The Five Worst Old-Fashioned Videos on YouTube


Not much could be simpler than the Old Fashioned. The origin of the name “Old Fashioned” is from a book published in 1895, authored by George Kappeler, entitled Modern American Drinks: How to Mix and Serve All Kinds of Cups and Drinks.”

Old-Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail

Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece ice, a piece lemon-peel, one jigger* whiskey. Mix with small bar-spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass.

*A jigger is defined on page 19 as a measuring device that holds 2 fluid ounces

Today, if you go into a bar (other than a nice craft cocktail bar) and ask for an old-fashioned, you’ll probably get two drops of bitters, simple syrup, an orange and a maraschino cherry muddled together, 3 ounces of bourbon, and some soda water, in a glass packed tightly with ice, which dilutes far too quickly, and leaves the drink a watery mess.

Below, I’ve selected some of the worst videos I was able to find on youtube. This is just my list, and it’s totally subjective, so if you disagree, please comment with your opinion! Let’s start the list:

#5 The Downtown Cocktail Room

To start, we can give kudos for the classy music and location, even if the focus is a bit off.

But we see those oranges and cherries on the table. We know what’s coming! Given, he does point out that the bright maraschino cherries you find in the supermarket are not fit for imposing flavor, but nowhere in the recipe for an Old-Fashioned is any cherry mentioned at all!

Sins against the recipe:

  • Using a separate mixing glass
  • Muddling an orange slice
  • Muddling a cherry
  • Too much ice means too much dilution
  • Wrong garnish

You may notice I have not included the simple syrup in that list. The truth is that while the recipe calls for a lump of sugar (usually a sugar cube today) to be dissolved in water in the glass, there’s really very little if any practical difference between creating the sugar syrup in the glass and having it pre-prepared. I prefer to do it in the glass, but that’s only because I like to use my muddler, and it feels more Old-Fashioned that way. In a pinch, I’ll use a little simple syrup, too.



This young fellow seems to know what he’s talking about– there’s no mention of oranges or cherries, and a little history, too! He’s right. Old-fashioneds can be considered a drink family. In the broadest sense, it’s the modern word for what “cocktail” used to mean: a mixture of a spirit with sugar, water, and bitters.

But here’s where he starts to get confused; the phrase “Old-Fashioned” without any qualifier, is short for an Old-Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail, which was never made with cognac. He’s thinking of another semi-member of the Old-Fashioned family, the Sazerac, which only used cognac for a short time before rye became the standard. Even that has one too many ingredients to be a true old-fashioned cocktail.

Sins against the recipe:

This video really isn’t SO bad, as he clearly knows what an old-fashioned is supposed to be, but forgetting one of the most important parts and calling the video done is really unforgivable.


The Old-Fashioned Three Ways

WARNING TO HEADPHONE USERS: Loud music starts after monologue.

The monologue here is weird. What’s this crap about a three-way? I like the concept he presents of the “old old-fashioned” and the “new old-fashioned,”  which I call a “new-fangled” (which is also a name of a published cocktail based on the “new old-fashioned” in the PDT cocktail book).

The “tequila old-fashioned” is a weird inclusion here. It’s not the only spirit used to make old-fashioneds besides whiskey (cognac and other brandies are popular). If you ask a bartender to make you a new fashioned, I guarantee they won’t know what you mean, and if they guessed at it, you’d never get a tequila old-fashioned. There is no drink with such a broadly defined name that hasn’t got a million mutually-exclusive recipes. And then there’s this:

“It’s not the very oldest, but goddamn it, I think it should be.”

Huh? What’s that supposed to mean?

It should be older? Says who? By what standard? Would I mean anything if I said I should be older than my cousins? This sounds like a lazy attempt to pretend to be wise.

Then we get to hair-pulling territory (my hair, my hands, my scalp). He dismisses “nouveau* mixologists” who care about the history of the drink and states that the “new old-fashioned” has “earned its proper place in the cocktail canon.” It has, he’s right, but not the same way as the Sazerac, the manhattan, or the martini. It has found its way into the cocktail canon as a cautionary tale of what can happen if you don’t understand your recipes.

There’s not a problem with cocktail recipes changing over time, but this one is called an Old-Fashioned. Its name literally means that it hasn’t been changed.

Sins against the recipe:

  • Not including any recipe
  • Making a “new old-fashioned”
  • Using non-aromatic bitters in the “old old-fashioned” (minor sin, but it does mess with the flavor)
  • Soda water (I know I already mentioned use of the “new old-fashioned,” but not everyone uses soda water for that)
  • Overpouring: I count four ounces of whiskey going into the “old old-fashioned.”
  • Shaking the “old old-fashioned”

Crimes against bartending:

  • Overpouring- By putting so much liquor in each drink , he limits how many drinks he can safely sell, cutting into bar profits (and his tips) when he has to cut people off a drink or two earlier. Also, the same problem wastes inventory, which also cuts into bar profits.
  • Spilling EVERYWHERE- Flair bartending is fun. He’s got some cool moves! But you have to practice a move with water until spilling is absolutely minimal before performing it with bar inventory!
  • Stirring with the wrong end of that spoon again…

Crimes against videomaking:

  • Sound balance. Amiright, headphone users?
  • Replaying in color with a reversed image to fill in the rest of the music.
*Nouveau means modern and up-to-date. Accusing someone of being nouveau and having frozen dogma is like accusing them of being stupid and having a 150 IQ. It just doesn’t mesh. By the way, I, as a defender of the traditional Old-Fashioned, have never had a full beard, and have only worn a moustache once. I wanted to be Groucho Marx for Halloween, so I grew one.


Home Happy Hour- Employees Only

This recipe isn’t so bad. There’s nothing muddled, and though there are a couple of extra ingredients, they’re only used  as garnish.

Still, this has enough sins to qualify as #2 because say it ain’t so!

Employees Only is a truly unique and wonderful craft cocktail bar that takes pride in quality bartending.

They have some great twists on classics, like adding a dash of Grand Marnier to a Manhattan. But like I said before, and Old-Fashioned is called and Old-Fashioned because the method for making it is unchanged. I was gobsmacked to see a video like this filmed in that establishment.

So, though it pains me to list this because I so greatly respect the bartender in the video, I must list the sins.

Sins against the recipe:

  • Using an orange slice and a cherry.
  • Muddling the lemon twist (hey, I hold these guys to a high standard, okay?)
  • Overpouring. I count 2.75 oz after he said 2 oz. In his defense, it’s hard to freepour while talking.
  • Adding water after the whiskey: over-diluting
  • Along the same lines, using too much ice. Not as bad as some other videos, but again; high standard.
  • Being so smart and so talented and (please forgive me, Dev! I’ll wax your moustache for you and everything!)  still making the Old-Fashioned in a New-Fangled way!

I have nothing more to say here. I’m just not worthy to leverage any further criticism.

And the absolute worst of the worst:

(JaNee, please shoot me a message, and we’ll see about a second-chance video. Maybe this was just a bad day for you.)


Oh dear…

Am I supposed to do something with this?

Am I supposed to come up with something intelligent to say about this monumental horror?

Okay, this’ll be a tough one, but I’ll try to list everything.

Sins against the recipe:

  • Cherries shown are grocery store maraschino candied cherries
  • Using a nonic pint glass instead of a whiskey glass
  • Muddling an orange and two cherries…
  • For more cherry flavor (Maraschino candied cherries have no remaining cherry flavor. They are completely candied.)
  • Way too much ice, and way too small. That surface area is enormous, and anything placed in that glass will be more water than liquor in a minute flat.
  • “Three ounces of bourbon” (recipe calls for two)
  • Actually pouring enough bourbon to fill a 16-ounce iced glass. (recipe calls for two ounces, host calls for three)
  • Rolling the drink between glasses instead of stirring.

Crimes against videomaking:

  • Tons of irrelevant clutter in the active area of the stage.
  • Doing less than zero research.
  • Showing up unprepared (no muddler, used makeshift)

Crimes against bartending:

  • Knowing nothing about the recipe and not looking it up.
  • Doing everything with fingers
  • Showing up unprepared (see above)
  • Counting drops of bitters as dashes
  • Scooping ice with a glass, risking the glass breaking into the ice, where it will be indistinguishable from the ice and could kill someone if nobody notices the break
  • Eyeballing the bourbon measure instead of using a jigger or a spout
  • Completely failing to eyeball the measure resulting in
  • Giving away half the bottle of whiskey to whoever hypothetically ordered the drink,
  • and probably sending them to the hospital with alcohol poisoning, if not internal lacerations from a previous chip of broken glass in the ice

Crimes against common sense:

  • Is there a difference between a sugar cube and water and sugar water? Yeah, sure. Sugar water is clearly more liquid-y than a sugar cube dissolved in water. And a sugar cube makes sweeter water than sugar water does! Because why not!?
  • Expecting half the bottle of bourbon to make one drink.
  • It’s nothing like a manhattan.
  • All the flavors are mixed up. Which is unique to this drink and is in no way the entire principle of mixology in general.

Bonus points!

List your own picks for the worst Old-Fashioned videos in the comments!

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