Brandy Old Fashioned cocktail.

4 Cocktails Recipes: A Modern Twist on Old Fashioned Drinks


Cocktail trends come and go. But the one staple that remains a fixture on drink menus two centuries after its invention is the Old Fashioned.

The Old Fashioned recipes have basically the same ingredients that are mixed today:

* Liquor

* Sugar

* Water

* Bitters

Traditionally, Bourbon is the spirit of choice for an Old Fashioned. But contemporary cocktails can substitute any type of liquor—such as rye whiskey, tequila, and rum.

Yesteryear’s sugar cube is today’s simple syrup—which mixes more easily when served. A twist of citrus zest or a dark cherry is a popular garnish in the modern Old Fashioned.

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Whatever spirit or style you prefer, the key ingredient to any Old Fashioned drink are bitters. For a truly authentic experience, try Angostura bitters. It’s an iconic brand going as far back as the dawn of the Old Fashioned. Angostura has transformed cocktails ever since.

Today, Angostura aromatic bitters is a classic and versatile ingredient in bar cocktail drinks. Bitters provide layers of flavor and complexity through their expertly-crafted combination of aromatic herbs, bark, and roots.

When it comes to the ingredients in Angostura’s aromatic bitters, the exact formula is unknown. The recipe remains a closely-guarded secret since the bitters were created about 200 years ago.

Find more recipes filled with good, old-fashioned flavor at Angostura.

Have a go at these newer versions of the Old Fashioned when you host your next event. I included 4 recipes below that are perfect for sipping.

The traditional version features bourbon. Whereas, the 3 twists on the classic cocktail feature alternative liquors:

* Tequila Old Fashioned

* Rum Old Fashioned

* Wisconsin-Style Brandy Old Fashioned.


Pro Serving Tip

Serving an authentic Old Fashioned requires more than just the right ingredients. You should have the proper cocktail glassware. An Old Fashioned is typically served in a rocks glass. These are short glasses with a weighted bottom. They’re designed to hold a shot or two of liquor poured over ice AKA on the rocks. 

How to Make Simple Syrup at Home

You probably already know that many cocktail recipes call for a sweet syrup. It enhances the flavor of the liquor. Demerara syrup is made with Demerara sugar—it’s a raw, unrefined sugar with a lovely golden-amber hue.

If you don’t have Demerara syrup, don’t worry. You can easily swap for Turbinado sugar, brown sugar, or table sugar. The syrup is really easy to make; you can use leftovers to sweeten other cocktails and even coffee. 

Demerara Syrup

* 1 cup Demerara sugar
* 1 cup hot water

Mix well; stir to dissolve. Let cool before use.


Some of the recipes below call for a cocktail shaker and a muddler. A tall glass and kitchen utensils work just as well. 

Classic Bourbon Old Fashioned


Add 2 ounces of Bourbon for the perfect Old Fashioned.
Getty Images
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1/4 oz Demerara syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura orange bitters
  • 1 splash water
  • ice cubes
  • a long piece of orange peel, for garnish
  1. In rocks glass, stir bourbon, Demerara syrup, water, aromatic bitters, and orange bitters. Add ice; stir well.
  2. Add more ice to fill glass to top. Garnish with orange peel.


Tequila Old Fashioned


Tequila Old Fashioned cocktail.
Getty Images
  • ice cubes
  • 2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1/4 oz Demerara syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • a strip of grapefruit peel or wedge, for garnish
  1. Stir or shake tequila, Demerara syrup, and aromatic bitters in an ice-filled mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Strain into ice-filled rocks glass.
  2. Squeeze grapefruit wedge into the cocktail and rub it over the rim of the glass.


Wisconsin-Style Brandy Old Fashioned

Brandy Old Fashioned cocktail.
  • 3  oz, plus 1 splash lemon-lime soda
  • 1 Demerara sugar cube
  • 5 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters, divided
  • 3 maraschino cherries
  • 1  orange slice, plus peel for garnish
  • ice cubes
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 dash Angostura orange bitters
  • skewered maraschino cherry, for garnish
  1. In glass, muddle a splash of lemon-lime soda, sugar cube, 2 dashes aromatic bitters, cherries, and orange slice.
  2. Add ice and brandy, then fill with remaining lemon-lime soda. Add remaining aromatic bitters and orange bitters. Garnish with skewered cherry and orange peel.


Rum Old Fashioned


Rum cocktail Old Fashioned
Getty Images
  • 1 Demerara sugar cube
  • 4 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 2  dashes Angostura orange bitters
  • 1 splash soda water
  • ice cubes
  • 2 oz Angostura 1919 Rum*
  • orange peel, for garnish
  1. Place sugar cube in rocks glass. Pour aromatic bitters, orange bitters, and soda water over sugar cube. Use a muddler to crush sugar cube.
  2. Add ice, pour in rum and stir. Garnish by squeezing orange peel over glass.
*Distilled and bottled by Angostura Holdings, Port of Spain, Laventille, Trinidad. Imported by Terlato Wine and Spirits, Lake Bluff, IL. 40% Alc./Vol. © 2018



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