Whisky Marketplace Blog UK brings you news, reviews and tasting notes from the world of whisky.

Aug 06

Whiskey Cocktail Recipe: The Old Fashioned

Posted on 6th August 2015 by Pierre

We’re going to share our take on a classic whiskey cocktail, perfect at any time of the year, especially refreshing during the summer months. We’ve been incredibly self sacrificing while writing this piece, trying various combinations of ingredients and methods to bring you the definitive recipe. Ladies and gentlemen, we present the, thoroughly well researched, Whisky Marketplace Old Fashioned...

As any chef will tell you, it’s all about the ingredients, and that’s a maxim mixologists will no doubt echo. Some of you may baulk at the idea of putting expensive or high quality whiskey into your cocktails but before we get too protective let’s examine the idea. In our view there are broadly two types of cocktail, long drinks with plenty of non-alcoholic mixer and shorter concoctions that are chiefly made up of pure spirit plus a few additives. We’re going to nail our colours to the mast here, the short cocktails are the ones we really like - hey, we’re whiskey drinkers, right? So if the cocktail is primarily made up of the whisky with a few additional flavourings, you’re going to want to put decent components into it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

And that doesn’t stop with the whiskey. In fact it starts with the ice. We don’t put any old ice in our cocktails. Oh no! We want the purest ice possible because for this cocktail, the ice is a central ingredient. If you’re buying your ice ready made, go for a spring water brand. In UK stores the Blue Keld brand is widely available (for example at Ocado) - we’ve tested it against non spring water versions and it makes an astonishing difference providing a clean, pure base that allows the other flavours to shine. If you’re making the cubes yourself consider freezing a good quality spring water - the same sort of water you’d be happy to add to your whisky, which make sense doesn’t it?

Pay similar attention to your oranges, another key ingredient. Cheap bags of economy oranges will have disappointing skins that tear and break when you twist them and don’t yield the explosion of zesty oils you need for this cocktail. Buy good quality oranges with firm, supple skins.

So on to the alcoholic ingredients. The classic version of the cocktail is made with rye whiskey but it has also become very popular with a bourbon base so we’ve picked one of each. We also like to use two types of bitters in our recipe.


See July's Staff Picks for the best prices on Rittenhouse Rye and Ridgemont Reserve '1792

  • Rittenhouse Rye or Ridgemont Reserve '1792' Bourbon
  • The Bitter Truth: Orange Bitters
  • The Bitter Truth: Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters
  • Orange peel
  • Sugar syrup
  • Ice - we recommend Blue Keld Spring Water Ice

The method:

If you’ve ever cooked a risotto you’ll know that opinions vary on whether to follow the old fashioned method of adding a little stock at a time while continuously stirring is essential or simply to add all the ingredients at once. For us the risotto tastes better following the traditional method and quite frankly the same is true for the Old Fashioned, do it the old fashioned way, add a little at a time and work the mixture. You can taste the love in the end product!

  1. Add a couple of teaspoons of sugar syrup to your glass.
  2. Add a dash of the Orange Bitters and a dash of the Own Decanter Bitters
  3. Add a dash of whiskey
  4. Work the mixture with a bar spoon
  5. Add a single ice cube
  6. Continue to work and stir the mixture
  7. Add another ice cube with around a third of the remaining whiskey
  8. Continue to work and stir the mixture
  9. Repeat steps 7 & 8 until all the whiskey is added
  10. Cut a strip of orange peel.
  11. Twist and pull the peel over the glass to release the zesty oils into the mix.
  12. Wipe the peel around the rim of the glass to leave traces of the oil
  13. Peel another strip and trim to a nice neat strip with a knife.
  14. Twist and place the peel strip upright in between the ice cubes
  15. Serve and enjoy.