Old Fashioned

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Old Fashioned

A popular cocktail.


  • 2 Ounces rye whiskey or bourbon
  • Splash of simple syrup or 1 cube sugar and just enough water to dissolve it
  • 2 dashes bitters


Place sugar (or syrup), bitters, and water in old-fashioned glass. Crush sugar if needed and coat glass. Add 2-3 cubes ice and whiskey. Garnish with a twist


Most modern recipes top off an Old Fashioned cocktail with soda water, thus making it a highball. Purists decry this practice, and insist that soda water is never permitted in a true Old Fashioned cocktail.

Many bartenders add fruit, typically an orange slice, and muddle it with the sugar before adding the whiskey. This practice likely began during Prohibition as a means of covering the taste of poor alcohol. As such it is now unnecessary and produces a vastly different beverage worthy of a different name.

An 1895 recipe specifies the following:

Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece ice, a piece lemon peel, one jigger whiskey. Mix with small bar spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass.

[Renewing an Old Fashion] discusses the history of this cocktail in detail, specifically focusing on the issue of whether to add soda water to the cocktail or not.

See also: List of cocktails