The Quintessential Guide to the Best Whiskey for Old Fashioned

Ah, the Old Fashioned! A cocktail that’s stood the test of time and yet, still sends ripples of excitement across the bartop. It’s a drink that exudes both class and comfort, with its rich amber hues and the promising warmth of a good whiskey. But hold on a sec! Is it just any whiskey that makes the cut? Of course not! The heart of a perfect Old Fashioned lies in the right choice of whiskey. So, let’s embark on a spirited journey to uncover the best whiskey for Old Fashioned. Shall we?

A Gentle Refresher: What is an Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned, in its simplicity, is a harmonious blend of:

  • Whiskey
  • Sugar or a sugar cube
  • A couple of dashes of bitters
  • Ice
  • A twist of citrus, often orange

It’s the whiskey that dominates this ensemble, setting the tone and defining the character of the drink.

The Whiskey Lineup: Best Whiskey for Old Fashioned

1. Bourbon: The Classic Choice

  • Why it works: Smooth, full-bodied, with a touch of sweetness; that’s your classic Bourbon for you! Perfect for those who like their Old Fashioned with a hint of caramel and vanilla.
  • Top pick: Buffalo Trace – Affordable yet full of character.

2. Rye Whiskey: The Spicy Kick

  • Why it works: If you’re in for a more robust, spicier Old Fashioned, Rye is your go-to! With its peppery notes, it gives the cocktail a sharp edge.
  • Top pick: Bulleit Rye – A true icon in the rye realm.

3. Scotch: The Sophisticated Choice

  • Why it works: Scotch, especially a single malt, introduces smoky and peaty nuances. Not for everyone, but an absolute treat for some!
  • Top pick: Glenmorangie Original – A touch of elegance.

Tips for Crafting the Perfect Old Fashioned

  • Ice Matters: Always use large ice cubes. They melt slower, ensuring a well-chilled drink without excessive dilution.
  • Stir, Don’t Shake: Maintain the clarity and elegance of the drink by giving it a good stir.
  • Garnish Right: A twist of orange or a cherry can enhance the aroma and taste.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use a different type of sugar?
    Absolutely! While white sugar cubes are traditional, many bartenders use brown sugar or even maple syrup for a deeper flavor profile.
  2. What are bitters?
    Think of them as the seasoning of the cocktail world. They’re concentrated infusions that add depth and complexity to the drink.
  3. How important is the garnish?
    While it might seem superficial, the right garnish can elevate the drink, enhancing its aroma and flavor.


The best whiskey for Old Fashioned is subjective, relying heavily on personal preferences. Whether you’re a Bourbon aficionado, a Rye rebel, or a Scotch sophisticate, the essence is to enjoy the process and the drink. Remember, it’s not just about the whiskey, but the memories you create with each sip. So, the next time you’re whipping up an Old Fashioned, ask yourself – is it just a drink, or is it an experience?