What Does An Old Fashioned Cocktail Drink Taste Like?


One of the oldest classic cocktails around is the Old Fashioned. If you have never heard of it, you must have been living under a rock without anyone talking about alcohol!

Just kidding. But what we can’t kid about is how elegant and traditional the Old Fashioned is, being a staple in many bars. For those who haven’t tried it yet, you’re probably wondering: What does an Old Fashioned taste like?

Even those who have had a glass of an Old Fashioned probably wonder what the authentic taste is really like to appreciate it more! We answer your question below, so read on!

What is an Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail created by muddling sugar with bitters, then adding whisky or brandy, and finishing it off with a twist of citrus rind. It’s traditionally served in a short, round glass. (*)

  • Fun fact: The glass used for this cocktail is an Old Fashioned glass, which was named after the drink. Old Fashioned began as a whisky cocktail in the 19th century, and it has changed since then.  

The Old Fashioned was a traditionally “manly” cocktail that brings out whisky’s flavor.

You can find this in many bars, where you can have your order customized according to your tastebuds.

what does an old-fashioned taste like?

image of Old Fashioned Taste Like

When you take the first sip off the Old Fashioned, the first thing you may notice is the lovely aroma of orange mixed with caramel and spice notes from your favorite whisky. You’ll probably have some aromatic additions, thanks to the bitters.

Once it settles on your tongue, the cold and slight dilution tames the ethanol bite. The subtle sweetness mellows the flavor—the bitters round the flavor prevent the sweetness from cloying. Moreover, you’ll taste hints of spices and botanicals like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, among others.

Continue sipping the drink, and you notice the flavor evolving. The whisky starts to dilute because of the ice melting and added sugar dissolving. The drink mellows even further to smooth rough edges and relax the sharpness.

Once you reach the last sip, there will be a pop of sweetness from any undissolved sugar with some spice from bitters and warmth from the last of the whisky. Hopefully, there is still some orange aroma from the twist! You’ll be left with a refreshing note, probably leaving you wanting more.

Did that all sound very technical? Some people say it’s like a sweetened whiskey with hints of bitters and spices to balance out the sweetness.

  • Fun fact: People from Wisconsin love their Old Fashioned so much and have their own preference, the Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet. That means it goes heavier on Angostura bitters! (*)

Frequently Asked Questions

For those who have any questions left regarding the Old Fashioned, continue reading!

1. What’s the difference between an Old Fashioned and Manhattan?

The Old Fashioned and Manhattan are whisky-based cocktails, and simple drinks meant to bring out the liqueur’s flavor. What makes them different is how it’s sweetened. The Manhattan is sweetened using sweet vermouth, while the Old Fashioned uses simple syrup.

You can also tell the difference by how the drinks are garnished. Old Fashioned cocktails are garnished with an orange peel. In contrast, the Manhattan is garnished with a brandied cherry and maybe a hint of cherry juice. And finally, Old Fashioned is served on a giant ice sphere while the Manhattan is served straight up.

2. Can I make Old Fashioned myself?

Yes, it’s possible to make Old Fashioned yourself! You can find numerous recipes online to start, and while the process may sound complicated, practice makes perfect. Here’s an excellent Old Fashioned recipe from PBS you can refer to! (*)

Fun fact: If you’ll make Old Fashioned using brandy, use Peychaud bitters rather than Angostura. Make sure you use high-quality ingredients to truly get the best flavors and experience.

Wrapping It Up

We hope we have answered your question, “what does an Old Fashioned taste like?” If you believe this cocktail speaks to your soul, order it the next time you’re out drinking with friends, or make it yourself! Have fun and enjoy your cocktails!

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