Hands pour a drink into a glass.
Hands pour a drink into a glass.

We all love to have a good time, and what better way to spice up a good time than with a good cocktail drink? Cocktails have been around for quite a while as bars and restaurants mix in different flavors to give a unique burst that tantalizes the taste buds.

Just like a skilled magician will whip up concoctions to make potent potions, the skill of making some of the best drinks ever with a good mix had graced our bars and restaurants for decades, far before we even began to call these drinks cocktails. Making cocktails are not just a skill but also an art that combines different ingredients with their own special flavors into one glass for all to enjoy.

Over the years, as cocktails have become prevalent drinks in our hangouts, get together, parties, and even TV shows, we have seen different varieties rise up over time to grace our glass. Now we have hundreds of different types of cocktails made in their own unique way with their own unique flavor.

However, before we can truly enjoy the art that makes a modern-day cocktail drink what it is today, we first have to understand how the first set of traditional cocktails was made and how they came to be in our restaurants and bars.

What are Cocktails?

clear glass tumbler on brown wooden tray

Just like enchanting potions from days of yore, cocktails are a simple syrup delightful fusion of spirits, mixers, aromatic bitters, and garnishes. These old-fashioned made cocktails have ingredients carefully selected and blended into a perfect mix to ignite a happy taste bud any day and anytime. They range from sweet and savory to neutral classics. An example is the prevalently loved Mojito, now a common favorite in many restaurants to accompany meals.

The Mojito features a rich blend of mint, lime, and rum which brings the nostalgia of the Caribbean of extended beaches and tropical air. It is no wonder that many consider the Mojito to be like paradise in a glass. We also have the fan-favorite, old-fashioned recipe that has stood the test of time and pleased many taste buds for generations, known as the classic old-fashioned cocktail recipe.

This drink features a perfect mix of bourbon, bitters, sugar, and a twist of citrus which brings back the days of elegant men in suits and classy women in sophisticated gowns going about their daily business and enjoying life as it comes. We also have the vodka cranberry and the timeless Martini that hints at subtle notes of refined elegance and bourbon that harmonize in perfect balance, epitomizing the cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Basically, cocktails have stood the test of time as an artful culinary combination to create a drink favored by liquor connoisseurs for generations.

Even with the many variations of cocktails we have today, the traditional cocktails are liquor legends that continue to captivate the palate and stir the imagination.

In the rest of this post, we will be looking at cocktails from a more traditional perspective to truly understand the base ingredients of the drink and how the modern favorites you so love came to be in our bars and restaurants today!

What is a Traditional Cocktail?

Old fashioned

We know what the classic cocktail drink is, thanks to our previous section. Now it comes down to what makes a classic cocktail a traditional one. Cocktails are a classic and iconic bunch that has gained popularity and recognition over the years thanks to their flexibility, accessibility, and ease of production.

All you need is a few ingredients that would go well together, and you have yourself a tasty cocktail glass. As a matter of fact, most modern cocktail recipes we have today were created accidentally when whoever was making them slipped a different ingredient into the traditional cocktail shaker.

However, traditional cocktails are known for their specific ingredients, techniques, and interesting history.

How to Make a Traditional Cocktail

Unlike how we have it today, traditional cocktails typically come with a specific recipe, ingredients and even techniques to be used to produce the flavored drink.

Anything out of that spectrum automatically raises the question of whether or not what you have in your glass is indeed a cocktail drink. The traditional cocktails are also known and loved for their specific flavor balance with a slight undertone that could go almost unnoticed depending on how it is taken.

As a result, cocktails were more of a cultural thing than a generic thing, and different cultures seemed to have their way of making the exact same drink. The variations in traditional cocktails, unlike how we have them now, were based on cultural differences and particular regional preferences.

Types of Traditional Cocktails

Old fashioned

An example of a traditional cocktail that was made this way is the Old Fashioned, of which the name already does justice to the old-fashioned recipe and gives an idea of how it came to be and why. This cocktail utilizes a rich blend of whiskey, which is a common liquor in many parts of the world. Sugar cubes, bitters, orange peel, and citrus zest are added to the mix to give it a distinct taste.

While this recipe is the standard traditional recipe for making the Old Fashioned, there were still variations in the taste and flavor of the cocktail. One of the reasons for this can be traced down to cultural choices. Whiskey, which is a primary ingredient utilized in the old-fashioned recipe, is of different types, and whiskey is also made in different ways depending on the particular region. Scottish whiskey is a lot tougher on the taste buds with a concentrated flavor.

These variations play out in the final taste of the drink. So while it is made in the same way, the taste and flavors could differ depending on regions and cultural choices. Another great example is the Martini cocktail which can be made with either gin or vodka with dry vermouth and an olive or lemon twist.

In some parts, they prefer to make whiskey cocktails and throw in gin to make their martini, and other parts might prefer the vodka base to make their Martini. The variations, however, do not stop there.

The vodka base for the martini could also be grain-based, potato-based, or fruit-based, which can also greatly alter the flavor of the vodka, which will, in turn, play into the taste of the cocktail when mixed with other ingredients in the cocktail shaker. To add just one more, just to make it clear, we have the infamous Margarita.

An astounding name is befitting for an elegant drink with just the perfect blend of tequila, lime juice, and orange liquor served in a lowball glass or over a large ice cube. This drink has graced galas and dinners for decades and continues to even till this day. However, different cultures have their own subtle yet tasty variations to this classic whiskey cocktail as well.

Which is Better: Traditional or Modern Cocktails?

Old fashioned

All of these cocktails listed above are traditional cocktails that have become staples in bars and restaurants all over the globe for both enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike. They have graced many tasting events and distilleries with their rich, well-tasting presence and have made a mark on every taste buds for decades.

While these drinks have stood their ground, they have been joined on the shelf of fame by modern cocktails which were derived as variations to these vintage drinks. Traditional cocktails provide a taste of the past and an opportunity to appreciate the craftsmanship and creativity that goes into mixology.

Here we will be looking into one of the oldest yet scintillating cocktail drinks that you can ever have the pleasure of tasting. Yes, you guessed right: the very best bourbon and classic old-fashioned recipe stirred drink. Keep reading to learn more about the ingredients that make up this infamous well fashioned drink recipe and why it tastes the way it does.

These favorite whiskey cocktails have become staples and are made in bars and restaurants around the world, enjoyed by both enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike. Traditional whiskey cocktails provide a taste of the past and an opportunity to appreciate the craftsmanship and creativity that goes into mixology.

How to Make an Old Fashioned Cocktail

The Old Fashioned is loved not just for its simple syrup distinct taste but its rich history as well, as it plays out one of the paths to the world of mixology and old fashioned cocktails as we know it today. Making an Old Fashioned is easy with the basic items of old fashioned ingredients that can be found in every bar, and you can decide to throw in a few little bitters or twist if you so desire. These include whiskey, bitters, sugar cube, orange peel, and vermouth.

Whether for a party, small get-together or to brighten up your mixology skills in time for an interview at your new bar job, or maybe you just want to make one just for the fun of it, here is something you don’t want to miss.

For the rest of this post, we’ll delve into the step-by-step process of creating the perfect Old Fashioned, allowing you to savor this timeless libation in the comfort of your own home.

Gather your Ingredients

There is no way to make an Old Fashioned without the right ingredients, and as we have rightly said before, the ingredients you select to make your cocktail will make all the difference on whether or not you have an Old Fashioned in your glass or something else.

To make your Old Fashioned the right, old fashioned way, you need two ounces of your favorite rye whiskey, one sugar cube, or alternatively, half a teaspoon of sugar, two to three dashes of Angostura bitters, and an orange peel. You can decide to go with a cherry peel instead of an orange peel. This addition is only for garnish purposes and is optional, which means not including orange peel in it does not make your cocktail less old fashioned.

For the equipment you need to make it happen, you need the basic necessities for a good drink mix. These include a sturdy tumbler or mixing glass, a muddler or wooden spoon used, a strainer, and an Old Fashioned or rocks glass. Now that you have all you need let us get right into the next step.

The Muddling Stage

It is time to throw in the ingredients one after the other, starting with little sugar; exactly a single sugar cube will do. What you do is throw the sugar cube into your mixing glass and follow it up with two to three dashes of Angostura bitters.

Using the muddler, you muddle loose sugar into the mixture until the sugar is fully dissolved. If you do not have a muddler, the back of the spoon will work just fine but will take longer to blend. This part of the process is essential when making the classic Old Fashioned cocktail. It releases the flavors of the bitters and infuses them into the cocktail, creating a harmonious blend of tastes.

Adding Whiskey

Allow your mixture to stand for a while so any particles of sugar that settled to the bottom mix in and dissolve into the bitters for the best possible results. It is vital to note that your choice of whiskey largely influences the final taste of your Old Fashioned cocktail.

Nonetheless, it all comes down to your personal preference and which does it for you, between bourbon or rye whiskey. Both options will definitely still give the Old Fashioned. If you are a bit confused, you can play around a little and add equal parts of each into the mix.

When you add whiskey to your mix of sugar and bitters, you should start to stir gently for approximately 30 seconds to allow the flavors to blend in perfectly together.

This process and the type of whiskey used give the same Old Fashioned signature taste that sets it apart from the rest on every other shelf.

The primary purpose of the slow stirring action is to ensure an adequate mix and proper dilution and integration of the ingredients.

The Garnish

three glasses of limeade with limes and jalapenos

Now that you have the mixture sitting pretty and tasty in a rye whiskey glass, perfectly balanced with the different flavors blending well with one another, it is time to work on the glass and the garnish, which of course, is a favorite step for most mixologists purely for the aesthetics.

Here you place a few ice cubes into your rock glass or Old Fashioned glass if you have one. Using the strainer, strain the mixture from the mixing glass into the glass with your ice cubes. What this step does is that it remove any solid particles from your drink so it goes down well and smoothly on your tongue.

To switch things up a little bit with a twist and added spice, you can throw in an orange slice, orange peel, or cherry. You will want to squeeze the orange slice or orange peel to express its oils, enhancing the aroma of the orange slice and lemon juice and adding depth to the drink.

The Final Touch

Now that your old fashioned drink is all set up and ready to go, it’s time to add ice for that final touch before enjoying your Old Fashioned Cocktail. To get the best results out of the drink, use a spoon to give a gentle stir before drinking.

Unlike other types of drink, a well-made old fashioned whiskey cocktail recipe is not one you down all at once but enjoy with a slow, gentle sip, allowing the rich flavors to play out on your taste buds. From the sweet touch of lemon peel and the sugar cubes to the depth of the bitters mixed, making a rich simple syrup coupled with the nostalgic blend of class from the whiskey cocktail, you have an Old Fashioned drink recipe to spice up any gathering, party, hangout, or dinner and maybe even a private time with books or a movie.


There are so many wonderful drinks out there, with some of the oldest ones still standing as some of the best ones.

The art of mixology starts with the old fashioned ingredients first, mixing in the right ingredients with the right technique, and ends with throwing in just a few notes and a little spark of your own into the mix to add that signature taste.

Now that we have put together a recipe and all the cooking tips you need to know to make the perfect whiskey drink, you can enjoy the satisfaction of not just tasting one but making one as well with this helpful guide and standard recipe.

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