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Recipe: The Old Fashioned Cocktail is a Masterpiece of Simplicity

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By House & Garden South Africa | October 18, 2023 | Recipes

The Old Fashioned is reminiscent of a simpler time in cocktail making history – a time when the concept of a cocktail was a lot more straightforward. In the early 19th century, a cocktail was simply a balanced blend of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters – no garnishes, just pure, simplistic enjoyment.

As the years rolled by, however, bartenders began experimenting with exotic ingredients, creating innovative concoctions with elaborate presentations. Even as the cocktail scene transformed, there were still those who craved the unadulterated flavours of the traditional cocktail. They would sit at the bar and request that their drink be made ‘The old fashioned way’ – and so the name stuck. Even as the cocktail scene continued to evolve, the Old Fashioned endured. In recent years, the popularity of this timeless cocktail was revived. Bartenders revisited the classic recipe, adding their own modern twists that celebrated its traditional essence.

The Old Fashioned is a reminder that, in a world of ever-evolving trends, there's something beautiful and comforting about simplicity, tradition, and a well-crafted drink. One of the integral ingredients of the Old Fashioned is Angostura bitters, which began almost two hundred years ago in 1824, and has a bold history of flavour and design. Since Angostura founder Dr. Johann Siegert first produced aromatic bitters in the city of Angostura in Venezuela, it has been recognised by the granting of Royal Warrants of Appointment to the royal households of Great Britain, Prussia, Spain and Sweden. But, Angostura orange bitters was launched in 2007 and is made from its own special recipe, with a complex blend of tropical oranges and spices. Here’s how to make the classic Old Fashioned:

Old Fashioned Ingredients

60ml bourbon

7ml demerara syrup ( 1 part Demerara sugar, 1 part hot water. Stir to dissolve),

2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters

Orange peel



Build in a rocks glass, stir with ice to incorporate ingredients. Add ice. Garnish with a long orange peel.