How to Make an Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

“Everything dies, baby that’s a fact. But maybe everything that dies someday comes back.”  Although New Jersey musician Bruce Springsteen was referring to his beloved Atlantic City in his famous song of the same name, such a line could also be applied to one of America’s most mythical cocktails—the Old Fashioned.

With a long history and only six simple ingredients, the Old Fashioned has established itself as one of the standards in American mixology. It didn’t take much—just whiskey, a couple dashes of bitters, one sugar cube, a splash of water, an orange wedge and finally the cherry on top. After several different incarnations with Bourbon, Brandy and Gin—the Old Fashioned was given its famous moniker in the 1880’s.

While popular throughout the first half of the 20th century, the Old Fashioned had long faded from popular culture until it was made popular again by AMC’s hit television show, Mad Men. Premiering in the summer of 2007, Mad Men took the world by storm with its depiction of a boozy, womanizing advertising executive in the 1960’s. His name was Don Draper and his favorite drink was the Old Fashioned. And just like that, a long forgotten cocktail that originated during the 19th Century was suddenly a new-wave trend of the millennial era.


  • 1½ oz. Bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Sugar cube
  • Splash of water
  • 1 Orange wedge (optional)
  • 1 Maraschino cherry (optional)

How To:

Like its ingredients, the Old Fashioned is simple to make. It all starts with a traditional “lowball” or “rocks” glass. The first step is to place the sugar cube into the glass and then saturate it by adding bitters and a splash of water. Next, use a muddler or spoon to crush the sugar. Once dissolved, gently swirl the glass around to coat its sides with the sugar and bitters mixture. Add your desired amount of ice and pour over with whiskey. Finally, garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry to cap off this work of art.