Union Bartender: Old Fashioned

By Robert Fulton

There’s a classic scene from Mad Men where Don Draper meets a man named Connie, not knowing that the person he’s talking to is Conrad Hilton. As in the founder of Hilton Hotels. While chatting, Don is busy making an Old Fashioned. The introduction of Conrad Hilton is a pivotal moment for Don and the show, but it’s the classic cocktail that anchors the scene so brilliantly.

Because of Mad Men, the Old Fashioned has enjoyed a renaissance. If this was the only legacy of the show, it would be good enough. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as sipping a well-made Old Fashioned, a little sweetness cutting through fine bourbon or rye, a warm sense of accomplishment best enjoyed in a dimly-lit bar boasting a touch of refinement.

Though we can quibble with Don Draper’s Old Fashioned recipe, particularly his liberal use of club soda, we do endorse that the Old Fashioned is a perfect accompaniment to any conversation.


•    1 teaspoon sugar or 1 sugar cube
•    2-3 dashes angostura bitters
•    Splash of club soda or water
•    2 ounces rye or bourbon whiskey (See our list of union-made bourbons)
•    Ice
•    Orange twist, for garnish

Place the sugar into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Add the bitters and a splash of water or club soda to dilute the sugar (muddle if using a sugar cube). Add the bourbon or rye and ice. Stir until chilled (30 seconds). Rub the orange twist around the rim of the glass, then garnish. Enjoy.

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