Two Classic Old Fashioned Bourbon Whiskey Recipes

Paul never says no to a good Old Fashioned cocktail. He shares his favorite recipes here.


The Old Fashioned is my favorite cocktail. If you have never had an Old Fashioned, the best way to describe it is like a sweet Manhattan. It's mainly whiskey.

References to an "Old Fashioned" cocktail begin in the late 1800s. It was called "old fashioned" because it followed a recipe from the early 1800s, minus various liqueurs (like Curacao and absinthe) that had been added in the mid-1800s. Fruit ingredients like cherries, orange, and lemon began appearing after the late 1800s.

Recipes in This Article

  1. Original Old Fashioned Recipe
  2. My Favorite Old Fashioned Recipe

Original Old Fashioned Recipe


  • 2 ounces bourbon (two shots)
  • 1 cube sugar
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Ice


  1. Place the sugar and bitters in a glass.
  2. Add the water, and muddle (mash) to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Add the bourbon and ice. Stir and serve.

Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

My Favorite Old Fashioned Recipe


  • Maker's Mark bourbon (or other whiskey or scotch)
  • 2 slices orange, 1/4 inch thick, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Soda water (optional)
  • 3 maraschino cherries
  • Ice cubes


  1. In the bottom of an Old Fashioned"glass (a short, broad glass), add the sugar, bitters, one orange slice, and two cherries. Muddle (that is, smash) the fruit, sugar, and bitters together, getting some juice out of the fruit and encouraging the sugar to dissolve.
  2. Place two or three ice cubes in the glass, add a splash of soda water if you want, plop in the third cherry and an orange slice, and add two shots of the liquor, or enough to pretty much fill the glass. Stir and enjoy.


This recipe makes a sweet but very strong Old Fashioned. While many recipes call for one or two ounces of bourbon, making your Old Fashioned this way is likely to use three ounces or more.

Read More About the Old Fashioned


rebekahELLE from Tampa Bay on April 11, 2015:

I was looking on your profile page to see if you had a hub about how to smoke a turkey and found this wonderful hub. I had one of these a few weeks ago and wondered how it was made. Thanks, I'll pass it on. This one looks perfect.

shin_rocka04 from Maryland on March 01, 2013:

Definitely a great and classic cocktail.

Bear on November 21, 2011:

From experience:

1 Sugar Cube

3 dashes of bitters

- Muddle real well and spin glass as you do (hint: a few drops of water helps to completely dissolve the sugar)

3 oz Makers Mark 46

3 Large Ice Cubes

1 thinly sliced orange peel (squeezed or very gently muddled, just enough to extract the oils.) Hint: use a potato peeler for this, you don't want the white biter stuff. Finally, stir gently as to cover the ice cubes with the drink.


Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on September 02, 2011:

I like the fruit. The sweetness is one of my favorites parts of the cocktail.

Tim on September 02, 2011:

Skip the fruit. That was something added by bartenders to mask the taste of cheap hooch. A peel of lemon or orange if you must garnish, but only the peel.

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on October 04, 2008:

Oh please don't ruin a perfectly awesome old fashioned with soda water. I haven't had one of these in a while. I think I'll plan a party for tonight for my pups and I. (my three dogs can have the water, I'll have the rest). I'll look forward to it. Thanks for sharing your recipe

regards Zsuzsy

Wine Making Kits from Asia Zone on October 02, 2008:

I love to cook and thank for sharing your recipe. I will do it :)

desert blondie from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen on October 01, 2008:

My fav old fashioned cocktail is called the Side Car. A family tradition at Thanksgiving in my family....talk about sweet, but a tangy sweet...with good ol' American Bourbon and Cointreau...like gredmondson says, I was taught to stay away from sweet drinks...but the family always had a tray of Side Cars in lovely glasses at Thanksgiving. No cherries though in Side Cars, and I used to love maraschino cherries!

NYLady from White Plains, NY on September 30, 2008:

Fun -- old fashioneds bring me back to when my parents used to have cocktail parties and everyone drank them.

gredmondson from San Francisco, California on September 29, 2008:

My grandfather, who was born in France in 1871, and was a bartender for a short while in Bakersfield before Prohibition, said to stay away from sweet, mixed drinks. You would not realize how much alcohol you had ingested. Bt, you are right, Paul, these are good -- and strong!

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on September 29, 2008:

Old Fashioneds have been known to put people to sleep. No cherries. No problem. There's room for more whiskey.

Jimmy the jock from Scotland on September 29, 2008:

sounds great, now where can I find 3 cherries at this time of night lol? nearly 1 am here in scotland.....jimmy

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