Top 12 Bitters for Crafting the Perfect Old Fashioned

An Old Fashioned is more than just a cocktail; it’s a timeless classic that embodies the essence of fine drinking. Attention to detail is paramount to making the perfect Old Fashioned, from selecting the proper whiskey to using the best bitters. This article will guide you through the process and introduce you to the top 12 bitters to elevate your Old Fashioned experience.

The Basics of an Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a straightforward cocktail that relies on quality ingredients and precise technique. Here’s a breakdown of what you need:


  • Whiskey: The heart of the Old Fashioned. Bourbon or rye whiskey is preferred.
  • Bitters: Adds complexity and balance.
  • Sugar: Traditionally, a sugar cube.
  • Water: To dissolve the sugar.
  • Ice: Large ice cubes or a single large ice sphere.
  • Garnish: Orange peel and a cherry.


  • Old Fashioned glass (also known as a rocks glass)
  • Bar spoon
  • Jigger
  • Muddler

Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Perfect Old Fashioned

1. Muddle the Sugar: Place a sugar cube in your Old Fashioned glass. Add a few dashes of bitters (we’ll delve into the best ones shortly) and a splash of water. Muddle until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add Ice: Fill the glass with large ice cubes or one large ice sphere.

3. Pour the Whiskey: Add 2 oz of your whiskey.

4. Stir: Stir gently to combine and chill the drink without diluting it.

5. Garnish: Rub the oils from an orange peel over the drink, then drop it in. If desired, add a cherry.

Choosing the Best Whiskey

Selecting the proper whiskey is crucial for crafting the perfect Old Fashioned cocktail. Here are some top choices:

  • Bourbon: Use a high-quality bourbon for a sweeter, smoother Old Fashioned. Some favourites include Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, and Buffalo Trace.
  • Rye Whiskey: If you prefer a spicier, bolder flavour, opt for rye whiskey. Excellent choices are Bulleit Rye, Rittenhouse Rye, and Sazerac Rye.
See also  What Is The Smoothest Whiskey

Top 12 Bitters for the Perfect Old Fashioned

Bitters are essential in balancing the sugar’s sweetness and the whiskey’s robustness. Here are the top 12 bitters to elevate your Old Fashioned:

1. Angostura Bitters: The classic choice, known for its rich, spicy, and complex flavour.

2. Peychaud’s Bitters: This brand offers a lighter, sweeter profile with hints of anise and cherry.

3. Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6: Adds a bright citrus note, perfect for enhancing the orange garnish.

4. Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters: A blend of flavours explicitly designed for an Old Fashioned.

5. Scrappy’s Bitters (Aromatic): Craft bitters with a bold, aromatic profile.

6. The Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters: A robust blend that adds depth and complexity.

7. Hella Bitters (Citrus): Infuses a fresh citrus flavour that pairs well with bourbon.

8. Bittercube (Cherry Bark Vanilla): This adds a unique, slightly sweet, and woody flavour.

9. Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Aromatic Bitters: This bitter is a blend of spices that adds a warm, festive note.

10. Dashfire Bitters (Vintage Orange): Adds a hint of vintage orange flavour, complementing the orange peel garnish.

11. Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters: Introduces a touch of chocolate and spice, adding a unique twist.

12. Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters: Enhances the cherry garnish with a spiced, fruity flavour.

Crafting the Best Old Fashioned Recipe

Combining the right ingredients and techniques will produce the best Old Fashioned recipe. Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Start with quality whiskey: Choose between bourbon or rye-based on your flavour preference.
  2. Select the right bitters: Experiment with different bitters to find the perfect balance.
  3. Perfect your technique: carefully Muddle, stir and garnish to achieve the ideal flavour and presentation.
See also  Beer and Whiskey Pairing

Making the perfect Old Fashioned cocktail requires a careful balance of ingredients and attention to detail. By selecting the best whiskey and experimenting with various bitters, you can craft a drink that suits your taste and impresses your guests. Cheers to creating a timeless classic that always stays in style!