How to make a Wriggly Old Fashioned

How to make a Wriggly Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned (or ‘Old Fashioned Whisky cocktail’ to give it its original name) is the cocktail that gave birth to cocktails. The cocktail of all cocktails. A deceptively simple mix of spirits, sugar and bitters, it is sophisticated - with swagger and style. The Mad Men of cocktails if you will.

It owes its name and notoriety to America, but the Old Fashioned is indebted to Richard Stoughton, the London apothecary who created the first aromatic bitters. By the mid-1700s, bitters were a commonplace addition to spirits in bars in Britain and America. The addition of fruit – usually an orange slice or maraschino cherry – came about during Prohibition, probably to disguise sub-par whisky. But the revival takes it back to its pure and simple roots.

Call us old fashioned (ahem), but here at The Oxford Artisan Distillery we approach the cocktail classics with all due reverence. However, we are also open to innovation, because the next great drink is always just one mix away.

Such is the case here. The Wriggly Monkey Brewery’s Charabanc Ruby Ale adds another dimension altogether to our Oxford Rye. The ale sugar syrup, Cointreau, and bitters combine to splendid effect. Well-balanced, yet malty, with just a slick hint of citrus, this is an unexpectedly brilliant meeting of flavours.


  • 60ml Oxford Rye
  • 10ml Wriggly Monkey beer sugar syrup (see below)
  • 10ml Triple sec or Cointreau
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash Orange bitters
  • Orange twist (to garnish)


  1. Chill an Old Fashioned glass by filling it with crushed ice.
  2. Add all the ingredients apart from the orange bitters to a mixing glass or tin, and stir for at least 30 seconds and then a little more.
  3. Discard the ice and add a large ice cube to the glass.
  4. Pour the cocktail into the glass and dash the orange bitters over the top.
  5. Garnish with the orange twist


Use a 1:1 ratio of ale to white sugar. It’s best to dissolve the sugar without any heat as overheating the beer will create a very bitter syrup. If you do need to warm it gently, do not allow it to boil!

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