Old Fashioned

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Old Fashioned

A cocktail made by muddling sugar with bitters, then adding whisky or brandy, and a twist of citrus rind. It is traditionally served in a short, round, tumbler-like glass, which is called an Old Fashioned glass, named after the drink.


The first use of the name “Old Fashioned” for a Bourbon whisky cocktail was said to have been at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club founded in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipe was said to have been invented by a bartender at that club in honour of Colonel James E. Pepper, a prominent bourbon distiller, who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City.

With its history rooted in the city’s history, in 2015 the city of Louisville named the Old Fashioned as its official cocktail. Each year, during the first two weeks of June, Louisville celebrates “Old Fashioned Fortnight” which encompasses bourbon events, cocktail specials and National Bourbon Day which is always celebrated on June 14.

Common garnishes for an Old Fashioned include an orange slice or a maraschino cherry or both, although these modifications came around 1930, some time after the original recipe was invented.

How to make one yourself

Here’s the classic recipe for you to try...

50 ml of Whisky or Bourbon
1 cube or teaspoon of sugar (demerara works best)
2-3 dashes of angostura bitters
1 slice of orange (optional)
1 twist of orange peel to garnish

1. Place the sugar and bitters into a tumbler glass (chilled) and muddle together until mixed, feel free to add a dash of water to help it mix.
2. Once mixed add some of the whisky and a few ice cubes and stir for 15-20 seconds to bring the alcohol down to a good temperate and to start the ice melting. Keep adding a little more whisky, then a little more ice, and continue to stir. You might want to sip a little as you go and stop stirring when you feel it’s diluted to your tastes.
3. Garnish with a twist of orange peel (twist the peel over the glass so the peel expresses its oils)
4. Enjoy!