Best Whiskey for an Old Fashioned

By Lyre's Spirit Co

2nd Jun 2022

Best Whiskey for an Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned - also known as the picture of perfection in the cocktail world - is renowned for all the right reasons, with a timeless appeal unmatched by many other beverages. Made with just three simple ingredients - whiskey, sugar and bitters - the Old Fashioned celebrates its spirit and demands good quality whiskey for a good quality Old Fashioned. If that’s why you’re here, we’ve got you covered; read on to discover what makes the best whiskey for an Old Fashioned and learn how to make your own at home!

What is an Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned whiskey cocktail is the drink one orders when one arrives (anywhere). It’s smooth, simple, and pleasing to the palate; For over 200 years, it’s been the drink of choice for the Mad Men, movie moguls and everyone in between.

Most cocktail connoisseurs consider the Old Fashioned synonymous with the word cocktail and recognise it as one of the six primary drinks (alongside the Manhatten, Martini, Sidecar, Daiquiri and Jack Rose) that absolutely must be made when experiencing the fine art of mixing drinks.

So why’s it called an Old Fashioned?

Throughout the decades, bars and cocktail makers would attempt “improvements” - adding in other liqueurs and ingredients that simply didn’t belong - resulting in many drinkers requesting the “old fashioned” method of mixing this renowned whiskey cocktail. As long as you use good quality whiskey for your Old Fashioned cocktail, you won’t need much else!

Is bourbon or whiskey better for an Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned is traditionally made with bourbon (American whiskey) or rye whiskey, with rye producing a slightly dryer drink. Whether bourbon or whiskey is used typically depends on the drinker’s personal preferences.

The difference in flavour between bourbon and other types of whiskey comes down to the ingredients and processes used during distillation. Bourbon must include at least 51% or more corn grain, which results in a unique, slightly sweeter flavour than other types of whiskey, and because of this, it has increasingly become the preferred choice for an Old Fashioned.

So how can you tell if a bourbon or whiskey is a good whiskey for an Old Fashioned? The best whiskey for an Old Fashioned will be high quality with a flavour that can hold its own.

At Lyre’s, our non-alcoholic alternatives capture the essence of whiskey minus the giggle juice - giving you the freedom to drink your drink, your way:

  • Lyre's Traditional Reserve offers magnificent depth with oak tannin and nutty grain characters. A subtle smoke lifts the palate and provides a firm and full balance.
  • Lyre’s American Malt captures the essence of a gently mellowed American Classic Bourbon Malt, with gentle spice and generous vanilla, nut and herbal flavours.

How to make a non-alcoholic Old Fashioned

Making a non-alcoholic Old Fashioned is often quicker and easier than most people assume and requires just a few simple steps and three main ingredients.

To begin with, you’ll need a good quality non-alcoholic whiskey for an Old Fashioned; the Old Fashioned is a cocktail that emphasises the spirit, so you’ll need a whiskey with a flavour that can hold its own.

Next, you’ll need sugar. You can use a sugar cube, but sugar syrup (or simple syrup) is the simplest method of getting those ratios right. Simply (as the name suggests) combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar for an exquisite homemade sugar syrup that can be sealed and kept in the fridge for up to 30 days. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

Lastly, but not leastly, you’ll need aromatic bitters. The bitter used is up to you and your tastes, and depending on which one you choose, interesting - yet subtle - variations in flavour can be discovered.

Looking for a good whiskey for an Old Fashioned? We recommend our impossibly crafted Lyre’s American Malt. It flawlessly captures the essence of a gently mellowed American Classic Bourbon Malt, with generous flavours of vanilla, toasted nuts and herbal notes, and a gently spiced palate for a long finish. To make your own non-alcoholic Old Fashioned using Lyre’s American Malt:

You’ll need:


  • Stir briefly over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned glass
  • Garnish with a twisty, twisty orange peel

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Enjoy an Old Fashioned? You might also like these other whiskey mocktails:

Lyre’s Traditional Reserve Sour

A little bit country, a little bit city - the Lyre’s Traditional Reserve Sour is the midnight cowboy of cocktails and offers the perfect blend of sweet and sour.

You’ll need:

  • 2 parts (60mL /2 Fl Oz) Lyre’s Traditional Reserve
  • 1 part (30mL / 2 Fl Oz) lemon juice
  • 0.5 part (15 mL / 0.5 Fl Oz) white sugar syrup
  • 0.5 part (15mL / 0.5 Fl Oz) egg white / aquafaba OR 4 drops foaming agent
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters


  • Dry shake all the ingredients briefly
  • Add ice, shake hard and strain into glass over block ice
  • Garnish with a Maraschino cherry & orange slice

Lyre’s On The Rocks

A tipple as old as time - the Lyre’s On The Rocks is a dignified blend of toffees, peat, and oaks.

You’ll need:


  • Pour Lyre’s Traditional Reserve over cubed ice

Lyre’s Penicillin

This modern cocktail was created in NYC in the mid-2000s and has since taken the world by storm. With warming, soothing flavours of honey, citrus, smoke and ginger, it’s the perfect tipple for any cold, chilly night.

You’ll need:

  • 2 parts (60mL) Lyre’s American Malt
  • ½ part (15mL) honey and ginger syrup*
  • ½ part (15mL) lemon juice
  • 1 part (30mL) strong, smoky tea (such as Lapsang Souchong or Russian Caravan)


  • Shake briefly with ice
  • Strain over a large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass
  • Garnish with an aromatic ginger cube on a skewer

Honey and Ginger Syrup*

  • ½ cup runny honey
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp jarred ginger
  • Method: Add boiling water and honey, and stir to dissolve. Add ginger and stir thoroughly. Pour into a bottle and refrigerate.







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