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How to Order an Old Fashioned: A Confident and Clear Guide

thewhiskylady - 2023-12-11
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How to Order an Old Fashioned

When it comes to ordering a classic cocktail like an Old Fashioned, it’s important to know what you’re doing. While it may seem simple enough to just ask the bartender for an Old Fashioned, there are actually a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the drink you want. Whether you’re new to the world of cocktails or you’re a seasoned pro, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to order an Old Fashioned like a pro.

Understanding the Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for over a century. It is a simple yet sophisticated drink that is perfect for any occasion. In this section, we will explore the history of the Old Fashioned, its key ingredients, and the importance of glassware.

History of the Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is believed to have originated in the late 1800s. It was originally known as the Whiskey Cocktail and was made with sugar, water, bitters, and whiskey. Over time, the recipe evolved, and the name was changed to the Old Fashioned. Today, the Old Fashioned is a popular cocktail that is enjoyed all over the world.

Key Ingredients

The key ingredients in an Old Fashioned are whiskey, sugar, bitters, and water. The type of whiskey used can vary, but most people prefer to use bourbon. The sugar can be white or brown, and the bitters can be Angostura or any other type of bitters. The water is used to dilute the drink and can be added in small amounts.

Importance of Glassware

The glassware used to serve an Old Fashioned is crucial to the overall experience. The traditional glassware used is a lowball glass, also known as an Old Fashioned glass. This type of glass is short and wide, allowing the drink to be served with a large ice cube. The large ice cube helps to dilute the drink slowly, allowing the flavors to develop over time. It also keeps the drink cold without watering it down too quickly.

Preparing to Order

Before ordering an Old Fashioned, there are a few things to consider. This section will cover two important aspects of preparing to order: choosing the right venue and bar etiquette basics.

Choosing the Right Venue

Not all bars are created equal when it comes to ordering an Old Fashioned. Some bars specialize in craft cocktails and will have a more extensive whiskey selection, while others may not have the necessary ingredients or experience to make a proper Old Fashioned. It’s important to do some research beforehand to find a bar that is known for its cocktails and has a good reputation.

Bar Etiquette Basics

When ordering an Old Fashioned, it’s important to follow some basic bar etiquette to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be polite and patient. Bartenders are busy and may not be able to make your drink immediately.
  • Know what you want. Look at the menu beforehand or do some research on what goes into an Old Fashioned so you can order with confidence.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re not sure about something, ask the bartender for clarification.
  • Tip generously. Bartenders work hard and rely on tips to make a living, so be sure to show your appreciation for their hard work.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can prepare yourself to order an Old Fashioned with confidence and ease.

The Old Fashioned cocktailphoto credit:

Ordering the Drink

When ordering an Old Fashioned, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that the bartender makes the drink to your liking.

Communicating with the Bartender

The first step in ordering an Old Fashioned is to communicate clearly with the bartender. Specify the type of whiskey you want, whether it’s bourbon, rye, or another type. If you’re not sure what to choose, don’t be afraid to ask the bartender for a recommendation. Additionally, let the bartender know how you want your drink to taste. Do you prefer it sweeter or more bitter? Should it be strong or mild? Communicating these preferences will help the bartender make a drink that you’ll enjoy.

Customizing Your Old Fashioned

One of the great things about an Old Fashioned is that it can be customized to suit your tastes. Some people prefer to add a splash of soda water to their drink to make it less strong, while others like to use a different type of bitters to give the drink a unique flavor. You can also experiment with different types of sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup, to give your Old Fashioned a different taste.

Ordering a Classic Old Fashioned

If you prefer to stick to the classic recipe, simply order an Old Fashioned with whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a twist of citrus. The bartender will typically muddle a sugar cube with a few dashes of bitters, add a splash of water, and mix in the whiskey. They will then garnish the drink with a twist of orange or lemon peel.

Remember to be clear and specific when ordering your Old Fashioned, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations of the drink. By communicating your preferences and customizing the drink to your liking, you can enjoy a delicious and satisfying Old Fashioned every time.

After Ordering

Once the Old Fashioned is delivered, the drinker should take a moment to appreciate the appearance and aroma of the cocktail. The garnish, whether it be a cherry or orange twist, will add a pop of color to the drink. The aroma of the whiskey, combined with the bitters and sugar, will create a pleasant and inviting scent.

Tasting Notes to Expect

The first sip of an Old Fashioned will be a combination of sweet and spicy flavors. The sweetness comes from the sugar and any fruit that has been muddled in the drink. The spiciness comes from the bitters and the whiskey itself. As the drinker continues to sip, the flavors will become more complex and nuanced. The individual notes of the whiskey will become more apparent, as will the subtle flavors of the bitters and sugar.

Enjoying the Cocktail Responsibly

It is important to remember that an Old Fashioned is a strong cocktail. The whiskey in the drink can have a high alcohol content, so it is important to drink responsibly. Sipping the cocktail slowly and taking small sips can help prolong the enjoyment of the drink and prevent overconsumption. Additionally, drinking water alongside the cocktail can help to prevent dehydration and lessen the effects of the alcohol.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential ingredients in an Old Fashioned cocktail?

An Old Fashioned cocktail is a classic drink that has been around for over a century. The essential ingredients in an Old Fashioned are whiskey, bitters, sugar, and water. The whiskey used can be either bourbon or rye, but traditionally rye whiskey is used. The bitters used are usually Angostura bitters, and the sugar can be either granulated sugar or simple syrup. The water is used to dilute the drink and can be either still or sparkling.

Which type of whiskey is recommended for a classic Old Fashioned?

As mentioned before, either bourbon or rye whiskey can be used to make an Old Fashioned cocktail. However, if you prefer a punchier Old Fashioned with a hint of spice, rye whiskey is the way to go. It is recommended to use a high-quality whiskey to make a classic Old Fashioned.

Can you suggest a professional way to order an Old Fashioned at a bar?

When ordering an Old Fashioned at a bar, it is important to be clear and concise with your order. Start by specifying the type of whiskey you want, followed by any adjustments you would like to make to the drink. For example, “I would like a rye whiskey Old Fashioned with a sugar cube and an orange twist.” It is also recommended to avoid making any unnecessary requests or modifications to the drink.

What is the average price range for an Old Fashioned at a bar?

The price of an Old Fashioned cocktail at a bar can vary depending on the location and quality of the establishment. On average, an Old Fashioned can cost anywhere from $10 to $20. However, some high-end bars may charge more for a premium Old Fashioned made with rare or aged whiskey.

Is an Old Fashioned cocktail considered a strong drink?

An Old Fashioned cocktail is typically considered a strong drink due to the high alcohol content of the whiskey used. However, the addition of sugar and water can help balance out the drink and make it more palatable. It is important to drink responsibly and in moderation, especially when consuming strong cocktails like the Old Fashioned.


Ordering an Old Fashioned can be a delightful experience for anyone who loves classic cocktails. By following the tips mentioned in this article, one can confidently order an Old Fashioned and enjoy the rich flavors and elegant presentation of this iconic drink.

It is important to note that ordering an Old Fashioned can vary depending on the bar, the bartender, and the region. However, knowing the basic ingredients and the proper way to order can help one get the desired drink.

When ordering an Old Fashioned, one should start by checking if the bar serves it. If the Old Fashioned is not on the menu, one can ask the bartender to make it using the basic ingredients of sugar, bitters, whiskey, and garnish. One can also customize the drink by specifying the type of whiskey, the sweetness level, and the garnish. By following these simple steps, one can enjoy a perfect Old Fashioned every time.

Related Posts

If you’re interested in learning more about whiskey, then you might want to check out some of these articles from The Whisky Lady. Here are a few related posts to get you started:

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