Seriously Good Old Fashioned

How to make the old fashioned cocktail at home. With just three main ingredients, it’s easy to make and there are plenty of ways to add your own twist. In our recipe below, we share how to make a basic Old Fashioned, as well as our favorite ways to change it up. Switch to the old-fashioned cocktail recipe

seriously well dated

How to make an old-fashioned cocktail

Cocktails at home should be fun and never stressful, so we won’t bore you with all the do’s and don’ts when it comes to making the Old Fashioned. Instead, I’ll show you how we do it when we’re in the mood for a cocktail at home, plus a few twists for fun!

old fashioned cocktail

The alcohol

Bourbon or Rye Whiskey is more commonly referred to as Old Fashioned. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other options. Gin, brandy, and rum work very, very well. We particularly like swapping the whiskey for a dark aged rum. In fact, if you walk into a bar and see us drinking Old Fashioned, you would most likely see me with rye and Adam with aged rum.

Whatever we do, we stick to the mid-range bottles. For bourbon and rye, we really like Four Rose, mostly because of its affordable price. Bulleit is also a popular option. We have his 10 year old rye in our bar right now.

If you fancy trying something special, our friends trust Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. There are, of course, many more options when it comes to whiskey. So if you have a favorite, share it in the comments below.

You May Also Like: How to Make a Classic Bourbon Manhattan You only need three main ingredients to make a classic bourbon Manhattan cocktail recipe at home.

The sugar

Stick to plain syrup. You can definitely use superfine sugar (many people do), but remember that the sugar needs to dissolve completely or you’ll end up with a sugar-free drink and sugary buildup at the bottom of your glass.

Simple syrup is ridiculously easy to make and how long does it keep in the fridgeYou can make a large batch and refer to it every time you want to make a cocktail.

Plain brown sugar syrup

You can also play around with plain syrup a bit. Replacing white sugar with brown sugar results in a rich, almost caramelized syrup that works well in traditional cocktails. Honey or maple syrup is also a good idea.

Bitter, orange and cherries

Add two to three pinches of bitters. Our stand-by are Angostura bitters, but a look in a well-stocked store or online shows that there is plenty to experience.

The amount of fruit added to an Old Fashioned will vary depending on who is making it. We’ve seen everything from several slices of orange and a bunch of cherries mixed together and then served by the glass, to a fruitless Old Fashioned.

For an old fashion, peel an orange

We like somewhere in between. A 2 inch piece of orange or blood orange zest and a cherry (or two for me) and we’re happy.

If we are in the mood for fighters, we opt for a touch of fiery orange. To do this, take a coin-sized slice of orange peel (with a good portion of the white skin intact to make it easier to squeeze), squeeze it between your fingers and light a match or candle next to it (careful). .

The oils will spark and ignite. Doing all of this near or on the glass will waft a toasted orange flavor through the drink. We don’t add flamed skin to the drink, but rubbing the flamed skin around the rim of the glass is a nice touch. (Check out our video above to see it in action)

The taste and aroma of the drink really changes and while we don’t do it all the time, it’s fun to see the difference.

Have fun with ice cream

Since we’ve been making old-fashioned cocktails at home, Adam has dozed off and delved into the hows and whys of big, clear ice cubes. None of this is required for your cocktail, but since we used two of your ice cream scoops in our photo, and since we already share a love of the Old Fashioned, I thought I’d give it a try. We learnt.

I’m sure you’ve seen several large ice cube molds like this spherical one (we have). The problem is that if you just add water and freeze, you’ll end up with cloudy ice cream. Worse, if you use the sphere shape, the water freezes in such a way that when you add the sphere to your drink, there’s a good chance it will break into pieces.

All of this is important because cloudier ice cubes are less dense, so melt much faster and break more easily than lighter ice cubes. In other words, The clearer the ice cubes are, the less dilution your cocktail has to withstand. And as a bonus, clear ice looks cooler.

transparent ice cubes for cocktails

How do you make clear ice cubes? There are many gadgets that you can buy online. We have chosen the DIY and most economical way. After some research we found this tutorial on how to make clear ice cream balls using an insulating cup.

We use our tap water as we have found that it freezes quite significantly using this method. The tap water in the last house we owned didn’t produce clear cubes, so we figured it would be better to use filtered or boiled water.

Here are the steps to do it (or watch how we do it at the end of the video above):

  1. Place a small container in an insulated mug. We used a small Rubbermaid container and a cheap mug we found online.
  2. Fill the cup with water so that the waterline is above the small container in the cup.
  3. Take a spherical plastic mold. Remove the plug provided (this plug would plug the hole used to fill the mold).
  4. Fill the mold with water.
  5. Cover the hole with your finger to prevent air from getting into the mold. Turn it over so the hole is facing down, then carefully place the mold in the cup of water. Do not remove your finger until the hole is completely submerged in water.
  6. Hold the ball and pour the excess water into the cup so that the waterline is level with the small plastic container in the cup. You can also use a straw for this step. Just suck up the water until the water is at the right level.
  7. Place the cup with the mold in the freezer and don’t move it until it’s completely frozen.
Make clear ice cubes

In the photo above, Adam is holding the clear scoop of ice cream on the left and a scoop of ice cream made by simply filling the mold and freezing on the right. While the ice isn’t 100% transparent, it’s a lot better than cloudy (and cracked) balls of ice. It also seemed to melt less quickly. It’s actually one of the ice cream scoops featured in our old-school photo below.

Updated recipe originally posted May 2015. Since posting in 2015 we have changed the recipe to make it clearer and added a short recipe video. – Adam and Joanne

seriously well dated

With just three main ingredients, it’s easy to make and there are plenty of ways to add your own twist. Bourbon or Rye Whiskey is mostly used. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other options. Gin, brandy, and rum work very well. We particularly like swapping the whiskey for a dark aged rum.

Makes 1 drink

Watch us at the recipe

will need

1 to 2 teaspoons plain syrup, see our tips for making plain syrup

3 dashes of bitters, Angostura is excellent and readily available

2 ounces medium bourbon or rye whiskey

2-inch piece of orange zest, optional

1 to 2 maraschino cherries, optional


    Pour plain syrup, bitters and whiskey into an Old Fashioned glass, stir well, then add 1 or 2 large ice cubes. Stir 2-3 times to cool, then garnish with orange zest and cherry.

Advice from Adam and Joanne

  • We’re sticking with simple syrup instead of using sugar cubes or superfine sugar. Simple syrup, as the name suggests, is very easy to make and will keep in the fridge for a month. To do this, mix equal parts sugar (white or brown) and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Cool then store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.
  • Add water: Some people add a splash of sparkling mineral water or plain water to their traditional cocktails. We don’t because the ice (even if it’s clear) will eventually melt a little and dilute the cocktail anyway. We recommend tasting the drink before adding water and going from there.
  • Nutritional Information: The nutritional information below is an estimate. We use the USDA Supertracker Recipe Calculator to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, take a picture and use the hashtag #inspiredtaste. We love seeing your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutritional value per serving: calories 166 / protein 0g / carbohydrates 7g / fiber 0g / total sugar 6g / total fat 0g / Saturated Fatty Acids 0g / cholesterol 0 mg

AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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