Move LifeStyle

Move LifeStyle

Cocktail Hour: The Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a sexy drink. Simple. Strong. Nearly naked.

No doubt, it doesn’t hurt that this drink has some sexy spokespeople. There’s the Mad Man himself, Don Draper, in his impeccable suit with rocks glass in hand. And show of hands, how many women dropped their panties for Ryan Gosling when he made the perfect Old Fashioned in Crazy Stupid Love?

Having been around for nearly two centuries, the Old Fashioned looks great for its age. Its origins start with the first recorded cocktail: the Bittered Sling. That was a colloquial term for the combination of sugar, water, bitters and a spirit: rum, gin, whiskey. This gave rise to the Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail that became known simply as the Old Fashioned, to distinguish it from the new fangled concoctions that the kids were drinking those days.

Like Grace Kelly and Jackie O, it has earned the moniker of a classic for a reason. That title demands a little respect. Take note ye ill-mannered loafs: there should be no muddling of maraschino cherries nor additions of fruit juice to disturb the quiet calm of a real Old Fashioned. Pick a great spirit and let that shine bright like a diamond.

But enough talking, let’s get down to business. Here’s how to make your own Old Fashioned and experience the magic for yourself.

The Old Fashioned

Add a dash of bitters to your glass. Angostura is a classic aromatic bitters. There are other Aromatic bitters that can be used, such as Fee’s Old Fashioned or The Bitter Truth’s Old Time Aromatic Bitters, but Angostura is the easiest to come by and is my favorite choice for a classic.
Next, add 1 sugar cube. That is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon. Some use a barspoon of simple syrup, gomme syrup, or a Demerara syrup. Again, a sugar cube is classic and earns points for ease.

Add a dash of club soda to dissolve the sugar.
Dissolve the sugar into a paste.


Next add your spirit. 2oz of Whiskey is the classic. I prefer a rye whiskey, because as Dave Wondrich says “Cheap bourbon’s already sweet enough, and good bourbon doesn’t need any help going down.” We used a new craft whiskey on the market, Henebery, a rye whiskey made in California from organic ingredients.

Add ice. This is where one very large ice cube is handy, as there is less surface area which will dilute your beverage too quickly.
Stir. This slightly dilutes your drink and melds all the flavors together.

This is an important step not to be missed. The aromas from the orange peel are the first thing you experience before you taste this drink. It makes all the difference.
Express oils of one large piece orange peel into and around the glass. Garnish with orange peel.


Once you have mastered the basics, you can do your own riffs on a classic by changing out the spirit or bitters and see what you get.

What is your favorite classic cocktail? Let us know!

Tip your bartender: Will cutting at Neat bar in glendale

Author Description

Jenn Wong

Jenn Wong - the Urban Ninja - is the publisher and host of Way of The Wong, a contributor to the LA tech blog lalawag, and has covered the LA cocktail community in Angeleno Magazine. You can find her online @wayofthewong | @wayofthewong on Instagram

  • Carolina
    What a fun and sexy homage to the Old Fashioned! I’ve never had one but, after reading this, I want one!!! :)

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Move LifeStyle is an e-zine for the modern working woman created by Autumn Reeser, Jenn Wong and Ashley Fauset.