The Old Fashioned

The first use of the specific name "Old Fashioned" was for a Bourbon whiskey cocktail in the 1880s, at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen's club in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipe is said to have been invented by a bartender at that club, and popularized by a club member and bourbon distiller, Colonel James E. Pepper, who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. When properly made, this cocktail can represent the pinnacle of the bartenders trade. When done improperly, which is more often the case, it can be a disaster of mediocrity.

One of the oldest recipes known going by the name of Old Fashioned, comes from "Modern American Drinks" by George J. Kappeler, published in 1895: "Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece ice, a piece lemon-peel, one jigger whiskey. Mix with small bar-spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass". This very closely resembles the recipe which you should be served by a modern day bartender.

  • 1/2 Orange Slice
  • 1 cube of sugar
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters 
  • 60ml rye or bourbon whiskey

    Method: Muddle orange, sugar, bitters together until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Fill glass with ice, then add the whiskey. Garnish with a marachino cherry, and perhaps an additional orange slice. Serve with a swizzle stick and/or straw. - notes partially sourced from