Skip to main content

Old Fashioned cocktail

Taken from Adrienne Stillman's book of over 610 cocktail recipes, the Old Fashioned is a timeless cocktail for any occasion.

“A stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” This is both the earliest written reference to the word “cocktail” in 1806, and a definition of the Old Fashioned. In fact, “old-fashioned” used to be an adjective describing an entire class of cocktails that followed this simple combination with all sorts of spirits including genever and brandy. Theories as to the origins of the Old Fashioned abound, but according to cocktail writer Robert Simonson, author of a book on the topic, it most likely originated near Chicago, close to America’s bourbon country.


A recipe from Spirited: Cocktails From Around The World by Adrienne Stillman (Phaidon). Buy the book here.

Read More
Image may contain Glass Goblet Drink Alcohol Beverage Wine Wine Glass and Lamp



2 oz (60 ml) bourbon or rye
1/4 oz (7 ml) Rich Simple Syrup (p. 24)
2–3 dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon and orange twists, to garnish

Combine all the ingredients in a rocks glass. Add one large ice cube and stir for 10 seconds. Garnish with lemon and orange twists.

Use any other whiskey or aged spirit, such as rum, brandy, apple brandy, or genever instead of bourbon. You can also split the base and use 1 oz (30 ml) each of different spirits.
Instead of Simple Syrup, use a white sugar cube, saturate it with the bitters, and muddle before adding the whiskey and ice. In place of a sugar cube, you can also use Demerara Syrup, Honey Syrup, Gomme Syrup, or maple syrup.
Add 1/2–1 1/2 tsp amaro or your liqueur of choice.
Use orange, allspice (pimento), or any other complementary flavored bitters, such as fig, chocolate, or even lemon.