Quality instead of quantity!

6,000 independent products

No mainstream

6.000 independent products

Which language are you speaking?

Back to all Drinking

Old Fashioned: The absolute classic among cocktails

by Honest & Rare Editorial Team
Old Fashioned: Der absolute Klassiker unter den Cocktails

The most important facts summarized for you:

  • The Old Fashioned is a short drink made from whisky, sugar & cocktail bitters
  • It is one of the oldest cocktails in the world
  • An Old Fashioned tastes intensely of whisky, but sweet & bitter at the same time
  • The Old Fashioned is best prepared with bourbon or rye whisky

The name Old Fashioned translates as old-fashioned. However, this classic cocktail is by no means old-fashioned. Wondering how it is prepared, who invented it and what it tastes like? We answer the most important questions about this unique whisky cocktail and show you the recipe and variations.

Der Old Fashioned ist ein Cocktail mit Whisky.
The Old Fashioned is a cocktail with whisky.

What is an Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned is one of the most important representatives of classic cocktails, which can of course still be found on cocktail menus even after well over 100 years. You can order it in almost every reputable bar around the world.

Old Fashioned ist einer der wichtigsten Vertreter der klassischen Cocktails
The Old Fashioned is one of the most important representatives of classic cocktails

The ingredients for an original Old Fashioned are straightforward: all you need is whisky, sugar, cocktail bitters, orange peel and ice. It is a short drink and is served in style in an Old Fashioned glass. It resembles a whisky glass, but has a slightly conical shape that tapers towards the bottom. Alternatively, you can of course also use a classic tumbler.

Old Fashioned recipe

You don't have to go to the nearest bar for an Old Fashioned, you can simply mix this classic yourself at home.

Old Fashioned - Das Rezept
Old Fashioned - the recipe


  • 6 cl bourbon whisky or rye whisky
  • 1 sugar cube (alternatively: 0.5 cl sugar syrup)
  • 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange zest


  1. Place the sugar cube in an old fashioned or tumbler glass and soak with Angostura bitters.
  2. Add a splash of water and wait until the sugar cube has dissolved. Stir.
  3. Add ice cubes and top up with whisky.
  4. Garnish with orange zest.

Buy high-quality whisky:

Interesting variations of the Old Fashioned

In addition to the tried and tested classic, there are exciting alternatives with interesting flavor nuances in which various spirits are combined with different bitters.

Instead of Angostura bitters, you can also use other bitter variants with warmer flavors. When looking for variations, there are many ways to replace whisky with a spirit of your choice. For example, brown rum, gin, vodka, brandy and brandy are just as suitable as matured tequila or mezcal. We will briefly introduce you to two variations below:

Den Old Fashioned kann man nicht nur mit Whisky, sondern auch mit Rum zubereiten.
The Old Fashioned can be prepared not only with whisky, but also with rum.

Rum Old Fashioned recipe


  • 6 cl brown rum
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 cl sugar syrup
  • Garnish: lime or orange zest


  1. Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with ice cubes. Stir for approx. 1 minute.
  2. Pour ice cubes into an old fashioned or tumbler glass. Strain the drink into the glass.
  3. Garnish with lime or orange zest.

Exotic bitters, for example with cinnamon or clove flavors, are suitable as a dignified substitute for Angostura bitters.

Der Don Lockwood Cocktail ist eine rauchigere Variante des Old Fashioned.
The Don Lockwood cocktail is a smokier version of the Old Fashioned.

Don Lockwood recipe


  • 3 cl bourbon whisky
  • 4 cl smoky scotch
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2 dashes of chocolate bitters
  • 1 cl maple syrup


  1. Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with ice cubes. Stir for approx. 1 minute.
  2. Pour one or two ice cubes into an old fashioned or tumbler glass.
  3. Strain the drink into the glass.

The history of the Old Fashioned: one of the oldest cocktails in the world

This short drink, which practically emerged from the primordial sea of cocktails, can be described with a clear conscience as the progenitor of today's cocktails. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to fathom which subtle inventor we ultimately have to thank for the Old Fashioned.

At the beginning of the 19th century, a forerunner of the Old Fashioned was drunk in the USA, which was simply called the Whisky Cocktail. It was first mentioned in writing in 1806 and referred to as the bittered sling. This ancient drink was simply a variant of the mixed drink sling, with bitters added to the whisky alongside water and sugar.

Bereits im 19. Jahrhundert war der Old Fashioned ein beliebter Drink - nur hieß er da noch einfach Whisky Cocktail
The Old Fashioned was already a popular drink in the 19th century - only then it was simply called a whisky cocktail

The common recipe was described by bartender Jerry Thomas in his 1862 bar book entitled "How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant's Companion":

Whisky Cocktail


  • 3 to 4 dashes of gum syrup (a sugar syrup with gum arabic added)
  • 2 dashes of Bogart's Bitters (aromatic bitters that are no longer produced today)
  • 6 cl whisky
  • some lemon zest


  1. Fill a small mixing glass one third full with ice.
  2. Shake everything well and then pour the cocktail into a wine glass.

How the Old Fashioned cocktail got its name

Similar recipes for the whisky cocktail can also be found in other treatises from this period, while new variations containing liqueurs, other spirits or other ingredients also emerged at the same time.

Im Laufe der Jahrzehnte entstanden neben dem Old Fashioned immer weitere Whisky Cocktails.
Over the decades, more and more whisky cocktails were created alongside the Old Fashioned.

When ordering a traditional whisky cocktail according to the classic recipe, an additional specification gradually became established and connoisseurs requested the Old Fashioned whisky cocktail when ordering. Over time, the whisky cocktail disappeared from this somewhat unwieldy name.

In the 20th century, the Old Fashioned cocktail finally began its triumphal march, which continues to this day. According to legend, the Pendennis Club in Louisville in the US state of Kentucky played a key role in this. There, the bartender Martin Cuneo is said to have served the Old Fashioned to a guest named General James E. Pepper in the early 1890s. However, this story did not appear until several decades later and is now considered a rather dubious legend.

What does an Old Fashioned taste like?

Although the Old Fashioned consists of just a few ingredients and is comparatively easy to mix , its taste is amazingly complex and surprisingly intense. Unlike straight whisky, the aromas here are far less strong and therefore much gentler, but in combination with the slight sweetness and pleasant bitter notes, a unique complexity is created.

Fruchtig, herb und intensive, aber gleichzeitig milde Whisky-Aromen - so schmeckt der Old Fashioned
Fruity, tart and intense, yet mild whisky flavors - this is what the Old Fashioned tastes like

Which whisky is best?

Bourbon whisky is best suited to the Old Fashioned, which is why it is usually used as the basis for the cocktail. It is pleasantly mild and its fine aromas of wood, vanilla and caramel combine wonderfully with Angostura bitters.

According to the recommendation of the International Bartenders Association, rye whisky distilled from rye mash is a good alternative to bourbon. Scotch whisky is rarely used in the preparation of this cocktail. Of course, this doesn't mean that you can't use it to mix this cocktail. At least there are no rules that could limit your experimentation in this regard.

Am besten eignet sich für den Old Fashioned ein Bourbon oder Rye Whisky
A bourbon or rye whisky is best suited to the Old Fashioned

Have you acquired a taste for it after reading this? Then browse through our range here and find the right spirits for the classic or interesting Old Fashioned variations.


About the autor:

Honest & Rare Editorial Team

Honest & Rare Editorial Team


Some things can only be accomplished as a team. Just like this article here! That's why we mark all jointly created articles as editorial contributions. Cheers!

  • Liebt: nerdy food & drinks knowledge
  • Lieblingsgetränke: Tasting packages! You can enjoy them together
  • Empfehlung des Monats: Try our various food boxes