The Perfect Old Fashioned Cocktail

5 from 28 votes
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When it comes to a classic cocktail, nothing is more popular than an Old Fashioned. It is the predominant go-to cocktail on almost every drink menu around the world and for good reason; it’s one of the best whiskey cocktails out there. There’s more than one way to make it but if you want the perfect old fashioned cocktail, this is the recipe to follow.

Old Fashioned cocktail in an old fashioned glass garnish with cherry and orange
The Old Fashioned; a simple and delicious cocktail that has stood the test of time.

Why is this the Perfect Old Fashioned?

Before I explain how I make these old fashioned’s and why they are the best, I’d be remiss to not point you to my recipe for a traditional 1960’s old fashioned. While the 1960’s method is another great way to make one, it relies on the use of a sugar cube and those super cheap maraschino cherries you get in bright red syrup (and frankly, they just aren’t as good as the ones used in this recipe).

This drink is the perfect old fashioned because you are using quality ingredients, which I’ve outlined below. I’ve made these drinks for several years using all kinds of different whiskies and bourbons. I’ve tried different types of cherries (even excluding them entirely) and based on my experimentation, this combination of ingredients cannot be beat. If you want another whiskey cocktail, try a Scofflaw cocktail, it’s another classic.

the Old Fashioned Ingredients: Canadian Club whiskey, Luxardo cherries, Scrappy's bitters and an orange.
The ingredients needed include: Canadian Club whiskey, Luxardo cherries, Scrappy’s bitters and an orange.

The Perfect Old Fashioned Ingredients

  • Canadian Club Whiskey – I have what I’d consider to be a pretty large whiskey collection and I’ve made these drinks with most of them but nothing touches Canadian Club’s sweetness and smoothness when you use it in this drink. In fact, it’s the only time I use Canadian Club exclusively.
  • Luxardo Maraschino Cherries – Do NOT use anything other than Luxardo cherries if you want your drink to be perfect. Cheaper maraschino cherries are not suitable for a proper old fashioned.
  • An orange – Make sure the orange is washed as you’ll be slicing it and muddling it in your drink.
  • Scrappy’s Bitters – Here’s where you can mix things up a bit if you like. I like to use Scrappy’s bitters but Angostura Bitters or other bitter brands are fine to try as well. This one just happens to be my personal preference.

Making the Old Fashioned

To begin, gather your ingredients together and follow the steps below:

  1. In an old fashioned glass, place a slice of orange in the bottom of the glass and muddle. The goal here is to bring out the juice in the orange so be sure to muddle well (but not so much that you break the slice up).
  2. Using a spoon, scoop out a cherry from your jar of Luxardo maraschino cherries. A little bit of syrup with the cherry is OK but only a drop or two as you don’t want to overpower the drink. Some bartenders recommend muddling the cherry but I find that this can make the drink a bit too sweet for my liking. If you wish to try this, go ahead and experiment.
  3. Place a large ice cube in the glass on top of the orange slice.
  4. Add two dashes of Scrappy’s Bitters onto the top of the ice cube (I do it this way so I can see the amount being added before I add in the whiskey. You don’t want to over-power the drink so two dashes is plenty. If you accidentally add too much, you can start over without wasting whiskey. I would, however, recommend saving the cherry as they are fairly expensive.
  5. Pour 2-3 ounces of whiskey over the ice cube (I find that 3 ounces works best for this drink as it is intended to be fairly strong but also enjoyed over a long period and not consumed quickly).
  6. Serve and enjoy!

close up Old Fashioned cocktail in an old fashioned glass garnish with cherry and orange

If you like this Old Fashioned, try my other cocktail recipes such as:

The Irish Sour – The Perfect St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail!

Sloe Gin Fizz Recipe

Mind Eraser Drink


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The Perfect Old Fashioned

Learn how to make the perfect old fashioned including which ingredients and brands to use.
5 from 28 votes
Prep Time
5 minutes
Total Time
5 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 3 ounces Whiskey Canadian Club
  • 1 slice orange
  • 1 cherry Luxardo Maraschino brand
  • 2 dashes bitters Scrappy's Bitters


  • Place orange slice in bottom of old fashioned glass and muddle to release the juices.
  • Add a Luxardo Maraschino cherry to the glass along with a large ice cube.
  • Add two dashes of Scrappy's Bitters on top of the ice cube.
  • Pour whiskey over top of ice cube.
  • Stir, garnish and serve.

Recipe Notes

Always use Luxardo brand cherries and Canadian Club is you want the perfect old fashioned.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 234kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin C: 7mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Richard says

    I love Luxardo cherries and agree with those who say they are worth the premium. That said, I don’t think a cherry has any place in an old fashioned. The old-fashioned recipe originated in KY in the late 1800’s and did not have a cherry. Mnahattan’s obviously have a cherry.

  2. Scott says

    Your directions are very unclear. Do you even bartend?

  3. David says

    Luxardo is simply a brand and wayyy overpriced because they have the market in their pocket.

    • Mike Johnston says

      I disagree. I’ve tried a ton of brands and nothing is as good.5 stars

  4. amy says

    what KIND of bitters? there are different flavors when i looked them up. i’m a new Old Fashion fan!

    • Mike Johnston says

      Hi Amy

      Either Fee Brothers Aromatic or Angostura, I prefer the former. Welcome to the fold!5 stars

    • Mike Johnston says

      Hi Mary

      They are federal glasses from the 50’s. The style is called Atomic Amoeba Boomerang and you can find them on ebay and easy.5 stars

      • Mary says

        THANK YOU! BTW – love your recipe…just mixed one up! Cheers!

  5. Luxardo bartender says

    This is not an old fashioned. Just a terrible, horrorish way to ruin one

    • Mike Johnston says

      Funny, it tastes like one, looks like one, is made like one. Guess I’m crazy!5 stars

    • Scott says

      You are correct. This isn’t even close to one. Sugar? Orange zest? Hello?

  6. Mike Johnston says

    Thanks Eileen!

    Karlynn picked them up for me in Calgary. I know you can get them on Amazon but I’d be willing to be the Italian Center would carry them.5 stars

  7. Eileen says

    Hey, Mr. Magpie! I can’t wait to make this old fashioned cocktail. I also live in Alberta but I don’t have a clue about where to buy the Luxardo maraschino cherries. Any advice? Also, I really enjoy your cocktail recipes and Mrs. Magpie is no slouch with her great recipes. Thanks!

    • Filip says

      Not sure where in alberta but the Silk Road in edmonton has the cherries.

      • Mr. Kitchen Magpie says

        Totally right Filip! I actually just did a huge order from them and another place called The Cherry Store in Toronto(?) and they were quite quick to ship.5 stars

    • Ilona Weber says

      This was delicious! I muddled the cherries and used 7 shots of orange bitters! Thank you for the recipe!

      • Whiskey Sipper says

        Found your recipe. Haven’t tried it. Might. But agree with others; think it is missing simple syrup. I don’t usually but that might be worth muddling your orange slice with.
        To the bartenders out there, give the guy a break. Instructions were pretty clear cut to me, a non-bartender.
        A couple of summers ago I ordered an Old Fashioned at a high-end restaurant/bar and the “professional” bartender asked if I wanted Sprite as my sweetener. Really? I had a beer instead.

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