A Maker's Mark Old Fashioned for Old-Fashioned Ladies

by Karen Miner

Remember when people didn't wear pajamas out in public? Remember when people got dressed up for funerals? Remember when you could have a cocktail on your lunch hour and nobody cared? Remember when entertaining was a big deal, and people actually cleaned their houses and planned menus and made an effort? Ahhhh, the good ol' days...

Well, times have changed.

There is a dearth of old-school entertaining going on in this world, if you ask me. We could do with a few more formal events, with black ties and cloth napkins and seated dinners and classic cocktails, where everyone pretends they like each other, even if they don't. Because cocktails! Cocktails makes it all OK. See, that's the key to perfecting your entertaining game. With enough alcohol, everyone will always think it was the best party ever, even if they did have to watch a YouTube video to tie a tie and eat slightly dried-out salmon with a proper fork instead of a spork. 

You will obviously need some quintessential cocktail recipes for your newfound entertaining habit — look no further than the Old Fashioned. See, you want a classy, no-frills, packs-a-punch drink, and an Old Fashioned fits that bill. This is the kind of drink your grandmother drank with a cigarette oh-so-elegantly dangling from her other hand.  

The Old Fashioned is easy to make, but a lot of this recipe is "to taste," which means you'll need to do a fair amount of drinking research to figure out exactly how you like it.

The basics are sugar, water, bitters, and bourbon. You can add a twist — if you want. You can add ice — if you want. You can even top the whole shebang with Champagne — if you want — to incur the wrath of purists. But just please do one thing for me. Please keep your horrible, syrupy, neon, not-made-in-nature maraschino cherries out of your Old Fashioned. THAT is where I draw the line.

And one more tiny favor? Grab some pretty old linens if you've got 'em, set a nice table, and at least consider the idea of changing out of those pajamas before your guests arrive. You would make Grandma so proud.

Old Fashioned


  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Angostura bitters
  • 2 ounces Maker's Mark (or other bourbon)
  • Ice
  • Orange peel twist
  • Champagne (optional, and yes I know I'm a horrible person for adding Champagne to an Old Fashioned)


  1. To a glass add sugar and water, to taste. Add bitters, to taste. Add bourbon. Stir.
  2. Add ice, if using, and garnish with a twist. 
  3. Top with Champagne if you want people to say you ruined your Old Fashioned. (But trust me, it won't, and I've consumed enough to know.)