Old Fashioned

Robert Simmonson, author of Old Fashioned: The World’s First Classic Cocktail says that “the old fashioned whiskey cocktail is the primordial drink dating from the earliest days of the cocktail era.”

A private social club, called The Pendennis Club, lays claim to the very first old-fashioned in America in 1880. James E. Pepper, esteemed bourbon aristocrat, was said to have invented the drink in Louisville, before he brought the recipe to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City.


The Old Fashioned Glass, along with the Martini Glass and Champagne Coupe or Flute are about the only glasses which have taken on the name of their cocktail.

According to Wikipedia, the old fashioned glassrocks glasslowball glass (or simply lowball) is a short tumbler used for serving spirits, such as whiskyneat or with ice cubes (“on the rocks”). It is also normally used to serve certain cocktails, such as the old fashioned, from which it receives its name. The true old fashioned glass is decorated in the cut glass style, although most modern examples are pressed glass, made using a mold. The design is essentially English, from the late 18th or 19th-century. Plain glass versions are lowball glasses.

Old fashioned glasses typically have a wide brim and a thick base, so that the non-liquid ingredients of a cocktail can be mashed using a muddler before the main liquid ingredients are added.


This Classic Old Fashioned follows the original formula as laid down in 1806: spirit, a bit of water, a bit of sugar and bitters. Make like Don Draper – smooth as the sixties.

The Recipe

What you need

2 teaspoons simple syrup
1 teaspoon water
2 dashes bitters
1 cup ice cubes

1 (1.5 fluid ounce) bourbon or rye whiskey
What you do

The classic approach. 
Build in a rocks glass with a sugar cube, water and bitters.
Muddle with the back of a spoon.
Add bourbon and ice-cubes. 

Orange slice
Old Fashioned glass
Strong Aperitif
Taste: Strong whiskey, sweet

Patrick (Paddy) Moore

Patrick (Paddy) Moore is the author of the series Quarantinis, Eh? featuring cocktails that commemorate the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021.

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