Adrian Drew - Oct 12, 2018

How to Make the Perfect Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is renowned for being a classic, timeless drink enjoyed by many. The first appearance of such a drink occurred as far back as 1806, detailed in The Balance and Columbian Repository, where it was referred to as ‘a drink consisting of spirits, bitters, water and sugar’.

As for the name Old Fashioned, that wasn’t coined until 1881 when a drink was made using bourbon, bitters, club sodas, muddled sugar and ice - a beverage to honor Colonel James E. Pepper, a renowned bourbon distiller.

The good Old Fashioned has certainly earned its title. Here’s how to make it - the right way.

Old Fashioned Ingredients

Bourbon: Bourbon whiskey is the star of the show when it comes to making an old fashioned, standing out tall amongst the other ingredients with its strong aroma and powerful taste. For that reason, it’s important that you select a quality bourbon. Bulleit, Four Roses and 1972 (particularly relevant) are all relatively affordable, great-tasting options.

Sugar: I recommend making your Old Fashioned with a simple syrup rather than granulated sugar. Simple syrup blends better with the liquids in the drink, whereas sugar cubes must be muddled and stirred until they dissolve. Simple syrups make for an easier, smarter choice.

Bitters: Bitters - small, alcoholic tinctures blended with selected herbs and botanical matter are the bread and butter of every good cocktail. Bitters help to bind ingredients, bring out flavours and add depth to a drink. When making an Old Fashioned, use Angostura bitters

Making an Old Fashioned


  • 2 ounces of bourbon whiskey
  • ¼ ounce of simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ice
  • Orange peel


  • Mix: Add the bourbon, syrup and bitter to a mixing glass, stirring with ice for 15-20 seconds.
  • Strain: Strain the cocktail into a glass over one large ice cube.
  • Garnish: Pare an orange peel and rub it around the rim of the glass for flavour before adding to your drink.



Written by Adrian Drew

Self-help blogger and freelance writer. Personal development writer and founder and editor of Mind Cafe (, a Medium publication.