The Old Fashioned is not a complicated drink.

All it takes to make is your favorite rye whiskey, simple syrup, aromatic bitters, a quick stir with good ice, and a comfy place to sit. But that doesn’t mean the drink is not complex. It unfolds in flavor, becoming spicy, herbal, sweet, and dry with each sip. Let it sit, and it will likely surprise you when you return.

Developed in the early 19th century, the Old Fashioned is essentially the perfect recipe for a modern cocktail. It gained popularity under the simple name Whiskey Cocktail among a pantheon of similarly simplistic monikers—the Brandy Cocktail, the Gin Cocktail, and so on. The Whiskey Cocktail only became old toward the end of that century when bartenders began experimenting with new ingredients on top of the basic formula. Patrons demanded an old-fashioned version, which morphed into the beloved drink made with rye. Old it has stayed, but thanks to die-hard adherents, it has not been forgotten.

Rye Old Fashioned, cocktails with garnish

Rye Old Fashioned

Photo by Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Rye Old Fashioned

During the last century, drinkers unable to sit contentedly with a perfectly balanced beverage have tinkered and innovated their way to all manner of variations with different spirits, bitters, sweeteners, and modifiers. The Bourbon Old Fashioned puts you at ease with sweet caramel. The Mezcal Old Fashioned tingles your palate with wisps of smoke and whispers of vegetal agave. But after sampling many worthy challengers to the Old Fashioned throne, you will inevitably return to the classic with rye, and you will be happy with its timeless pleasure.


  • 2 oz. Rye Whiskey
  • 1 tsp. Simple Syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Orange Peel (for Garnish)

Preparation: Add all liquid ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir until cold and strain into a rocks glass with one big ice cube. Garnish with an orange peel.