Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe ingredient picture

Simple Rye Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

Welcome to my twist on the most classic of vintage cocktails- The Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe. If you’re like me and enjoy nerding out… you totally can with this crash course on all things Old Fashioned! There really are countless ways to make this drink *your own*, which is why it’s the perfect cocktail to experiment with. From garnish choices (including pickled veg), to fruit wheels and peels, to flavored syrups and burnt sugars… to another favorite combo of mine- cherry smoked with rosemary.

I’ve got a few friends who tell me that my drink preferences and mixes will put hair on your chest. That is a risk I’m willing to take. I like what I like… plus there’s always a razor just in case! Cheers to a sprouting a few new hairs!

Rye Old Fashioned Cocktail

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by Susanna Grace Course: When it makes you happyCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time




Total time



My twist on a classic. A sipper that slides down with ease and leaves you feelin’ pleased.


  • 2 oz 2 Rye whiskey

  • 1 oz 1 Gran Gala (.5 oz for less sweet)

  • 1 dash 1 Quality bitters- about 6-8 drops

  • 1 large 1 Ice cube, it does matter

  • 1 citrus peel 1 Such as orange or grapefruit


  • Grab a rocks glass. Add a large ice cube.
  • Measure your whiskey of choice (strongly suggest rye) and Gran Gala and pour over your cube.
  • Next, add bitters, gently stirring to incorporate for 15 seconds or until glass is chilled.
  • Take a veggie peeler to your citrus and twist that strip over your glass. This will release some natural oils and add another subtle layer of flavor. Now, drop it in. Sit back. Smile. And off you go.


  • Whiskey is like wine. And beer. And, really, like so many things. Everyone has a personal preference on what is “best”. But that’s just it. It’s called preference for a reason! The best old fashioned is the one you love. Not the one you think you should love of the one I tell you to love. I happen to adore the spicy, multidimensional body that a good rye brings to the table and will list a few of my favorites below in case you find it helpful. I’ll also include a resources for bitters!
  • Unless you plan on shooting this sucker down, the key to a well balanced whiskey cocktail is actually water. The introduction of water, in this case a slowly melting ice cube, opens the flavor profile of any whiskey allowing one’s palate to fully experience the aromas that make a bottle special. If you just can’t wait, or prefer a room temp drink, swap the cube for a splash of water.
  • While this is NOT a traditional old fashioned, ie no sugar cube, I’ve proudly replaced a step by added extra liquor in said sugar cube’s place. Gran Gala is an Italian Orange Brandy, and as orange is a classic pairing with this cocktail…it really was the perfect fit. Sweet enough that there’s no sugar to miss!
  • If you’ve purchased Gran Gala recently, or for this recipe, don’t worry. You’re not going to get stuck with a whole bottle. This orange liquor is super versatile, and one that I use in my Margaritas regularly. If you haven’t purchased Gran Gala (or Cointreau) because you have Triple Sec…you are missing out. One of the most simple, economic upgrades you could give your liquor cabinet as a mature adult is- Gran Gala. Cointreau is amazing, but quite a bit more expensive.
  • Please note the nutritional information below was calculated using a calculator designed by: Verywell Fit. This information is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but should not be taken as medical advice 🙂 

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Nutrition Facts

1 servings per container


  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Total Carbohydrate .1g 1%
    • Sugars .1g

    * The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

    Try, Try, & Keep On Tryin

    As promised above, here’s a short list of a my favorite rye’s.

    By no means am I a connoisseur, although I do hope to be one day! I’ve easily tried at least 20, and try to add a new tasting under my belt whenever I hit the bar. Which with COVID, hasn’t been a thing for a hot minute. If I may, a tidbit right before moving on. Try new things. Just do it. Go to a bar. Spot a brand or bottle you haven’t tried. Ask said bar tended what a .5 oz pour would cost, and ask to see the bottle while you sip it.

    I did this ALL the time (pre-COVID that is) and was never been told NO. Never. It’s the most effective way I’ve been able to sort through a variety of liquors to determine what their profiles actually taste like to me. Hopefully you find that helpful. I used to be embarrassed with that kinda stuff… but one day it hit me. I literally have no better way to learn than to taste and read. So I left my pride on the doorstep and have never looked back. And this isn’t just for liquor, it’s something I also do with food!

    My Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe Rye Recs


    Back to my current 4 rye recs. In no particular order.

    Rock Town Distillery Rye Bottle used for old fashioned cocktail recipe

    Rock Town’s Arkansas Rye Whiskey

    • Aroma: Boldly intense with coffee, toffee and oily rye
    • Taste: Light vanilla with hints of oak spices and pepper elegantly balanced against a strong rye profile
    • Finish: Delightful chilli spice on the juicy, peppered oak

    Bummer about this guy. They don’t ship out of the state of Arkansas. Legal reasons. I have friends who love me and make sure I’m stocked, because I can’t find them anywhere on the East Coast!

    Heaven Hill Distillery Rye Whiskey Bottle used for Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

    Heaven Hill’s Rittenhouse Rye

    • Aroma: Dried fruits, toffee, and sweet peppers
    • Taste: Clean, rich, cocoa, citrus, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla
    • Finish: Lingering maple-like spiciness
    High West Distillery Rendezvous Rye used for Old fashioned cocktail recipe

    High West’s Rendezvous Rye

    • Aroma: A big nose of cinnamon stick, clove, vanilla, peppermint, caramelized sugar and dried fruit.
    • Taste: Very spicy, with cinnamon, crisp mint and fennel, underlying sweet notes of caramel, molasses, vanilla, macaroon, cocoa, and candied fruit.
    • Finish: Takes hold with huge rye spice, cinnamon, orange rind, and vanilla and it lingers for ages.
    Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey Bottle

    Woodford Reserve Rye

    • Aroma: Spicy with distinct notes of rye, black pepper, cedar and cassia bark sweetened with a dusting of marzipan. Hints of pear, apple and almond dance in its depths. 
    • Taste: Clove, rye, mint, molasses, sorghum and honey mingle together with hints of apple and malt. 
    • Finish: Long and sweetly spiced.

    Next Up, Bitter Recs

    Now, we’re on to bitters. Maybe you’ve used them before and maybe you haven’t a clue. Either way, this resource is a great place to get acquainted with all things bitters. What they are, how to use them, and a bit of history too.

    Again, not a bitters connoisseur. However, I’ve tried several and have a few to recommend based on my current experience!

    I Own This One!
    Pink House Alchemy Smoldered Bitters 4 oz Pink House Alchemy Smoldered Bitters 4 oz
    $22.95 ($5.74 / Fl Oz)

    Recommending, not just this bitter, but the entire line of product form Pink House. Their lavender simple syrup and pineapple shrub will BLOW YOU away. Far away. This particular bitters also pairs well with tequila!

    I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at NO additional COST to you.
    02/18/2024 07:05 pm GMT

    Pink House Alchemy. Made with love in Arkansas. Specifically their Smolder (spicy) and Sarsaparilla (root beery). I enjoy the Smolder (pictured above) with tequila and the Sarsaparilla with whiskey.

    I Own This One!
    Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrel Aged Sassafras & Sorghum Cocktail Bitters - 2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrel Aged Sassafras & Sorghum Cocktail Bitters - 2 oz
    $12.07 ($6.04 / Fl Oz)

    I've been SO pleased with how well this one pairs with a wide variety of whiskey! Def recommend if you're looking to branch out a bit.

    I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at NO additional COST to you.
    04/04/2024 01:00 am GMT

    This Woodford Reserve bitter hit the spot. Pairing beautifully with Manhattans and this Old Fashioned Cocktail recipe alike. Carries a root beery profile as well.

    On My Wish List!
    18.21 Earl Grey Bitters 4oz 18.21 Earl Grey Bitters 4oz
    $26.97 ($6.74 / Fl Oz)

    While I've had the pleasure of tasting these bitters, I do not currently own! However, there was no way I could leave that shop without the bourbon soaked cherry shrub. It's only occasionally produced, and worth every penny if you can get your hands on a bottle.

    I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at NO additional COST to you.
    04/04/2024 01:55 am GMT

    18.21 Bitters, which is Atlanta based and also features some super cool vintage glassware should you ever get to visit the shop in person! Their Earl Grey would make anyone feel fancy. A completely different spin to sprinkle in, as the notes of vanilla come on through for a win. Happens to pair incredibly well with gin. Wink wink. Nod nod.

    Finishing Touches

    As made evident by these photos, I clearly have not nailed crafting the perfect, crystal clear ice cube. But that wasn’t going to stop me from sharing one of my go-to drinks with you! I’m still experimenting with finding the right ice mold/water combo. When I find it, I’ll be sure to come back with updated photos and will share what I’ve learned.

    There really are countless ways to make a classic old fashioned cocktail recipe your own. You can often find me subbing a bourbon aged tequila or mezcal in place of my usual rye when whipping up a batch of my Spicy Mushroom Fajitas. Think margarita… but with orange instead of lime! It really is quite divine.

    Really hope you’ve picked up some fun tidbits, been inspired, and are excited to give this baby a go. Would love to hear your feedback down below! Including your own rye and bitter recs/combos.

    Now go pour one out, raise a glass, and sip away with me!

    If you make this recipe, I’d love you to come back and leave a review. While you’re at it, Save to Pinterest or Share on Facebook. Because sharing is caring, and I’ll need all the support I can get to keep on growing this dream of mine. A place where practical is better than perfect and simple, delicious food is a lifestyle. A place where together, we can begin filling homes and tables with joy!

    Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~


    1. One of my absolute favorite cocktails of all time! I am such a rye lover too!! Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe with the world!

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