Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail

MDB Cocktails: A Classic Old Fashioned

Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail
Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail
Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail

The Musings:

What’s your evening drink of choice? This winter, two ounces of rye whiskey with a splash of ginger ale and a splash of bitters kept me warm and toasty. It’s fairly close to a classic old fashioned, but not quite the recipe you’re going to read about today. The old fashioned seems to be having a revival these days with cocktail culture, and you don’t need to go far to find a bartender playing with the classic recipe with flavours like apple and chai.

I was chatting with my mom about my plans to do this recipe, and she mentioned the kind of old fashioned cocktails my Poppa used to make for my Nana. Strangely enough, his old fashioneds were built with rye whiskey, a splash of ginger ale, and a splash of bitters.

When I heard about my late grandfather’s signature creation, I was overwhelmed with a moment of connection. I’m sure this is a relatively common way to make an old fashioned, but since I happened upon this particular combination before I heard of his method, I couldn’t help but smile.

My Poppa passed away when I was in grade three, and I think about him often. I get the sense that we would get along really well if he were around today. My Nana once told me that my playful, sarcastic personality reminded her of my Poppa.

I was a little scared of him as a kid, not quite understanding his humour. I will never forget the look on his face when I dared sit in his special chair. The same look from my own dad makes me giggle nowadays, but as a kid I didn’t get the whole “my chair” thing and was aching to please.

I get the sense that my Poppa was as much a fan of a certain swear word as I am, and I imagine the two of us would be joyful drinking buddies if he were still around, his barbs constantly one-upping mine. I think he would be proud of the whiskey drinking, cake making, shit disturber I turned out to be.
Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail
Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail

The Recipe:

This particular recipe for a classic old fashioned uses a simple syrup instead of ginger ale. It’s a very approachable drink if you’re not well-versed in whiskey (I’m not) as the simple syrup and bitters take away the sharp punch of the alcohol. It’s still quite strong, though, and if you haven’t tried a whiskey drink like this before, I suggest going ahead and adding a splash of ginger ale. It’s been taste-tested generationally. Enjoy 🙂

MDB Cocktails: A Classic Old Fashioned
Author: My Dish is Bomb
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: one glass
  • [i]Simple Syrup[/i]
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • [i]Old Fashioned[/i]
  • 2 oz Canadian/rye whiskey
  • dash of Angostura bitters ([url href=””]or, make your own[/url])
  • 1/2 TB simple syrup
  • orange peel
  • ice
  1. To make the simple syrup, add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let the syrup boil for about 1 minute, then take the saucepan off the heat and let the syrup cool completely before using. You can pour the syrup into a jar and then place it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling process.
  2. To make the old fashioned, add the whiskey, bitters, and simple syrup to a rocks glass. Stir. Add a couple ice cubes, and stir again. Carve a piece of orange peel over the glass to release the aromas, and place the peel inside the glass. Serve.


Published by

Katy MacKinnon

Katy MacKinnon is a food photographer and recipe developer, and Food Fight! co-host.

21 thoughts on “MDB Cocktails: A Classic Old Fashioned”

  1. We were out the other night and my daughter ordered an old fashioned. it is quickly becoming a favorite of hers. I’ll certainly be passing along this recipe, plus, I know she’ll love your photos! I loved reading about your Poppa. I had a gram, ‘Mema’, who was as spicy as it sounds like he was. Mema is still 100% responsible for some of the best laughs I have ever had!! I know your Poppa would be very proud of you!

    1. Thanks for passing it on Annie! It’s so wonderful to have great memories about grandparents. Your Mema sounds like she was an awesome lady 🙂

  2. Aww, your Poppa sounds pretty awesome. There is something about grandpas – they seem kind of rough around the edges when you are a small kid, but as you grow older you start to appreciate the relationship you could have had (mine passed when I was in second grade, so I have similar feelings). Of course I am loving this cocktail, and your photos are beeauuuutiful.

  3. I loved hearing everything about your poppa! My one grandpa died when I was only four years old … so I really don’t remember much. Which makes me so sad!!

    This cocktail looks so cool! I’m personally a wine girl only (I’ll try sips of other things but rarely order anything else!). So I’ll just live vicariously through all your fun cocktail recipes!

    1. It’s tough when you don’t have many memories, I only have a few about my Poppa. And maybe I need to make a wine cocktail just for you!! 😛

  4. My grandad died when I was 4, but I still remember him so well…we had a great relationship, I felt truly loved by him. Thanks for reminding me of him today, it brought a tear to my eye.
    My drink of choice is always Baileys, I am a lightweight. Whisky sours were my intro to Whisky…still slowly experimenting with it.

    1. I’m so happy you were able to enjoy some memories of your grandad Mariana 🙂 I started with Baileys too…then whiskey sours too! The ginger ale option is probably your next best bet…slightly stronger but still smooth! 🙂

  5. Shit disturbers are my kind of people. The photography here is exceptional. Kudos. How did you get that ice cube to be so pretty and perfectly cracked? So nice to have visited your site. I’ll be back. BTW, my favourite drink at the end of the day is tequila, mescal, lime and jalepeno! Just feels good.

    1. Thank you so much!! Ummm…I’m not sure about the cracked aspect to the ice cube. I did use these little round spheres for making the ice cube round, and maybe that helped with the freezing, I’m not sure! Your drink sounds amazing, I need to try that!

  6. I just love grandpas and grandpa stories. Just reading about yours made me think about mine and now I’m feeling strangely sentimental. Awww! Now I need a drink. Luckily enough this drink is right up my alley. Cheers to grandpas (and Fridays)!

  7. Aaw your Poppa sounds like a cool dude, I have fond memories of both of my grandpas too 🙂 This cocktail sounds awesome! Love the gorgeous photos!

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