Mastering the Perfect Old Fashioned: A Step-by-Step Guide

Perfect Old Fashioned sitting in a dimly lit classy bar - spirits with smoke


Crafting a classic cocktail like the Old Fashioned can seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it’s an achievable and rewarding skill. This timeless drink, known for its simplicity and sophistication, is a staple in any bartender’s repertoire. Here’s a detailed guide to making the best Old Fashioned, inspired by expert techniques and a touch of creativity.


The Old Fashioned cocktail, one of the oldest mixed drinks, traces its origins back to the early 19th century. Initially termed as "whiskey cocktails," these drinks combined spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. By the 1860s, the term "Old Fashioned" emerged, likely as a nod to the simpler, original style of cocktails amidst the rise of more complex recipes. Its popularity soared in the late 1800s, cementing its status as a timeless classic. The Old Fashioned remains a beloved symbol of cocktail tradition and elegance.

What sugar should I use for an Old Fashioned? 

Using raw or demerara sugar in an Old Fashioned cocktail adds depth and complexity that white sugar or simple syrup can't match. These unrefined sugars retain molasses, giving a richer, caramel-like flavor and a subtle texture to the drink. This enhances the whiskey's natural notes, providing a more robust and nuanced taste experience. Additionally, the slightly coarser texture of raw sugar contributes to the traditional aesthetic and mouthfeel of the classic cocktail, elevating the overall drinking experience.