Old fashioned recipe: how to make this traditional whisky cocktail

This old fashioned recipe is one of the easiest cocktails you can make and a must try for whisky lovers

Copper dog old fashioned recipe
(Image credit: The Bottle Club)

Everyone wannabe Don Draper needs to learn a good old fashioned recipe. And as cocktail recipes go, this is one of the simplest around. And don't let the machismo (and irresponsibility...) with which it is drunk in Mad Men put you off – this whisky-based cocktail has a balanced sweetness and the aromatic Agnostura bitters make it more palatable than your classic Scotch on the rocks. 

It is believed the name is derived from the glass it is served in: an old fashioned is the small tumbler than is so commonly used for straight up whisky and ice. So no surprise that the old fashioned cocktail recipe is similarly straight forward. No shaking, no muddling, no straining or foaming – just your whisky of choice with a bit of sugar syrup and some bitters. So, if you idealise the smoky Mid-century bars in New York and looking oh so suave drinking 'one for the road' then this is the cocktail for you.

The Bottle Club – experts in bringing the best of your local bar into your home – have shared one of their favourite old fashioned recipes using Copper Dog Malt Scotch Whisky. Use whatever whisky you have or go American and make sure it is bourbon. Either way, easy listening music to accompany is a must and as always, drink responsibly.

How to make an old fashioned



1. Combine the ingredients in a tumbler with a few cubes of ice

2. Stir well

3. Garnish with a slice of orange

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The 'new' old fashioned

Not a whisky fan? Or perhaps the old fashioned is a bit dry for your tastes? Either way, you can give the old fashioned a new twist with a bit of fruit to make it sweeter. Don't go overboard – just add a drop of your favourite fruit liqueur or muddle with a wedge of fresh orange to sweeten it. Then you get all the peatiness of the whisky but with extra sweetness to balance it.

Some people top up with lemonade or orange soda for a fizzy old fashioned – you might get quickly escorted from your local speakeasy for doing that but we certainly won't judge you enjoying it your way.

How to make your own brown sugar syrup

If you don't have brown sugar syrup (which is less widely available than gomme – the frequently used clear sugar syrup), it is really easy to make your own. Simply dissolve 200g of brown sugar in 100ml of water, in a pan over a low heat. Once dissolved allow to cool a little, before bottling.

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