Mixology at Home: The Old Fashioned

Here’s an original recipe, plus a great-tasting version to try
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 8:46 AM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Every home mixologist needs a backup when memory fails. The internet is today’s source for any drink recipe but some drink recipe books are also good resources.

I still use a 50-year-old copy of Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide. Some bar books are great conversation pieces over the drinks you make. If you have a murder mystery evening, why not crack open the drink recipe book “Mixology and Murder.”

Once I get a recipe I like, I scribble it down in a card file. It’s easier to flip through the file than thumb through a book. This also keeps your recipe books in good shape. That 50-year-old bartender’s guide? Now worth about $150.

As for that great drink you got at the bar last night, some bartenders have no problem sharing their recipe or at least what’s in the drink. Then you get to experiment at home recreating it.

This brings us to this week’s drink, the Old Fashioned. One of the original recipes (from Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide) is at the bottom of this story but first up is a version of the Underground Old Fashioned, served at the Las Vegas Mob Museum’s speakeasy. And yes,, there is even a drink recipe book titled “Drink Like A Mobster.”

Underground Old Fashioned Ingredients:

  • Two ounces of good bourbon. Hint - if you wouldn’t sip that bourbon by itself, you shouldn’t use it in an Old Fashioned!
  • One ounce of brown sugar syrup (which is the same as simple syrup but instead of cane sugar you use brown sugar).
  • Two to three dashes of Angostura bitters (to taste).
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract (to taste, I use about a half teaspoon).


  • Add ingredients to a mixing glass, fill with ice and stir for about 30 seconds.
  • Strain drink into rocks glass with a large ice cube (Why a large ice cube? It melts slower, avoiding that watered-down drink).
  • Garnish with a cherry.

Here’s the traditional Old Fashioned:

  • 2 ounces of bourbon or rye (spicier flavor).
  • 1 sugar cube or a teaspoon of sugar. Can use ¼ ounce of simple syrup instead.
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters (to your taste).
  • Cherry or Orange Peel to garnish (tips on garnish on a later segment).


  • Muddle the sugar and bitters in a mixing glass (any glass works).
  • Add ice, then your bourbon or rye.
  • Stir gently for about 20 to 30 seconds (this will add just enough water; never shake a booze-forward cocktail).
  • Strain drink into rocks glass with a large ice cube.
  • Add garnish and relax with a granddaddy of cocktails.

Copyright 2022 KEVN. All rights reserved.