Tequila Old Fashioned

Think there is only one way to make an Old Fashioned? Think again. Unlike drinks such as the Martini, Margarita, and Daiquiri which have fairly specific recipes, the “Old Fashioned” emerged during the late 1800’s as a way to refer to a cocktail as it was originally made in the “old days”. The old cocktail books would refer to “Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail” so there was no confusion as to what spirit to use. While today it is simply assumed that Whiskey will be the ingredient in your Old Fashioned (or Brandy if you are from Minnesota), that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this style of cocktail with other spirits. So join me as I make mine with Tequila. And since cocktails should be all about celebrating the spirit, I’ll be using a quality tequila, specifically Hornitos 100% blue agave tequila.


1 tsp. agave syrup

2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

2 oz Reposado Tequila


Stir with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with lemon twist.


Robert Hess 4 May 2009
5:42 am

You might note that the recipe listed at the end of the video has Angostura “orange” bitters listed in it, but in the video I am using Angostura “aromatic” bitters… in truth you can use almost any bitters in this, or any of the other variations of an Old Fashioned. So experiment around a little bit and see which one you think works best.

Fred 4 May 2009
5:50 am

Very interesting, and sounds good.

The only question I have for this is what I have for any cocktail that has “a twist,” and that is: when I make this at home, I feel stymied because I don’t know what to do with the lime/lemon/orange that I use after I take a strip of peel off of it. I may even have a second cocktail, but I am wishing for an alternative to these garnishes that don’t leave “damanged” fruit in my refrigerator.

Robert Hess 4 May 2009
6:09 am

Fred, you are definately not alone in your quandry. To be honest, in many cases, when I am just making myself a single cocktail at home, I will skip the garnish entirely either because I don’t have a fresh lemon available, or because if I do, I don’t want to destroy it just for the one drink.

When making a drink which uses lemon juice, I will usually cut the garnishes first, and then juice the same lemon for the drink.

For a Martini, while my preferred garnish is a lemon twist, I will usually use an olive instead, simply because they store well in the fridge.

But if I’m making a special cocktail for myself, I will do it properly, and see the destruction of an entire lemon for just a single lemon twist as just part of the cost… unless of course I can figure something else to do with the lemon. Such as stuffing a roast chicken, making mayonnaise, frying up some trout…

Fred 4 May 2009
6:30 am

Interesting note re: Angostura “orange” bitters. In fact, I did use that in the Old Fashoned Bourbon cocktail, not having an orange peel and figuring it would help make up for the lack.

Alex Staherski 4 May 2009
6:35 am

Great episode!  I can’t wait to try this one out this evening.  I’m always looking for more things to do with tequila, and I’m surprised I never thought to try this before.

blair frodelius 4 May 2009
7:36 am

Re: garnishes.  Here is my solution.

Like Robert, I peel for garnishes first.  I generally go all the way around the “equator”.  This will give me about 5 really nice long thin twists.  I then use the fruit for juicing in whatever cocktail calls for it.  However, if I will not be using the de-peeled fruit, I store it in an airtight refrigerator for up to three days.  It will still juice pretty well as long as it isn’t exposed to air and dries out. This works with both lemons and limes.

Oranges however, are an entirely different story.  Using a nice fat slice of orange peel for a Manhattan or Old Fashioned (or even a Martini), leaves a huge swath of exposed pith which rapidly dries out and makes the orange pretty much unusable for anything.  I tend to juice the orange for breakfast the next day, or if I’m making a batch of Sangrita.



Chris Milligan 4 May 2009
2:14 pm

Great episode again, Robert.  I have tried this with both bitters as well as a combination of orange and aromatic.  I agree, most any bitters work well.


PS Touche   www.sfbarman.net

Paul Storey 5 May 2009
2:03 am


Love this one.  I’m gonna have to get some agave syrup (and something a lot better than Sauza).

PS - I remember back in an old episode, I believe it was the Jasmine, you were using a folding knife to cut the lemon.  What kind was it, and where can I find one?

Robert Hess 5 May 2009
4:12 am

Paul, the folding knife which I sometimes use on the show comes from A. G. Russell, and is called a “Folding Hocho”. This is a great knife for a “traveling kit”, as it is both large enough to cut almost anything, but also folds up so it can be safely stored. Although I wouldn’t recommend taking it on in your “carry on” baggage :->

Here is a link:

Robert Hess 5 May 2009
4:16 am

When I was in Las Vegas recently, I stopped in to Bobby Flay’s restaurant at the Mirage, which specializes in having a great selection of tequilas. Sitting down at the bar I asked the bartender for a “Tequila Old Fashioned”. I saw him pause for a second, and then promptly made it up.

“I’d never heard anybody order one of those before”, he said a few moments after he handed it to me.

So next time you’re out in a bar, especially one which specializes in tequila, try ordering one and see what reaction you get, as well as what sort of drink you get. :->

Alex Staherski 19 Jun 2009
11:06 am

I recently got some more of the Fee Bros bitters and have been doing a bit of experimenting, and I find this recipe works REALLY well with their rhubarb bitters.  Give it a try!

Major_Mango 12 Oct 2009
4:32 pm

Just made this w/Hornitos (I bought on RH rec. and thought it was good!) but substituted FB Aztec Chocolate Bitters, at the suggestion of Glen @ Louis 649 in NYC.

You should try it.  He & I both believe it to compliment the tequila superbly!

Kyle 11 Jan 2010
2:30 pm

This has turned into one of my favorite drinks!  I typically never enjoyed tequila, but obviously that was because my previous tequila experiences were with cheap “mixto” tequila, and not 100% agave tequila.  I actually used the Hornitos Reposado that is used in the video, and really enjoy the taste.  It’s actually replaced the whiskey old fashioned as my “go-to” cocktail.

Nick L. 22 Oct 2010
12:30 pm

Really enjoy this cocktail.  Tequila is my favorite spirit and this drink is a hit with my taste buds.

As far as bitters go, there are so many options.  I’ve tried quite a few in the Fee Bros line and I keep falling back on a dash of Angostura combined with a dash of Fee Bros orange bitters.  Orange works really well with tequila and the Angostura really brings another dimension that’s not usually found in tequilas.

For tequilas, Hornitos is fine if you’re new to tequilas, but as soon as you get comfortable with the spirit, here are some reposados I find to work much better: Muchote, Gran Centenario, Corralejo, and Chinaco.  Depending on your location, some of those may even be cheaper than Hornitos.

One thing to keep in mind is although they are all classified as reposados, they definitely differ quite a bit from each other as far as flavor profiles go.  If you like something with quite a bit of oak and smoke, Muchote will work perfectly; whereas if you like more delicate tequilas, try Corralejo.  Try different quantities of agave nectar (even try dark vs. light agave nectar) and different bitters.  As someone above mentioned, something as off-the-wall as rhubarb bitters probably works well.  Not only doesn’t that surprise me, but it sounds delicious!

Happy experimenting!

MsB 8 Jan 2011
5:51 am

Yum! This sounds delicious. Thanks

Last night we were discussing making a drink for a mexican meal with Habanero infused tequila, a bit of a chocolate liquor , a smidgen of a cinnamon liquor and serving it in a martini glass. My son wanted to call it a Mexican Hooker ::: shaking head ::::

But I may try this instead with a Habanero infused tequila, aztec chocolate bitters and replace the lime with orange :). LOL…now to find the bitters locally.

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