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Old Fashioned Recipe

5 from 1 vote

posted: 12/13/19

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Old Fashioned recipe is a classic you must try. A Wisconsin staple, an Old Fashioned Recipe is essential for any at home bar tender.

an old fashioned cocktail on a wood tray, garnished with an orange wedge and a cherry, with another right behind it

My wonderful husband is one of six boys (God bless his mother), and now with each one of those boys having started their own families there are 15 grandkids!

Every year we go away to celebrate Christmas at a waterpark resort. While we are there, my wonderful brother-in-law makes me the best Old Fashioned recipe. Let me tell you: This cocktail is the perfect way to survive a weekend of water park.

The Old Fashioned is a Wisconsin classic. You can go into just about any bar in Milwaukee and Madison and find hipster versions of this delicious cocktail on the menu. They are great, but the original will always be my go to.

an overhead close up view of the bottom of a tumbler glass with a lemon peel, orange peel, maraschino cherry, and sugar cube soaked with brown bitters

Old Fashioned Ingredients

You only need a few ingredients to make this wonderful cocktail the classic way. For all of the measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Bourbon Whiskey: Read more on this below.
  • Fresh Orange Peel & Fresh Lemon Peel: These bring a great subtle flavor to the cocktail.
  • Maraschino Cherries: These are an absolute must for an Old Fashioned.
  • Sugar Cube: These are perfect because they are easily found in the baking aisle and can be kept in your pantry for years.
  • Bitters: This is a liqueur that is meant only as an ingredient in other cocktails. It is made from botanicals and as it’s name suggests, it brings a slightly bitter taste to the drink.
  • Club Soda: This helps round out the drink.

How to Make an Old Fashioned

Making this classic Old Fashioned cocktail recipe is really simple but will make you seem like a master mixologist.

  1. Add the base ingredients. To a short tumbler (often called Old Fashioned glasses for this reason), add an orange peel, a lemon peel, a sugar cube, and a maraschino cherry. Soak the sugar cube in bitters.
  2. Muddle things. Muddle the soaked cube with the fruit. This is an important step because it will help with the incorporation of the flavors into the rest of the drink.
  3. Finish it off. Add in the whiskey. Stir to combine. Add a giant ice cube and serve OR add in some ice and some club soda.
a small wood tray containing a bottle of bourbon whiskey, a bottle of brandy, a double jigger, a small glass tumbler, an orange, and a lemon

Wisconsin Old Fashioned

If you walk into a Wisconsin bar and order an Old Fashioned, they will ask you if you want Bourbon or Brandy. The next question will be sweet or sour.

The Brandy Old Fashioned has become its own thing in Wisconsin. Some even call it our unofficial cocktail. And the way we do it here, is with Brandy and either a lemon lime soda to make it sweet or a sour soda (like Squirt) to make it sour.

up close view of an old fashioned drink recipe with a ice cubes, a maraschino cherry, and an orange wedge

Soda vs Club Soda

Historically, only club soda is used in an Old Fashioned. That being said, as a Wisconsinite, I urge you to try it with soda instead of club soda. It adds another layer of sweetness and flavor that just can’t be beat in this great cocktail recipe.

How to Serve

Old Fashioned are served in a tumbler full of ice cubes. It is then garnished with an additional orange wedge and a maraschino cherry.

two small glass tumblers containing old fashioned drink recipe on a steel rimmed wood tray containing an old fashioned drink

Other Great Whiskey Cocktails

Since we are talking an Old Fashioned Whiskey here, I thought I would give you some of my other favorite whiskey cocktails.

If you make this Old Fashioned recipe or any of my other cocktails, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

5 from 1 vote

Old Fashioned

Serves: 1 cocktail
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
This Old Fashioned Cocktail recipe is a classic you must try. A Wisconsin staple, an Old Fashioned Recipe is essential for any at home bar tender.


  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1 strip lemon peel
  • 1 strip orange peel
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey (or brandy or gin)
  • 2 ounces club soda (or lemon lime soda or sour soda)
  • cherry and orange wedge to garnish


  • In the bottom of a short tumbler, add the orange peel, lemon peel, cherry and sugar cube.
  • Soak the sugar cube with the bitters. Muddle everything together.
  • Pour in bourbon, add ice, and stir to combine.
  • Optional: Top with club soda.


As noted in the post, a Wisconsin Old Fashioned uses Brandy in the place of Bourbon and either sweet soda (like 7 Up or Sprite) or sour soda (like Squirt) in place of the club soda.
Please note that the nutritional information is based on the classic version with Bourbon and no club soda or soda.
Serving: 1cocktail Calories: 215kcal (11%) Carbohydrates: 6g (2%) Sodium: 14mg (1%) Potassium: 19mg (1%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 4g (4%) Vitamin A: 1IU Vitamin C: 17mg (21%) Calcium: 1mg
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American

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Old Fashioned

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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