A Twist on Old Fashioned Drinks

We all have heard of the classic, old fashioned drinks that have been made and enjoyed for years: The Old Fashioned, Martinis and Bloody Mary’s are among those timeless favorites.

Although the classic cocktails are always in style, many of them have experienced a resurgence in popularity over the past few years.

One reason behind the renewed interest in traditional, old fashioned drinks – besides the fascination with the show Mad Men – is that people are continuously discovering ways to jazz them up. The expression, “what’s old is new again” is definitely true when it comes to old-fashioned drinks.

You, too, can add a modern “twist” to your favorite old-fashioned drinks, either through making minor ingredient substitutions and/or additions.


Justin Steiginga via Compfight cc

Below are a few examples of “old fashioned” drinks along with their modern and trendier versions:

1) The Old Fashioned

English: Picture of an Old Fashioned cocktail,...

English: Picture of an Old Fashioned cocktail, taken at Boadas cocktail bar in Barcelona, Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Old Fashioned was invented in Louisville, KY during the late 1800’s. This cocktail is also known as a favorite of Mad Men’s character, Don Draper. The traditional recipe calls for 4.5 cL Bourbon or Rye whiskey, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 1 sugar cube, and a few dashes of plain water. The classic garnish is an orange slice and a cocktail cherry.

Here is a modern version (via bettycrocker.com):

Modern Old-Fashioned Cocktail


  • 1 extra-large ice cube or standard ice cubes
  • Fresh orange slice
  • Fresh lemon slice
  • 1/4 of a fresh ripe peach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Standard ice cubes
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz.) bourbon
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Fresh peach slice 



  • Add extra-large ice cube to lowball or rocks glass.
  • Muddle orange slice, lemon slice, chopped peach and maple syrup in cocktail shaker until fruit is broken up. Add standard ice cubes, bourbon and bitters to shaker; shake and strain into glass.
  • Garnish with peach slice.

2) Classic Martini

A gin martini, with olive, in a cocktail glass.

A gin martini, with olive, in a cocktail glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A “traditional” martini is made with gin and vermouth, then garnished with either an olive or a lemon twist. Although the exact origin of this well-known cocktail is unclear, variations of martinis have been enjoyed since the late 1800s.

Here is a modern version (via Bon Appétit):

Ingredients (Serves 8)

  • Cilantro-Lime Gin
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 750-ml bottle London dry gin
  • 3 cups fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 8 lime twists or rounds



Cilantro-Lime Gin

  • Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons hot water in a large jar, cover, and shake until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add gin, cilantro, and lime juice (save gin bottle for finished product).
  • Cover and chill 2 days.
  • Strain into a medium bowl; discard cilantro.
  • Pour cilantro-lime gin back into reserved bottle.



  • For each cocktail, pour 3 ounces cilantro-lime gin into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  • Cover; shake until cocktail shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with lime.

3) Bloody Mary

English: Bloody Mary: "This is a Bloody M...

English: Bloody Mary: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bloody Mary, which is often used as a hangover cure, is also a popular choice for a brunch-time cocktail. The traditional Bloody Mary is made with vodka, tomato juice and lemon juice, along with dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, and salt and pepper, and a celery stalk as a garnish. No one is exactly sure who first invented this cocktail, but it has been around since as early as the 1920s or as late as the 1950s.

Here is a modern version (via The Nibble):


  • 2/3 cup top-quality tomato juice
  • 2 to 3 ounces top-shelf vodka*, depending on strength of drink
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 6 shakes Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 large lime (or medium lemon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (preferably sea salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • Celery stalk



Combine the first eight ingredients, mix well; pour over ice in a tall glass and garnish with the celery stalk.

These are only a few examples out of hundreds of modern variations on old fashioned drinks. And people create new drinks all the time based on traditional cocktails.


Are you planning to serve drinks – either old fashioned or trendy – at an upcoming event, party, or other special occasion? Which one is your favorite?


With extensive catering experience, Chef du Jour serves the Portland-Metro area, catering any and all types of social events for the last 14 years. We would love to help you with your next special occasion! Give us a call at 503-2224553 or contact us online.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Justin Steiginga via Compfight cc