What Does An Old Fashioned Taste Like?

by Michael

Old Fashioned is one of the oldest, most delicious cocktails.

It’s prepared with a muddled sugar cube, whisky, water, bitters, and ice served in a rocks glass and garnished with orange zest and cherry.

The original recipe of Old Fashioned includes whisky, usually rye or bourbon, and its taste depends on the type of whisky you’re using.

The sugar gives a sweet flavor, while the bitters give the aromatic, slightly bitter, and slightly spicy flavor with hints of cinnamon and cloves to the cocktail.

Therefore, you will taste the rich and strong whisky flavor with the first sip, then the caramel and orange flavor will shine, followed by sweet, slightly bitter, and aromatic flavors with hints of cinnamon and cloves.

Let’s learn more about Old Fashioned cocktail.

What’s The Taste Of An Old Fashioned?

The taste of Old Fashioned depends on the type of the spirit and other ingredients used to make this cocktail.

To understand better the taste of an Old Fashioned, let’s go through each ingredient of this cocktail. That way, you will know what to expect when ordering or preparing it at home.

First, you need to have a rocks glass, also known as old-fashioned bigger or smaller glass, depending on if you want to add ice.

Sugar gives the cocktail a sweet flavor and mellows the spirit’s strong flavor. At the same time, the bitters provide a lovely aromatic, slightly bitter-spicy flavor with hints of cinnamon and cloves.

And finally, the essential ingredient is the spirit. You can use bourbon to obtain a sweeter and lighter flavor with caramel, vanilla, and oak notes or rye whisky if you want your cocktail to have a stronger, dryer, and spicier flavor.

Decorate with orange peels that will provide a fresh orange flavor to your delicious cocktail.

Combine all these flavors, and you will get the taste of an Old Fashioned.

old fashioned cocktail

Can I Make Other Cocktails With Old-Fashioned?

Old-fashioned is a great base for other cocktails. You can mix it with many different ingredients to get various flavors.

Some of them are New Old Fashioned with added peach slices and blackberries; Brandy Old Fashioned made with brandy instead of whisky; Butternut Old Fashioned with roasted butternut and maple syrup; Coffee Old Fashioned with espresso,crème the cacao liqueur, and orange bitters and many more variations of this great cocktail.

Other variations of Old Fashioned include spirits like brandy, rum, tequila, absinthe, gin, and cognac.

You can make Old Fashioned with your favorite spirit and add other ingredients, but that will not be the original Old Fashioned cocktail.

It’s only up to your taste what kind of cocktail you will prepare.

Also Check: What Does Rum Taste Like?

Is An Old Fashioned Sweet?

An Old Fashioned is sweet but not too sweet because it contains sugar and bitters.

Usually, a sugar cube or granulated sugar is used for Old Fashioned, dissolved with water and bitters. The sugar is muddled until it’s fully dissolved into a syrup, then a spirit is added.

Another ingredient, simple syrup, is also used instead of sugar cube because it dissolves better and faster. The bitters, ice, water, and the spirit balance the sweet flavor of the sugar and make the Old Fashioned with just the right amount of sweetness.

How Would You Describe An Old Fashioned Drink?

Old Fashioned drink is an old traditional cocktail invented in the 19th century.

It’s made with a muddled sugar cube, whisky, water, bitters, and ice served in a rocks glass and garnished with orange zest and cherry.

Old Fashioned is a potent cocktail with around 32% ABV.

It’s slightly sweet, aromatized with the bitters, and garnished with the orange peel for a nice citrus flavor.

When the ice in the glass melts, it dilutes and softens the strong taste of the whisky, making it more pleasant to drink.

Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail, but it is still popular because it’s unique.

Is an Old Fashioned Sweet Or Bitter?

Old Fashioned is more sweet than bitter because the bitter flavor of the bitters is a good balance for the sweet flavor of the sugar.

Correctly made, Old Fashioned has a well-balanced sweet and slightly bitter flavor. It is not too sweet or too bitter because all the ingredients in this cocktail used in the right proportions give a delicious flavor to Old Fashioned.

Sugar has a significant impact on the flavor of this cocktail. If you add too much, the cocktail will be very sweet.

At the same time, smaller amounts of sugar will make you taste the strong flavor of the spirit and the bitter flavor that bitters provide.

Therefore, you need to stick to the recipe and use the right amounts of sugar to get a cocktail with a well-balanced flavor. You can use sugar cube, granulated sugar, or simple syrup as a sweetener in Old Fashioned.

The latter dissolves better than the former but is slightly less sweet. Therefore, you must use more. The slightly bitter flavor in the Old Fashioned comes from the added bitters.

However, besides the bitterness, they also give a slightly spicy flavor with hints of cloves and cinnamon to the cocktail.

Bitters are added to enhance and balance the other flavors in the Old Fashioned. Therefore, your cocktail will get more complex, deeper, and well-balanced flavors.

Are Old Fashioned Drinks Strong?

Old Fashioned drinks are strong without ice, but their strength also depends on the type of the spirit and its alcohol content.

Old Fashioned drinks are usually made with rye whisky or bourbon.

You can make them with other spirits, but you will get different flavors and cocktails. Old Fashioned is not the right option if you want to drink a weak cocktail because it has around 32% ABV, even if it’s slightly diluted with water and melting ice.

As a comparison, straight whisky has 40% ABV.

You can use rye whisky if you want an Old Fashioned with a stronger, dryer, spicier flavor. While for an Old Fashioned with sweeter flavor and hints of vanilla, caramel, and oak, bourbon is the right spirit for you.

What Drink Is Similar To An Old Fashioned?

Old Fashioned is a traditional cocktail that’s simple to make with a few ingredients, but its flavor is unique and challenging to replicate.

You can find many drinks similar to Old Fashioned with ingredients such as whisky, bitters, and sugar. However, that’s where the similarities end, and other elements contribute to their different flavors.

One of the similar drinks to Old Fashioned is Manhattan, followed by the Mint Julep, Roosevelt, Vieux Carre, Brandy Old Fashioned, Negroni, Sazerac, Absolut Negroni, Young Laddie, and others.

Does An Old Fashioned Have A Cherry?

The original recipe of Old Fashioned didn’t have a cherry as a garnish.

In the later variations of Old Fashioned, orange zest and cherry were added, and they are still used in the new variations of Old Fashioned. Some recipes use only orange zest, while others use orange zest and cherry.

There are also recipes where the orange zest and the cherry are muddled in the glass instead of using them as a garnish. This practice of muddling fruit in the glass for Old Fashioned began in the 1990s, and some recipes still use it.

One of the best ingredients that pair well with the flavor of the Old Fashioned is the orange zest. It is best to use only the orange zest, not a piece of orange.

Cut a piece of zest with a knife or vegetable peeler and squeeze the orange oils into the glass to mix with the other ingredients. Leave the zest as a garnish and add the cherry. Adding the cherry as a garnish is optional.

Some of the best cherries to use in the  Old Fashioned are Luxardo maraschino cherries. Just make sure that the cherry is used only as a garnish, and don’t muddle it to make a mess in the glass and destroy the flavor of the Old Fashioned.

It is better to use the cherry in an Old Fashioned made with rye whisky to give a nice sweetness to the spicy flavor of the spirit as a final touch. While the Old Fashioned made with bourbon is already sweet and doesn’t need the additional sweetness.

But if you want to add a cherry, go ahead; after all, it is your drink, and you decide what to add to make it more flavorful.

Also Check: How Much is a Dash of Bitters


Old Fashioned is one delicious cocktail; you only have to make it properly to enjoy its flavor.

Some basic rules you must follow: using enough sugar and ensuring it’s completely dissolved before adding the spirit; Otherwise, you will get a potent and bitter-tasting cocktail.

Bitters are also crucial for the flavor of this cocktail as they balance the sweet taste of the sugar. And finally, the spirit.

Use bourbon or rye whisky, depending on the flavor you want to get. Garnish with orange zest and cherry, and cheers.

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