Cocktail Recipe: Rye/Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Here is the recipe for a Rye or Bourbon Old-Fashioned, as specified in Robert Simonson’s book The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore.

This is the classic, no-frills version of the drink, with no muddled fruit or soda water or any of that jazz. Just a good, solid cocktail, made in the “old-fashioned” style.

As Simonson describes, using bourbon will make for a mellower and sweeter cocktail, whereas rye will give you more spice and kick.

For bourbon, Simonson recommends Elijah Craig 12-year-old and Henry McKenna single barrel bonded. For rye, he suggests Rittenhouse 100-proof or Bulleit rye.

Rye/Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Rye/Bourbon Old-Fashioned


  • 2 oz. Rye or Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Orange Twist, for garnish


  1. Muddle the sugar, bitters, and a barspoon of warm water at the bottom of an Old-Fashioned glass until the sugar is disolved. Add the rye or bourbon. Stir. Add one large chunk of ice and stir until chilled. Twist a large piece of orange zest over the drink and drop into the glass.


Recipe courtesy of Robert Simonson's The Old-Fashioned.

Photo courtesy of Nik Virrey, Liberty Bar, Seattle, WA.