Cocktail & Other Recipes Preparation Style Shaken

81 Old Fashioned

81 Old Fashioned in an octagonal rocks glass, garnished with a lemon peel and orange peel / Tim Nusog

The Old Fashioned is one of the world’s most popular and important cocktails. The simple combination of whiskey, sugar, water and bitters has been gracing glasses and pleasing drinkers for two centuries.

This recipe from New York bar pro Franky Marshall combines Wild Turkey bourbon with demerara syrup, aromatic bitters and two types of orange bitters. Demerara syrup is easy to make by combining demerara sugar and water, and it brings notes of molasses, toffee and coffee to cocktails. It’s especially popular in Tiki drinks, but it works well with bourbon and other dark spirits, imparting more depth than regular simple syrup.

Wild Turkey is best known for its 101-proof bourbon, but in 2011 the brand introduced an 81-proof expression that’s aged between six and eight years in highly charred barrels. It’s tamer than its boozier sibling, but still has plenty of flavor to stand up in all your favorite whiskey drinks.

Most Old Fashioneds call for aromatic bitters, but Marshall enlists three types of bitters, with each lending its own nuances and complexity. The result is a rich, warming cocktail with a punch of spice and citrus, further accented by a dual threat of citrus peels: one lemon and one orange. The 81 Old Fashioned is a fun riff on the classic without straying too far from the original.


  • 2 ounces Wild Turkey 81 bourbon

  • 1 teaspoon demerara syrup (one part demerara sugar, one part water)

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  • 1 dash Fee Brothers West Indian orange bitters

  • 1 dash Regans’ orange bitters No. 6

  • Garnish: lemon twist

  • Garnish: orange twist


  1. Add the bourbon, demerara syrup, Angostura bitters, Fee Brothers orange bitters and Regans’ orange bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice.

  3. Garnish with lemon and orange twists.