Classic and Timeless: The Old Fashioned Cocktail

The Old Fashioned cocktail, with its rich history and uncomplicated charm, has remained a beloved staple in the world of mixology. This timeless elixir embodies the essence of simplicity and sophistication, making it a go-to choice for those who appreciate the finer things in life. In this article, we'll delve into the classic Old Fashioned, explore its key attributes, differentiate it from the Manhattan, and even add a dash of creativity with Symply Syrups' delectable twists.

Old fashioned cocktail, Symply syrups

What is a Classic Old Fashioned Made Of?

At its core, the classic Old Fashioned is a cocktail that champions minimalism while delivering maximum flavour. It's a drink that allows the quality of its ingredients to shine. Here's a breakdown of what goes into crafting this revered libation:

  • 2 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey: The backbone of an Old Fashioned is a generous pour of high-quality bourbon or rye whiskey. The choice between bourbon and rye can influence the cocktail's flavour profile. Bourbon lends a sweeter, smoother note, while rye brings a spicier kick.

  • 1 Sugar Cube or Simple Syrup: The sweetness in the Old Fashioned comes from a simple sugar cube or simple syrup. It's essential for balancing the bitterness of the bitters and the intensity of the spirit.

  • 2-3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters: Bitters are the secret weapon in an Old Fashioned. Angostura bitters, with their aromatic and slightly spicy characteristics, add depth and complexity to the drink.

  • Orange Peel and a Luxardo Cherry: The finishing touch involves garnishing the cocktail with a twist of orange peel and a Luxardo cherry. These elements provide citrusy and fruity notes that complement the whiskey beautifully.

The Difference Between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan

While the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan share a few similarities, such as being whiskey-based cocktails, they differ significantly in terms of preparation and flavour profile.

1. Ingredients: The Old Fashioned, as we've discussed, relies on simplicity and minimalism. On the other hand, the Manhattan combines whiskey with sweet vermouth and bitters, creating a more complex and aromatic concoction.

2. Sweetness: The Old Fashioned uses a sugar cube or simple syrup to add sweetness, whereas the Manhattan incorporates sweet vermouth as a primary sweetener.

3. Garnish: A classic Old Fashioned is garnished with an orange peel and a Luxardo cherry, while a Manhattan traditionally features a Maraschino cherry.

4. Method: The preparation method also sets these cocktails apart. The Old Fashioned is built in the glass by adding simple syrup with bitters and then adding whiskey and ice. In contrast, a Manhattan is typically stirred with ice in a mixing glass before being strained into a chilled cocktail glass.

What Makes an Old Fashioned So Good?

The enduring appeal of the Old Fashioned lies in its simplicity and the focus on the essential ingredients. Here are a few reasons why this cocktail continues to captivate discerning palates:

1. Balance: The Old Fashioned strikes a harmonious balance between the robust flavours of whiskey, the subtle sweetness of sugar, and the aromatic complexity of bitters. This balance allows each element to shine while harmonizing beautifully.

2. Versatility: While the classic recipe is revered, the Old Fashioned's versatility shines through when mixologists experiment with different whiskey types, bitters, and flavoured syrups. This adaptability ensures that there's an Old Fashioned to suit every preference.

Simple Syrup, old fashioned syrup, home bartender, Symply Syrups

3. Timeless Elegance: Sipping on an Old Fashioned feels like stepping into a bygone era of sophistication and class. It's a cocktail that transcends trends and remains a symbol of timeless elegance.

Is an Old Fashioned Bourbon or Scotch?

The traditional Old Fashioned is typically made with bourbon or rye whiskey. However, some adventurous mixologists have explored variations using Scotch whisky, adding a smoky and peaty dimension to the cocktail. While unconventional, these Scotch-based Old Fashioneds have garnered their own following.

In the realm of the classic Old Fashioned, bourbon is the most commonly used spirit. Its sweeter and smoother profile complements the sugar and bitters, creating a well-balanced drink that's easy to enjoy. Rye whiskey, with its spicier notes, offers a different but equally delightful Old Fashioned experience.

Elevating the Old Fashioned with Symply Syrups

While the classic Old Fashioned is a masterpiece in its own right, mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts are constantly seeking new ways to enhance their favourite drinks. This is where Symply Syrups steps in.

Symply Syrups offers a range of high-quality, all-natural syrups that can elevate your Old Fashioned to a new level of deliciousness. Here are two delightful variations you can create using Symply Syrups:

1. Vanilla Old Fashioned

Vanilla Simple Syrup, simple syrup, vanilla old fashioned
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Vanilla Syrup from Symply Syrups
  • 3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

To create the Vanilla Old Fashioned, simply replace the sugar cube in the classic recipe with 0.5 oz of Symply Syrups' Vanilla Syrup. This syrup adds a velvety sweetness with a hint of vanilla, creating a smoother and more aromatic Old Fashioned. The result is a drink that's both familiar and refreshingly new, perfect for those who appreciate a touch of sophistication.

2. Cinnamon Old Fashioned

Cinnamon Simple Syrup, simple syrup, cinnamon old fashioned
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Cinnamon Syrup from Symply Syrups
  • 3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

For a spicier twist on the classic, try the Cinnamon Old Fashioned. Replace the sugar cube with 0.5 oz of Symply Syrups' Cinnamon Syrup. This syrup infuses the cocktail with a warm, aromatic cinnamon flavor that pairs beautifully with the whiskey's depth. The result is a captivating blend of sweet and spicy, making it a perfect choice for those who crave a bit of complexity in their libations.

Incorporating Symply Syrups into your Old Fashioned recipes not only adds a burst of flavour but also supports the creation of consistently delicious cocktails. Whether you opt for the comforting warmth of vanilla or the tantalizing spice of cinnamon, Symply Syrups' high-quality syrups are a bartender's secret weapon for elevating classic cocktails.


The Old Fashioned Cocktail is a true testament to the timeless appeal of simplicity and balance in mixology. Whether you prefer it with bourbon or rye, garnished with orange peel and a cherry, or enhanced with Symply Syrups' creative twists, the Old Fashioned is a drink that never goes out of style.

So, whether you're a seasoned cocktail aficionado or a curious newcomer, raise your glass to this classic elixir of elegance and flavour. Cheers to the Old Fashioned!