Old Fashioned | foodsciencenerd.com

Something Old: My take on an Old Fashioned

Posted on Posted in Culinary Science, Recipes

An Old Fashioned is a classy, well-known drink that has quite the rich history.  Because it’s been around for so long, it also boasts quite the variety of recipes.  Some tend to be very, very sweet, which we’ve already covered here is something I don’t like in a drink.  Some use sugar, some use simple syrup.  Some require fruit, some don’t.  Some add water, some don’t.  Most feature insipid maraschino cherries- something I would definitely leave out.

Since I have recently moved (hence the downturn in posting frequency) to a place that really does have a bar- no Target cabinet required- I naturally had to up my cocktail game.  After restocking the most important liquor (bourbon) and happening upon some addictively delicious and very cheap jarred cherries, I decided to give the Old Fashioned a shot.  I scanned a plethora of recipes and made up my own version (which I’m sure already exists somewhere).  Not too sweet, not to harsh, with a delicious canned cherry, a touch of orange and bitters, and a splash of club soda.

Old Fashioned | foodsciencenerd.com

Before beginning, I made a game plan.  I decided I’d use a very thin slice of orange, a cherry, and a few dashes of bitters as the liquid with which to muddle the sugar.  Instead of about 3/4 tsp of sugar, I used maybe 1/4 tsp- the orange would add any necessary sweetness, in my mind.  I don’t yet own any large ice molds, but I do have an ice dispenser that really loves making, but not dispensing, ice, so regular ice would have to do.  To reduce the need for ice, and therefore dilution, I chilled the glass before using it.  At the end of creating the drink, which is pretty much just a serving of bourbon, I added a splash of club soda to increase the amount of liquid and to “soften” the bourbon a bit.  The fizz was nice too!  To find out the full process, keep reading:  (And if you’re using regular ice cubes, drink fast to avoid dilution.)

Old Fashioned Cocktail

Old Fashioned Cocktail


  • Ice
  • 2-3 jarred black cherries
  • 1 thin slice orange
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 4 dashes bitters
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • Splash club soda
  • Orange peel, for garnish


  1. Put the glass in the freezer about 10 minutes before serving. Add a few ice cubes to the glass.
  2. Muddle the orange, sugar, bitters, and all but one cherry in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
  3. Add about 5 ice cubes and the bourbon. Stir until very cold.
  4. Strain into the glass and top with a splash of club soda.
  5. Enjoy garnished with orange peel and a cherry!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!