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The Timeless Elegance of the Old Fashioned Cocktail

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The Old Fashioned cocktail is a timeless classic that exudes sophistication and simplicity. Its origins can be traced back to the early 19th century, making it one of the oldest known cocktails. This iconic drink has remained virtually unchanged for over a century, a testament to its enduring appeal. In this section, we’ll delve into the rich history of the Old Fashioned and guide you through preparing the perfect Old Fashioned cocktail at home.

Historical Context: The Old Fashioned’s history is as fascinating as its taste. It was first known as the “whiskey cocktail” and emerged in the early 1800s. Back then, cocktails were relatively uncomplicated, consisting of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. As cocktail culture evolved, bartenders began adding fruit and other embellishments to their concoctions.

The term “Old Fashioned” is believed to have originated in the late 19th century when bartenders started using the phrase to describe the original, unadulterated style of cocktail. This was a nod to the simpler, more traditional method of mixing a drink, in contrast to the emerging trend of elaborate garnishes and syrups.


1. Gather Your Ingredients and Utensils

  • Ensure you have all the necessary ingredients and utensils at hand. A well-prepared workspace is key to making a great Old Fashioned.

2. Prepare Your Glass:

  • Place the sugar cube (or simple syrup) into the bottom of a rocks glass.
  • Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters directly onto the sugar cube.
  • If using a sugar cube, add a few drops of water to help dissolve it. Use the back of a bar spoon to gently muddle and mix the sugar and bitters until they form a paste.

3. Add Ice and Whiskey:

  • Fill the rocks glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour 2 ounces (60 ml) of your chosen bourbon or rye whiskey over the ice. Stir gently to combine the ingredients.

4. Express the Orange Peel:

  • Take a strip of orange peel (about 2 inches long), and hold it over the glass.
  • Using a vegetable peeler or citrus zester, express the oils from the orange peel onto the surface of the cocktail. The oils will release a burst of aroma.

5. Garnish and Serve:

  • Drop the orange peel into the glass, letting it float on top.
  • If desired, add a maraschino cherry as a garnish.
  • Serve your Old Fashioned cocktail with a stirring rod or bar spoon.


prep time
5 minutes.
cooking time
0 minutes.
total time
5 minutes.


  • Rocks glass

  • Mixing glass

  • Bar spoon

  • Jigger or shot glass

  • Vegetable peeler or citrus zester

  • Ice cube tray


  • 2 oz (60 ml) bourbon or rye whiskey

  • 1 sugar cube or 1/2 oz (15 ml) simple syrup

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  • Orange peel

  • Ice cubes

  • A maraschino cherry (optional)

  • A few drops of water (if using a sugar cube)


Gather ingredients and utensils.
Prepare the glass.
Add ice and whiskey.
Express orange peel, garnish, and serve.
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