How To Make An Old Fashioned Without Bitters

Ah, the old fashioned. An American classic and a favorite of many whiskey-lovers such as myself. Old fashioneds are usually made with bourbon or rye, but what if I told you could make an equally delicious and unique version without using bitters? That’s right – today I’m going to show you how to make an irresistible old fashioned without bitters required! You’ll soon discover that this recipe is both simple and incredibly flavorful. So get your glasses ready, because you’re about to enjoy a tasty treat that will take your taste buds on a journey back in time!

A Traditional Old Fashioned

An Old Fashioned has been around for centuries and is one of the most popular drinks in the world; however, it can be difficult to make without bitters. Bitters add a robust kick to the drink that separates it from other drinks like the Manhattan or Negroni. Without these distinct ingredients, an Old Fashioned quickly becomes too sweet or simply just not flavorful enough. There are several ways to work around this lack of flavor but none quite match what a good shot of bitters does for the drink. In short, an Old Fashioned isn’t complete without bitters; it needs them in order to fully capture its essence and really turn it into something special.

Old Fashioned Without Bitters
Old Fashioned Without Bitters


  • Bourbon: Use your favorite type of bourbon for this drink. Unlike other cocktails, you can use higher end bourbon for an old fashioned since the bourbon flavor will come through quite strongly.
  • Amaro: Use a high-quality amaro like Aperol, Campari, or Punt e Mes for this. The amaro adds complexity and bitterness to the cocktail without overpowering it as bitters can do.
  • Simple Syrup: Simple syrup adds sweetness and helps to balance the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Orange Peel: An orange peel is a great way to add citrusy notes without using fresh juice and keeping your old fashioned dry.
  • Club Soda: Club soda is used to top off the drink and give it a bit of bubbles.
  • Orange Peel & Maraschino Cherries: For garnish.

How To Muddle Fruit

Muddled fruit is what you’ll be using in place of the bitters. There’s quite a few variations of fruit that you can use, but we like to keep things quick, easy, and stress-free.

One of the easiest fruit combinations is orange and maraschino cherry. First, these are cheap and easy to find. Second, they create the right blend of sweet and bitter.

As for how to create that blend, that’s where the muddling comes in…

Tips on Making Your Old Fashioned Without Bitters

The key to making an Old Fashioned without bitters is in the balance. The muddled fruit should be just sweet enough, and the whiskey has to be of decent quality. The other ingredients are optional, so feel free to experiment.

– Use high quality whiskey as it makes a huge difference in taste (I recommend bourbon).

– Muddle the fruit until it’s broken down and well combined.

– Adjust sweetness to taste with simple syrup or sugar, if needed.

– Add a splash of soda water for some fizz and extra flavor.

And lastly…enjoy! This is an easy and delicious way to make an Old Fashioned without the need for bitters. So, now that you’ve got your ingredients ready and the recipe down pat, sit back, sip your drink and enjoy an old fashioned just as it was meant to be enjoyed. Cheers!

The Bitters Substitute

Muddling your own fruit mixtures can be a great way to add flavor and complexity to the drink without using bitters. It’s also super easy to do – all you need is fresh or frozen fruit, some simple syrup and a muddler or fork. You could use oranges, cherries, strawberries or any other combo you might like.

Add a splash of soda water to give your drink a nice fizz and adjust sweetness to taste with simple syrup or sugar, if needed. Now you have an old fashioned that tastes just as good as the real thing – minus the bitters! Enjoy your booze-filled journey back in time. Cheers!

Expert Tips

  • Use high quality whiskey as it makes a huge difference in taste (I recommend bourbon).
  • Muddle the fruit until it’s broken down and well combined.
  • Don’t overdo it with the sweetener – start with a small amount and adjust as needed.
  • Add a splash of soda water for some fizz and extra flavor.
  • Experiment with different fruits to find the combination that you like best.
  • Try adding a few dashes of Angostura bitters for an extra kick.
  • Lastly, savor every sip — it’s time travel in a glass!
Tips For Making Old Fashioned
Tips For Making Old Fashioned

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Make An Old Fashioned Without Bitters?

Yes, you can make an old fashioned without bitters. The key is to use muddled fruit, simple syrup and high-quality whiskey for a flavor that is just as delicious as the classic.

Does An Old Fashioned Need Bitters?

No, an old fashioned does not need bitters. You can still make a delicious drink without them by using muddled fruit, simple syrup and high-quality whiskey.

What Can I Use Instead Of Angostura Bitters?

You can use muddled fruit, simple syrup and soda water to create an old fashioned without Angostura bitters. This combination will provide the right balance of sweetness and complexity that the classic version has.

What Is The Purpose Of Bitters In An Old Fashioned?

The purpose of bitters in an old fashioned is to add complexity and balance. Bitters provide a slightly bitter flavor, which helps to cut through the sweetness of the simple syrup and muddled fruit. This creates a drink that is balanced and flavorful.


So there you have it, a step by step guide on how to make an old fashioned without bitters. By following these simple tips of Sweet Basil’s Cafe you’ll be able to create a delicious drink that is sure to impress your guests. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try making your own bitters? It’s easier than you might think and adds a whole other level of flavour to your cocktail. So what are you waiting for? Get mixing!

How To Make Old Fashioned Without Bitters

Old Fashioneds are one such cocktail that has various iterations that don't incorporate bitters. From using substitutes such as fruit purees and flavored syrups to adding other liquors such as dry vermouth or Grand Marnier, making an Old Fashioned without bitters doesn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Experimenting with different ingredients will ensure you create a unique drink time and time again.

  • 2 oz. Bourbon
  • ½ oz Orange juice freshly squeezed, plus peel
  • ½ oz Maple syrup *pure maple syrup
  • 1-3 drops Maraschino cherry syrup plus cherries
  • ½ ounce Club soda
  1. Pour the bourbon into a rocks glass or old-fashioned glass filled with ice

  2. Squeeze half an ounce of freshly squeezed orange juice over the top

  3. Add in the maple syrup and then stir all ingredients together

  4. Top with maraschino cherry syrup, adding 1-3 drops for a light sweetness

  5. Garnish with a few maraschino cherries, splash club soda and an orange twist

  • You can also add a splash of club soda or sparkling water to give the drink some sparkle.
  • If you don’t have any orange juice, you can substitute with lemon juice instead.
  • To make the drink even more flavorful, try adding a few dashes of Angostura bitters.
  • You can also switch up the type of spirit you use if you’re feeling adventurous; some popular alternatives are rye whiskey, gin and brandy.
  • Always make sure to use pure maple syrup for the best flavor.
  • If you want to add a bit more sweetness, try adding a teaspoon of honey or simple syrup.
Old Fashioned Without Bitters

This article was originally posted on Liliana Kitchen but Liliana Kitchen is being acquired by Sweet Basil’s Cafe and all lilianakitchen.com content is copyrighted by cafesweetbasils.com


I'm William from America, I'm a food lover, often discovering and making new recipes. I started my blog to share my love for food with others. My blog is filled with delicious recipes, cooking tips, and reviews about restaurants and products. I'm also an advocate for healthy eating and strive to create recipes that are easy to make and use fresh ingredients. Many of my recipes contain vegetables or grains as the main ingredients, with a few indulgences thrown in for good measure. I often experiment with new ingredients, adding international flavors and finding ways to make dishes healthier without compromising on flavour. I'm passionate about creating simple yet delicious recipes that are fun to make and can easily be replicated at home. I also love sharing my experiences eating out with others so they can get the best out of their dining experiences. In addition to cooking and writing, I'm also an avid traveler, often visiting new places to discover local delicacies and explore different flavors. I'm always looking for a new challenge – whether it's trying an exotic food or creating a new recipe using unusual ingredients. My blog is a reflection of my passion for food and I'm always looking for new ways to share it with the world. Join me on my culinary journey and let's explore delicious foods together!
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