heck out of it to really get those essential oils out and into the drink.

This is the drink that many people “test” a new bar or bartender with, but it’s also very easy to make home. It’s a deceptively simple classic, featuring a few basic ingredients and producing one of the most perfect cocktails on the planet when made correctly. The key is the orange peel: you need a hefty chunk of it, it needs to be as pith-free as possible, and you need to muddle the heck out of it to really get those essential oils out and into the drink. In my opinion: if your Old Fashioned isn’t cloudy, you haven’t muddled enough.

You can make this drink with sugar instead of simple syrup, but you’ll have to muddle and stir for a really long time to get the sugar fully dissolved. If you do that, cut the sugar to one teaspoon (or one cube).

Some people like a splash of water or seltzer in their Old Fashioned. I’m not one of those people, but if that’s your thing, go for it. There’s also a whole school of thought that an Old Fashioned should have muddled fruit in it (typically orange slices and maraschino cherries). I’m not a fan of this variant at all – I think the fruit overshadows the simple, beautiful interaction of the whiskey and the bitters – but it’s apparently very popular in some regions. The key, as always, is to drink what you like.

This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.

The Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

A simple bourbon classic cocktail
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1 Drink

Equipment

  • Muddler
  • Bar spoon
  • Rocks glass

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Muddle orange peel, bitters, and simple syrup in a rocks glass. Add bourbon and ice, stir, and serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Christopher Buecheler

Christopher Buecheler is a novelist, a web developer, an award-winning amateur mixologist, a brewer, a guitarist, a drummer, and an NBA enthusiast. He lives a semi-nomadic life with his wife and two cats, currently residing in Providence, RI. You can learn more at his website, cwbuecheler.com.