Irish Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Made with your favorite Irish whiskey and a hint of orange bitters, an Irish Old-Fashioned is a delightful spin on the classic cocktail. Try it for St. Patrick’s Day or any time you’re craving a crisp and clean-tasting old-fashioned.

an Irish whiskey old-fashioned in a gold polka dot glass next to a bottle of jameson whiskey.

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Irish Old-Fashioned recipe

Bourbon is great and all, but Irish whiskey makes for a delicious addition to cocktails.

It has a cleaner, slightly sweeter flavor and is an easy sipper.

That makes it the perfect contender for an old-fashioned. This Irish old-fashioned recipe is just that: a more crushable, easy sipper. That’s saying a lot for this spirit-forward cocktail!

If you’re new to Irish whiskey, this cocktail is the perfect way to try it. I have a feeling you’ll be a convert in no time!

More St. Patrick’s Day cocktails: Green BeerBaby GuinnessBlack VelvetBeermosa

Why you’ll love this recipe

Irish whiskey makes for the perfect addition to the classic old-fashioned drink.

  • An easy sipper, Irish whiskey is a great substitute for the usual bourbon.
  • The Irish whiskey old-fashioned is a great drink for St. Patrick’s Day or anytime!
  • With hints of orange flavor, this cocktail also gives a nod to the Irish flag.
A large square ice cube sits in an amber liquid alongside two liquor bottles, a green dish towel and gold coasters.

What is an old-fashioned cocktail?

The old-fashioned drink is a classic cocktail that can be made with any type of whiskey — usually bourbon — or even another strong spirit like mezcal or aged rum.

For example, this Irish old-fashioned is made with Irish whiskey!

Old-fashioned cocktails are spirit-forward, meaning they are heavy on the alcohol. They shouldn’t have any mixers like sour mix or soda.

(Though there is such a thing called a Wisconsin old-fashioned, which does contain club soda. Drink at your own risk though.)

Old-fashioneds include subtle amounts of additional flavor, usually in the form of orange zest, a cocktail cherry, some kind of bitters and a sweetener such as a sugar cube or simple syrup.

Tools & glassware

For an old-fashioned, you don’t need a lot of special equipment.

However, it’s wise to plan ahead and freeze up a big ice cube. You can also make ice spheres. I always try to keep a tray of these going in the fridge!

Large ice cubes are great for spirit-forward drinks because the large surface area takes longer to melt, resulting in a slower dilution process as you sip. In other words, it takes longer for the ice to dilute so you can enjoy your drink before all the ice melts.

Rocks glasses are the typical glassware used for old-fashioned drinks. Also known as old-fashioned glasses and lowball glasses, they are short, tumbler-style glasses for serving spirits.

If you don’t have a rocks glass, you can use any kind of short tumbler or a stemless wine glass.

A green bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey sits beside a green and white dish towel on a white surface.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make a Jameson Old-Fashioned:

Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey is a type of whiskey that’s made in Ireland from unmalted barley and cereal grains. It is different than bourbon and scotch thanks to its country of origin, ingredients and distillation method.

Irish whiskey has a clean and smooth flavor — much more so than its complex and smoky Scottish counterpart, AKA Scotch whisky.

If you have a favorite Irish whiskey, use that! An old-fashioned with Jameson Irish whiskey is usually my go-to. If you want some extra orange flavor, try it with Jameson Orange. The Jameson cold brew would give it a bit of a coffee flavor.

The most popular Irish whiskey brands are Jameson, Bushmills and Tullamore Dew, but there are lots more Irish distilleries to try! Check out my Irish Whiskey 101 guide if you need help picking a brand to buy.

a gold spoon and a bottle of brown sugar syrup

Brown sugar simple syrup

Brown sugar syrup brings the sweet, caramel, butterscotch notes of brown sugar to this cocktail. It’s easy to make with just equal parts of brown sugar and water heated in a saucepan.

Muddling a brown sugar cube into the whiskey would also work.

Demerara syrup would be a good substitute. You could also use plain simple syrup, agave nectar, honey or maple syrup instead.

Bitters

Use orange bitters to give this a citrus bite. It helps to balance the sweetness of the Irish whiskey.

The use of orange is also a nod to the Irish flag, which features three stripes of green, white and orange.

If you don’t have orange bitters, you can use angostura bitters or experiment with other flavors of bitters if you like.

An Irish Old Fashioned in a glass with gold polka dots.

Orange zest

Old-fashioneds often include a piece of orange zest for their garnish.

But garnishes aren’t just for looks: The sour, bitter flavor of the zest and the citrus aroma from the orange essential oils help to balance the sweetness of the brown sugar syrup and the whiskey.

Use a vegetable peeler to peel a thin layer of peel off a fresh orange, being careful to avoid the white pith.

Gently twist it and rub it around the edge of the glass before dropping it in to release more of the oils into your drink.

How to make a Jameson Old-Fashioned

Let’s make this Jameson cocktail!

Whiskey is poured over a square ice cube from a metal measuring cup.

In a mixing glass, combine whiskey and brown sugar simple syrup. Next, add a large ice cube to a rocks glass, and pour the whiskey over top.

You can also mix them right in your rocks glass, but be careful when dropping the ice cube in so as not to splash.

Add few dashes of orange bitters, then garnish with a piece of orange peel.

Bitters drop from a bottle into a gold polka dot glass filled with amber liquid. Other ingredients and cocktail tools surround the glass on a white surface.

Tips & tricks

Make a batch of large ice cubes or ice spheres the day before (or keep a stash in your freezer). The large surface area means it melts more slowly than a bunch of tiny ice cubes.

If you want a little green in your cocktail, try making herb ice cubes to represent the Emerald Isle. You could also use a piece of lime zest, which will bring in a subtle flavor or lime juice.

Use a mixing glass to combine the whiskey and syrup together. Then slowly pour them just to the side of your ice cube in your glass, so as not to melt the ice.

Before adding it to your drink, gently rub the orange twist around the inner edge of the glass before dropping it in to release more of the oils and aromas into your drink. Trust me on this!

A gold cocktail jigger sits next to a cocktail with a large square ice cube. A green dish towel lays in the background.

What to serve with Irish whiskey cocktails

There are lots of great Irish treats to try with this Jameson Old-Fashioned drink.

It’s great to enjoy with an Irish dinner of Shepherd’s Pie or Corned Beef and Cabbage.

A Guinness chocolate cake is the perfect dessert. With a dollop of Baileys Irish cream, of course!

Or make Baileys chocolate chip cookies for an indulgent treat.

FAQ

What is the best Irish whisky for an old-fashioned?

An old-fashioned with Irish whiskey can be made with any brand of Irish whiskey. The most popular Irish whiskey brands are Jameson, Bushmills and Tullamore Dew.

Is Jameson bourbon or whiskey?

Jameson is a type of Irish whiskey, which is a type of whiskey. Similarly, bourbon is also a type of whiskey. Irish whiskey has a cleaner, less smoky taste, and must be produced in Ireland. Bourbon, an American whiskey, has a slightly sweeter flavor.

What is the traditional whiskey for an Old Fashioned?

Bourbon is most often used in an old-fashioned but other types of whiskey can be used. Try an old-fashioned with rye whiskey, Japanese whisky, Scotch whisky or Irish whiskey to sample the differences in whiskey based on how and where it is made.

More Irish whiskey cocktail recipes

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

An old-fashioned cocktail made with Irish whiskey sits alongside a gold cocktail jigger resting on a green dish towel and a stack of gold coasters.

Irish Old-Fashioned

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
This Irish whiskey old-fashioned is a delicious twist on the classic bourbon cocktail.
5 from 43 votes
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ingredients

  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • ¼ ounce brown sugar simple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 piece orange zest about 4 inches, for garnish
  • 1 large ice cube

instructions

  • In a mixing glass, stir together Irish whiskey and simple syrup.
  • Add a large ice cube to a rocks glass, and pour the whiskey over the top.
  • Add a few dashes of orange bitters, and garnish with a piece of orange zest.

notes

Make a batch of large ice cubes or ice spheres the day before (or keep a stash in your freezer). The large surface area means it melts more slowly than a bunch of tiny ice cubes.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel a thin layer of peel off a fresh orange, being careful to avoid the white pith.
Before adding it to your drink, gently twist the orange peel and rub it around the edge of the glass before dropping it in to release more of the oils into your drink.
Angostura bitters can be used in place of orange bitters.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 2.5ounces Calories: 182kcal Carbohydrates: 9g Protein: 0.2g Fat: 0.02g Sodium: 5mg Potassium: 30mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 6g Vitamin A: 50IU Vitamin C: 16mg Calcium: 21mg Iron: 0.4mg
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