Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Cocktail (serves one)

  • 2 oz. of whiskey, gin, or aged tequila
  • 1 tsp sugar (superfine)
  • 1 tsp water
  • 2 dashes (= 1/4 tsp) Angostura bitters
  • lemon or orange twist

Stir together sugar, water, and bitters in the bottom of an old fashioned glass. Add ice and spirit. Stir. Garnish with lemon or orange twist.


We’ve been learning about the history of mixed drinks from David Wondrich’s book Imbibe! It turns out that what we now call the Old-Fashioned Cocktail already went by that name in the 1880’s: it harked back to what you’d get if you just ordered a “cocktail” in the 1850’s.

Today, if you order an Old-Fashioned, the bartender might ask what kind of whiskey you want — putting in another spirit besides whiskey probably wouldn’t cross their mind. But, early bar manuals list versions with gin or brandy as well. We tried making this cocktail with rum or brandy, but prefer it made with either whiskey, gin, or aged tequila, since it is less sweet.

The photo shows an Old Fashioned made with gin (using SoCal-made Wilder Gin) and a lemon twist, and one with reposado tequila (Clase Azul) and an orange twist. They were both delicious — great ways to enjoy the flavor of an interesting spirit.

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