The Old(er) Fashioned

Award-winning bartender Dushan Zaric explores the evolution of this classic American-whiskey recipe

Up until a few years ago, it was a truly rare occurrence for a customer to walk into my bar and order an Old Fashioned. As soon as I’d recover from the surprise, I would access the Rolodex of recipes in my mind and set out to fix the drink as I was taught.
I started by muddling the sugar and bitters with an orange wheel, brandied cherries, and lemon twist. A splash of club soda and some whiskey, and it was done.
As trends tend to follow a merciless cycle of recurrence, slowly the cocktail has made its comeback, and man, what a comeback it is! Now guests of all ages request Old Fashioneds every night, and it’s one of the best-selling classic drinks at my bar Employees Only in New York.
But with its resurgence in popularity has come a debate as to how you should make an Old Fashioned. While many like it with muddled fruit (which was probably added to the concoction during Prohibition), others prefer the even-earlier recipe that calls for only a fruit garnish. In fact, “Old Fashioned” originally referred to the primeval definition of a cocktail: a mix of liquor, sugar, water, and bitters.
No matter which version you like, if you’re out, please specify the way you want it. There’s nothing old-fashioned about that.

— Dushan Zaric,

Get Dushan Zaric's recipes for the classic and contemporary Old Fashioned on