Cocktails 101 – The Old Fashioned

In Lifestyle, MGE100, Nightlife by Caicy Sandford Comments

You’ve somehow found yourself in a bar that is laced with class, the glass door separating you from the classical balustraded staircase leading down to the mahogany bar featuring a marble top. You know you’ve found your bar. The barman, shirt sleeves strapped above the elbow, asks what your poison is, you order an Old Fashioned, the bar tender gives you a tip of the head in approval and you know you’ve done the right thing


The classic Old Fashioned is as old as its name suggests, the classy old timer of the cocktail menu has been around since the 1840’s (some say long before). Originally made with Rye Whisky, as this was the predominant whiskey of its time, this simple cocktail quickly became a favourite of bar goers, shooting to fame in recent times due to Don Drapper’s character’s love of the drink in Mad Men (2007) and highlighted as the drink of choice for Ryan Goslings ultra stylish character in Crazy, Stupid Love (2011).


The Ingredients

  • Large ice cubes – around 10 should do the trick
  • Sugar – Demerara sugar is best but cubed or loose white will do just fine
  • Angustora Bitters – Any good whisky retailer will sell these, we suggest Amathus (Wardour St, London)
  • 1 fresh orange
  • Rye Whisky – any whisky of choice will do just fine: Bourbon (New Old Fashioned), Scotch (Old Fashioned Class)

The Tools

  • An Old Fashioned glass – it’s a short, wide glass.
  • A cocktail Muddler – Usually a small wooden, club shaped tool, you can use anything you have laying around, a wooden spoon handle works well.
  • A spirit Jigger – The metal shot glass used to measure your spirits, you can use a standard shot glass if needed.
  • A twisted mixing spoon – feel free to use a long handled spoon, or any spoon you have.
  • An orange peeler – A sharp knife can be used, but please be careful.

The Recipe

  • Sugar cube (or enough loose sugar to layer the bottom of the glass) into your Old Fashioned glass
  • Add a few dashes of bitters to cover the sugar
  • Use the Muddler to crush the sugar cube and stir mix until the sugar grains dissolve
  • Add 4-6 cubes of ice to the glass and poor 50ml of your choice of whisky over the ice
  • Stir until liquid rises to almost touch the the tip of the ice (lightly hold the glass in place to avoid warming the liquid) … This may take some time, it’s worth it.
  • Add the remaining 4-6 ice cubes and stir a few times
  • Peel a length of orange peel from fresh orange, cut to tidy, curl around twisted spoon handle and rub around the top of the glass
  • Drop the orange peel in and enjoy your drink.