Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

How to make the classic old fashioned drink the right way. Bourbon, bitters, simple syrup (sugar cube), and an orange peel.

The old fashioned is a classic cocktail typically made with whiskey, bitters, orange peel, and a muddled sugar cube. I’ve seen a few diluted adaptations—some sweeter than others. Some use a muddled orange wedge and cherries for a much fruitier finish, but I think this is by far the best approach.

Traditionally the Old Fashioned is stirred in a glass and then poured over ice. The sugar, orange and ice will take the burn off the whiskey and bring out the subtle flavors.

How to Make an Old Fashioned

Bourbon, simple syrup, bitters, orange peel. That’s it. I usually use simple syrup in place of a sugar cube since I always have it on hand and it obviously mixes better. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir (never shake).

Strain into a double Old Fashioned glass and squeeze/twist the orange peel over the cocktail to release the oil and flavors from the peel. It’s subtle but makes a massive difference in the final taste and aroma. Serve with a (giant) ice cube if you have on hand (they melt slower) and garnish with the orange peel.


Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x



  • 2 ounces bourbon or rye
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup or 1 sugar cube with a splash of water (muddled)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 orange peel (or lemon)


  1. In a mixing glass or Boston shaker, combine simple syrup, bitters, and bourbon. Fill mixing glass halfway with ice, then stir vigorously about a dozen times.
  2. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over a giant ice cube.
  3. Squeeze orange peel over glass to extract oils, wipe the rim of the glass with the peel and add to the glass.


You can use 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar if you don’t have simple syrup.