Make your own bar-worthy cocktail at home with the BEST Old Fashioned drink recipe! This classic whiskey cocktail - made with your favorite whiskey, simple syrup, bitters and an orange peel - never fails to impress.
If you’re a whiskey lover, chances are you enjoy an old fashioned from time to time. It’s a drink that was created to highlight the flavor of whiskey.
The thing about old fashioneds is EVERYONE has their own “perfect” recipe. For a 3-4 ingredient drink, there are definitely a LOT of opinions about how to make it and what to put in it:
- Sugar or simple syrup?
- Orange or cherry?
- Rye whiskey or bourbon?
After much experimentation, this version is my Best Old Fashioned recipe. What it might lack in authenticity (at least according to purists), it more than makes up for in flavor.
And isn’t that why you drink an old fashioned, anyway?
Because there are only four ingredients in this drink, make sure you're using the best you can:
- Your favorite whiskey (I used rye whiskey but feel free to use bourbon if that’s what you prefer or have on hand.)
- Simple syrup
- Angostura bitters
- Orange peel
Spoiler alert: I’m a fan of stirring versus shaking my old fashioned as it gives me a little more control over the dilution of the drink.
- Stir. Add ice, whiskey, bitters and simple syrup to a large cocktail mixing glass. Gently stir for 30 seconds.
- Strain. Use a cocktail strainer to pour drink into a lowball glass filled with ice (preferably a large sphere or cube of ice). Rim edge of glass with an orange peel.
- Serve. Twist and squeeze orange peel over drink to release oils and drop into glass. Serve immediately.
This is a matter of personal preference. Some recipes call for you to muddle a sugar cube in the bottom of a glass along with the bitters and a splash of water in lieu of simple syrup. The bit of gritty sugar in the last sip is rumored to be the favorite part of the drink for some people.
Me? I like the convenience and consistency of simple syrup. It ensures my drink is always super smooth.
Tip: Check out our post on how to make your own simple syrup at home. You’ll never buy it in the store again!
I prefer a minimalist approach to my old fashioned, and that means the only garnish is an orange peel.
You might see other recipes that include an orange wheel and/or a Luxardo cocktail cherry used as garnish, too. Neither is right or wrong.
If you want a drink that’s a bit more fruity, by all means add the orange slice and cherry. (I hope you’re catching my drift here. Building the best old fashioned is all about making a drink that YOU love.)
Good cocktail ice is the only point that I’m a stickler for when it comes to my cocktails. The proper ice can make all the difference in your drink.
Most whiskey drinks benefit from a large cube or sphere of ice that melts and dilutes the drink slowly. This ensures your cocktail is the perfect temperature and consistency from the first sip to your last.
Many liquor stores now carry larger ice spheres or cubes for whiskey drinks, but you can also buy sphere ice molds to easily make your own at home.
One of the easiest ways to shake up your old fashioned is to add different bitters.
Going with the fruit theme, swapping out the Angostura bitters for orange or cherry bitters would be a tasty twist. Or even chocolate bitters if you want something with a hint of decadence that would also pair well with the orange peel.
Whiskey not your thing? Try a tequila old fashioned! You’ll definitely want to splurge for a quality sipping tequila for a smooth, memorable drink.
And don’t forget the snacks. We love to pair whiskey drinks with this easy bacon appetizer. Whiskey + bacon = the happy hour of your dreams.
More Whiskey drinks and cocktails
- Craving more classics? This Perfect Manhattan recipe never disappoints.
- This Gold Rush cocktail is made with bourbon, lemon juice and ginger liqueur for a slightly spicy drink that I adore when the weather turns cooler.
- Few cocktails are easier than this refreshing, 3-ingredient Whiskey Ginger! It’s like a whiskey drink with training wheels - a great cocktail for those folks who are not huge whiskey fans.
- Fall isn't complete without a glass (or two) of this belly-warming bourbon Hot Toddy
- Love tailgating? Shake up your tried and true menu with a pitcher of these sweet & tart Whiskey Sours made with meyer lemon juice.
- Though it might seem like an unlikely pairing, these Bourbon Aperol Cocktails are a unique cocktail to serve for Halloween or Thanksgiving. Such a beautiful color, too!
Best Old Fashioned recipe
- 2 ounces whiskey or bourbon
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 orange peel
- Fill a large cocktail mixing glass with ice. Add whiskey, syrup and bitters. Gently stir for 30 seconds.
- Strain cocktail into a low ball glass filled with ice (preferably a large ice sphere or cube).
- Rim edge of glass with orange peel. Twist and squeeze orange peel over drink to release oils and drop into glass. Serve immediately.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.
No whiskey cocktail is more classic than an Old Fashioned. Use our easy recipe to make a bar-worthy drink at home every time!