HomeSipWhiskey CocktailsBatch Old Fashioned Recipe: How to Make a Pitcher of Old Fashioned Cocktails for a Party

Batch Old Fashioned Recipe: How to Make a Pitcher of Old Fashioned Cocktails for a Party

by Jim Casey
photo by Outsider

If you’re looking to make your holiday party an “old fashioned” affair, we’ve got your back batch. Instead of concocting singular drinks for every reveler, you can do the heavy lifting ahead of time by making a pitcher of Old Fashioneds. Then, just pour the classic cocktail over ice, and garnish. It’s easier than you think.

Let’s get mixing.

Batch Old Fashioned Recipe (serves 12)

  • 25 oz. bourbon (1 bottle/750 ml.)
  • 2 oz. water
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Angostura bitters (24 dashes)
  • 12 orange peel twists (about 1 orange)
  • 12 maraschino cherries
  • ice

Of course, you can use bourbon, rye, or whiskey for this classic cocktail. My general rule (and it’s not just my rule, someone had to tell me this at some point): the drink should feature a bourbon/rye that you enjoy drinking neat . . . but should only cost around $30 a bottle. Three of my favorites bourbons—that meet the aforementioned requirements—include Buffalo Trace, Elijah Craig, and Old Bardstown Bonded, which we’re using today. And here’s some more good news: you don’t have to measure the spirit. This recipe simply uses a standard 750 ml. bottle of booze, which is about 25 oz.


In a large pitcher—at least 1 liter—add the sugar (image 1), bitters (2), and water. Muddle and mix with a wooden spoon (3). Add the entire bottle of bourbon and stir (4).

To serve, add a large ice cube to an old fashioned glass. Pour a couple ounces into the glass. Garnish with an orange peel twist and maraschino cherry. Makes 11-13 old fashioned cocktails.

The Old Fashioned is a classic whiskey cocktail that has been around, in various forms, since the 1800s. It is so “classic” that it is one of the six basic drinks listed in 1948’s often-referenced The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David A. Embury, along with the Daiquiri, Jack Rose, Manhattan, Martini, and Sidecar. Embury’s recipe for the Old Fashioned calls for American Whiskey, simple syrup, and bitters, garnished with a lemon peel and maraschino cherry.

The International Bartenders Association recommends whiskey (bourbon or rye), a sugar cube, water, and bitters, garnished with an orange slice and a cocktail cherry—and that’s the recipe we’ve batched up today.