How Many Calories In An Old Fashioned?

How Many Calories In An Old Fashioned?

The cocktail that many of us now refer to as an “old fashioned” is actually a modern spin on the very first traditional cocktails that were ever made back in the early 19th century.

Because of this, while a few ingredients have been switched out to make this classic cocktail a little more appetizing to modern audiences, there’s no doubt that it still contains a few ingredients that some would consider a little less nutritious than they would like.

So that you can decide whether it’s a good call to order an old fashioned the next time that it catches your eye at a bar or restaurant, here is all you need to know about the calorie count of this popular traditional cocktail, and if it contains any nutritional benefits at all. 

Ingredients Used In An Old Fashioned Cocktail

Because the old fashioned was one of the earliest cocktails to be made, it originally began with fairly simple ingredients, however through the years, a few more ingredients have been added to the standard recipe which has turned it into a delightfully warm and moderately strong cocktail that is a must-try for all those whiskey fans out there. 

The standard set of ingredients most people will use to make a rich and appetizing old fashioned is bourbon or rye whiskey, mixed with simple syrup to make the texture a little smoother and more creamy, a few dashes of Angostura bitters to add a mixture of fruits and herbs to the overall flavor, and a final orange peel or Luxardo cherry to garnish.

A sugar cube is also an essential part of the recipe since it is a big reason the drink acquires such a tremendous amount of sweetness, making it just as important as the bitters.

Some people will also use scotch instead of rye whiskey or bourbon to make the aroma of the drink a little smokier, however if you want to remain traditional and enjoy the cocktail the way it was always intended, whiskey and bourbon are two choices that you can guarantee mix elegantly with the extra ingredients. 

How Many Calories Are In An Old Fashioned?

Compared to many of its counterparts, the old fashioned is considered the middle of the road when it comes to its calories with a single glass on average containing between 140 and 155 calories (read here to find out how many calories in a vodka tonic).

This is just for the standard 4-ingredients recipe, however if you do choose to add in any additional sugars or sweeteners, then this number can end up being a lot higher. 

While it may initially seem like the old fashioned, with its usage of whiskey and bourbon, would be a very strong cocktail in terms of its taste, the sugar cube along with the bitters are designed to coat over the incredibly potent and strong taste of the whiskey, which is why the drink can taste so mild to a lot of people, even when drinking out of a smaller glass with a good amount of whiskey poured in.

On the other hand, this can make it easy to get carried away while sipping away at this sweet and vibrant cocktail since the whiskey can be so hard to detect.

How Healthy Is The Old Fashioned?

While the ingredients used to make the old fashioned don’t offer many nutritional benefits, when compared to other cocktails, this historic beverage is actually considered fairly healthy.

In fact, when they are made using only their essential ingredients, the only cocktails on average that are lower in calories than the old fashioned are the Cuba libre, the gin & tonic, and the Bloody Mary

The old fashioned is therefore considered to be fairly mild in its overall calories in comparison to many other cocktails, and while part of this has to do with the limited amount of ingredients it uses, another reason is that many people will drink an old fashioned in smaller quantities since it doesn’t use a traditional mixer, making it quite strong in its flavor and taste. 

How Many Calories In An Old Fashioned?

What Is A Brandy Old Fashioned?

A popular variant of the old fashioned cocktail that has exploded in popularity over recent years is the brandy old fashioned which puts a midwestern spin on the classic whiskey recipe by instead mixing the sweeteners and fruity spices with brandy.

While this recipe does stray a little from the traditional old fashioned most people are used to, the inclusion of brandy does help to make the taste overall a lot sweeter while also adding a bit more of an oak flavor since it is commonly aged for extended periods in wooden barrels. 

This variant of the old fashioned still uses a mixture of bitters and sweeteners to create the classic laid-back vibe that you would expect from the classic old fashioned, but makes it a lot fruitier and more vibrant than the original recipe. 

Are There More Calories In Brandy Old Fashioned?

An average glass of brandy old fashioned will contain a lot more calories than if you were to use rye whiskey or bourbon, with each serving containing around 250 calories.

Brandy in general is quite high in the amount of calories it carries with a one-shot serving containing 97 calories on its own, which gives you an idea of how much sugar it contains. 

This is around the same level of calories as a strawberry daiquiri, so while it does contain more calories than simply using whiskey, it still isn’t the worst cocktail you could pick if you’re on a diet and want to keep an eye on your calorie intake. 


The old fashioned is a classic and traditional cocktail that still tastes just as delicious as it did when it was first being mixed over two decades ago, and even today it is still fairly moderate in its calorie count, despite containing such a varied mix of old and new ingredients. 

While there is a popular recipe that puts a brandy spin on the traditional whiskey used in the old fashioned, keep in mind that this will cause the calories to shoot up along with the flavor becoming much more fruity than usual. 

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