Friday Happy Hour: The Old Fashioned

This week we’re all about a classic cocktail.  The Old Fashioned is, as the name suggests, an old fashioned drink.  It’s pretty much the oldest cocktail around, one of the most simple cocktail recipes – and one of the best.  This is my version of the Old Fashioned, and here’s why I love it: this creates a layered drink that starts out bracingly crisp from the bitters, gets warmer and spicier as you make your way through the rye, and finishes with sweetness and spice and fruit.  It’s delicious and refreshing, simple and classic.

Read below for the full recipe!

The Old Fashioned

2 oz Whiskey, Brandy, or Jenever (we used rye whiskey)
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Dash Water
Cherry and Slice of Orange for Garnish


In an Old Fashioned glass (it’s telling that it gets its own glass), muddle the syrup, a thin orange slice, and a cherry.  Add your spirit of choice – I’m partial to rye whiskey, which gives this drink a nice spiciness.  Add a good dose of ice and then top with the water and bitters.  Give it a gentle stir to chill it a bit and enjoy.

This is not the most authentic Old Fashioned.  The first, oldest cocktails from the turn of the 19th Century were made with just spirits, bitters, sugar, and water – all you need for a true cocktail.  Ice probably didn’t even make its appearance in cocktails until the 1830s.  But authenticity isn’t all its cracked up to be.  You can reproduce a 200+ year old cocktail, or you can make your own version.

Where did the Old Fashioned get its name?  The best guess is this: when drinkers in the 90s – the 1890s – got tired of all the fancy, complicated, modern cocktails and just wanted something simple, they asked their bartenders for an old fashioned cocktail, the sort of thing that Americans would have been drinking in 1850.  In other words, this drink has staying power.

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

  1. I’ve been going through your posts and I really love what you have here! I’m pinning your Cocktail Friday posts, I really love it!

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