Timeless Bourbon Old-Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

Mix up a bourbon old-fashioned with rich, smooth and timeless flavor. Get ready for sipping satisfaction wth this unbeatable recipe.

Updated March 3, 2024
Bourbon Old-Fashioned

If there's a cocktail as old as Grandfather Time, the bourbon old-fashioned is it. The cocktail had evolved since the 1800s when it was nothing more than a spirit. It wasn't long before bartenders began to change the recipe and threw in a few garnishes for that pop of color. After all, what's a cocktail without some modern charm? 

How to Make a Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Some things get better when they age, just like the bourbon old-fashioned. Just like the fine spirit itself, the old-fashioned is rich in flavor and depth, making it a timeless classic. 


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 4 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Ice and king cube
  • Orange peels and Luxardo cherry for garnish


  1. In a mixing glass, add ice, bourbon, simple syrup, orange bitters, and aromatic bitters.
  2. Stir rapidly to chill.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice or a king cube.
  4. Express one orange peel over the drink by twisting the peel between your fingers, then run the outside of the peel along the rim.
  5. Garnish with a second orange peel and a Luxardo cherry.
Quick Tip

Turn this recipe into a freezer door old-fashioned for some lazy day sipping. Using the same ingredients, change the measurements to 1 cup of bourbon, 3 ounces of simple syrup, 10-12 dashes of orange bitters, 6-8 dashes of aromatic bitters, and ½ ounces of water. Shake and store in the freezer until you're ready to serve. 

Old-Fashioned Variations

The bourbon old-fashioned can be altered with the smallest modifications, but these subtle variations are to best mold the profile you want.

  • Play around with the balance of bitters; try equal parts orange and aromatic for a citrus-forward flavor.
  • Consider different flavors of simple syrups to change the flavor profile, such as rosemary.
  • Use the Luxardo cherry syrup instead of regular simple syrup.
  • Swap out bitters for different combinations: walnut and mole, chocolate and aromatic, grapefruit and aromatic, smoked and chocolate.
  • Use a sugar cube instead of simple syrup, finely muddling it with a few dashes of bitters.

Related: Punchy Apple Cider Old-Fashioned Recipe You'll Fall in Love With


Garnishes aren't an afterthought. They add a visual experience to cocktails as well as impart a nose and flavor that would otherwise be missing. They're an extension of the cocktail experience. Here are a few garnish suggestions to break from the traditional orange peel and cherry.

  • Flame a citrus peel for a toasty flavor.
  • Use a lemon peel for a cleaner, crisper experience.
  • Consider folding a Luxardo cherry in an orange wheel for a twist.

A Bourbon Classic to Stay

The bourbon old-fashioned isn't just any cocktail — it's a timeless recipe. While you can tweak and jazz up different parts of the cocktail, it stays true to its nature. So grab your bar spoon and your favorite bourbon. It's one cocktail worth stirring up. 

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Timeless Bourbon Old-Fashioned Cocktail Recipe