do you mix old fashioned in a glass or mixing glass
do you mix old fashioned in a glass or mixing glass

In the world of cocktail crafting, there exists a long-standing debate that has left many amateur mixologists puzzled – should one mix an Old Fashioned in a traditional glass or a mixing glass? This age-old question has sparked countless conversations among enthusiasts, each armed with their own steadfast beliefs. While some argue that using a mixing glass is the only way to achieve the perfect blend of flavors, others remain faithful to the simplicity of mixing directly in the glass. Today, we embark on a journey to unravel the mystery and shed light on the best practice for creating this beloved classic cocktail. So, grab your preferred glassware and join us as we explore the art behind mixing an Old Fashioned to perfection.

What is an Old Fashioned?

An Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that is known for its simplicity and timeless appeal. It is a concoction that consists of whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a twist of citrus. This cocktail is typically served on the rocks and garnished with a cherry or an orange peel.


The Old Fashioned is a cocktail that is made by combining whiskey, sugar, bitters, and citrus. It is often considered to be the original “cocktail” and has been a staple in bars and homes for centuries. The drink is typically served in a rocks glass with ice and garnished with a cherry or an orange peel.


The Old Fashioned has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. It is believed to have originated in the United States, specifically in Kentucky, where bourbon whiskey was readily available. The cocktail gained popularity during the Prohibition era when it became fashionable to disguise the taste of homemade alcohol. Over time, the Old Fashioned has evolved, with variations using different types of whiskey and substitutions for the traditional ingredients.

Choosing the Right Glassware

When it comes to serving an Old Fashioned, the choice of glassware plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall drinking experience. The right glassware not only adds to the aesthetic appeal but also affects the taste and presentation of the cocktail.

Importance of Glassware

The glassware used for serving a cocktail can greatly impact the drinking experience. It helps to showcase the color, aroma, and overall presentation of the drink. Additionally, the shape of the glass can influence the way the flavors and aromas are perceived by the drinker.

Traditional Glass

The traditional glassware for an Old Fashioned is a rocks glass, also known as an Old Fashioned glass. This short and stout glass is the classic choice for serving this timeless cocktail. It has a wide brim that allows for the addition of ice cubes and garnishes, while still providing ample space for the drink itself.

Mixing Glass

In recent years, the use of a mixing glass for serving an Old Fashioned has gained popularity among cocktail enthusiasts. A mixing glass is a tall and slender vessel that is specifically designed for mixing and stirring cocktails. It offers a more elegant and sophisticated presentation of the drink, emphasizing the art of mixology.

The Difference in Mixing Method

The mixing method used for preparing an Old Fashioned can vary depending on the glassware chosen. The traditional glass method and the mixing glass method each have their own unique advantages and drawbacks.

Glass Method

When using a traditional rocks glass, the mixing is often done directly in the glass. The sugar, bitters, and citrus are muddled together, and then the whiskey is added along with ice. The ingredients are gently stirred to ensure proper distribution and flavor infusion.

Mixing Glass Method

In the mixing glass method, the cocktail is prepared in a separate mixing glass. The sugar, bitters, and citrus are muddled together, and then the whiskey is added. The ingredients are stirred with ice in the mixing glass until properly chilled and diluted. The cocktail is then strained into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.

Pros and Cons of Mixing in a Glass

When mixing an Old Fashioned directly in a glass, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider.


The main advantage of mixing in a glass is convenience. It eliminates the need for a separate mixing vessel, making the preparation process quicker and simpler. Additionally, mixing in a glass allows for a more immediate and direct connection with the drink, as the flavors are combined directly in the vessel in which it will be consumed.


One drawback of the glass method is the potential for inconsistent mixing. With no dedicated vessel for stirring, it can be challenging to achieve proper dilution and flavor incorporation. Additionally, the presence of muddled ingredients in the glass may result in a slightly chunky texture, which can be less aesthetically pleasing.

Pros and Cons of Using a Mixing Glass

Using a separate mixing glass for preparing an Old Fashioned also has its own advantages and disadvantages.


The main advantage of using a mixing glass is the control it provides over the mixing process. With a dedicated vessel, it is easier to achieve proper dilution and ensure a consistent flavor profile. The elongated shape of the mixing glass also allows for more effective stirring, resulting in a well-mixed cocktail.


One potential drawback of using a mixing glass is the added step of straining the cocktail into another glass. This not only adds time to the preparation process but can also create a slight disconnect between the mixing process and the final presentation.

Taste and Aesthetic Considerations

The choice of mixing method and glassware can have a significant impact on the taste and aesthetic appeal of an Old Fashioned.

Impact on Taste

When an Old Fashioned is mixed directly in a glass, the flavors may be subtly affected by the muddled ingredients. The sugar and citrus oils released during the muddling process can create a more intense and immediate flavor profile. In contrast, using a separate mixing glass allows for more controlled dilution, resulting in a smoother and more balanced taste.


The choice of glassware can greatly influence the overall aesthetic appeal of the cocktail. A traditional rocks glass offers a classic and robust presentation, while a mixing glass adds a touch of elegance and sophistication. The decision ultimately comes down to personal preference and the desired visual impact.

Expert Opinions

Bartenders and mixology experts often have their own perspectives on the best method for mixing an Old Fashioned.

Bartender Perspectives

Many bartenders prefer mixing an Old Fashioned directly in a glass. They argue that it allows for a more intimate and interactive experience, as the drinker gets to witness the entire mixing process. Additionally, the presence of muddled ingredients in the glass can add an extra layer of complexity to the cocktail’s flavors.

Mixology Experts

Mixology experts tend to favor the use of a separate mixing glass for preparing an Old Fashioned. They emphasize the importance of control and precision in the mixing process, as well as the ability to achieve a consistent and well-balanced drink. They believe that the use of a mixing glass allows for a more refined and elevated experience.

Common Practices

The way an Old Fashioned is mixed and served can vary based on regional preferences and popular trends.

Regional Differences

In some regions, such as the United States, mixing an Old Fashioned directly in a glass is the traditional and preferred method. This is especially true in areas with a strong bourbon whiskey culture, where the simplicity of the cocktail is highly valued. In other regions, particularly those with a more contemporary and experimental cocktail scene, the mixing glass method may be favored for its elegance and precision.

Popular Preferences

As cocktail culture continues to evolve, there is no shortage of opinions and preferences regarding the mixing of an Old Fashioned. Many people enjoy the simplicity of mixing in a glass, appreciating the immediate connection with the cocktail. Others prefer the finesse and artistry of using a mixing glass to achieve a perfectly balanced drink.


When it comes to mixing an Old Fashioned, the choice between a glass or a mixing glass ultimately comes down to personal preference and the desired drinking experience. Both methods have their own advantages and drawbacks, and each can produce a delicious and satisfying cocktail. Whether you opt for the traditional glass method or the more elegant mixing glass approach, the key is to savor the moment and enjoy the timeless appeal of this classic cocktail. Cheers!