This freezer door old fashioned is my favorite make-ahead cocktail for a party! It’s made with bourbon (or rye!), simple syrup, and bitters for a super smooth, classic drink. Make a batch for easy pouring and even easier drinking.

A freezer door old fashioned on a marble tray next to bitters, a bottle of bourbon, a glass bowl of cherries, and a gold shot glass.

The first old fashioned I ever had was in college and it was made in a Tigger mug. I was also sitting on the floor of my cousin’s tiny apartment kitchen and I may have been eating cake with my hands (?). But either way, it left a good impression.

To this day, the old fashioned is still my go-to cocktail, especially for a party! Everyone loves it when you bust out a try of mixed cocktails.

But to make the whole thing even easier, this recipe combines my ginger old fashioneds and freezer door martinis for super easy pouring, serving, and sipping. Let’s discuss!

The best cocktail for a crowd

I’ve been testing different old fashioned ratios for 7+ years, but in the end, this one is my fave. This recipe is based on my go-to old fashioned but we’re batching it in a big bottle for a crowd. Just throw the bottle in the freezer door and you have a cocktail any time you feel like it!

  • This old fashioned is smooth and perfectly balanced.
  • The recipe comes together in just 5 minutes.
  • The bottle makes enough old fashioneds for 8 people.
  • Make this cocktail for a party or to have ready-made drinks on hand!

The ingredient list

A bottle of bourbon, two bottles of bitters, mixing glass with water, cup of simple syrup, and orange peel on a marble tray with a tan background.
  • Bourbon – my favorite whiskey for old fashioneds is bourbon! I usually pick something local like Frey Ranch or Two Bitch Bourbon, but anything you like will work.
  • Simple syrup – it’s important to keep the alcohol content high so the cocktail doesn’t freeze. I recommend making a rich simple syrup (two parts sugar to one part water) so the water content is lower.
  • Bitters – my personal favorite is a mix of Angostura and lemon bitters! Angostura is classic but a bit of citrus bitters makes the old fashioned more complex.
  • Water – old fashioneds typically have a 25-30% dilution when they’re stirred with ice. Since this recipe is poured straight from the freezer, it needs to be diluted just a bit. Use filtered water for a smooth cocktail!
  • Garnishes – for a classic garnish, use an orange or lemon twist. Or both for “rabbit ears”!

Ingredient variations

  • Whiskey – If you like a drier, spicier old fashioned, try rye whiskey instead.
  • Sweetener – feel free to use honey simple syrup, 100% pure maple syrup, or brown sugar simple syrup.
  • Bitters – orange bitters are amazing in this cocktail! For different flavor combos, try switching things up with walnut, cocoa, cardamom, cherry bark, or old fashioned bitters.
  • Garnishes – a cocktail cherry is less traditional but definitely a fun addition!

Pro tip!

When it comes to picking a whiskey, choose something good-quality that you would sip on its own. But, you also don’t have to go super overboard price-wise since it’ll be mixed with simple syrup and bitters.

How to make this recipe

Two steps to batching old fashioneds. In photo 1, a hand pours bourbon into a mixing glass on a marble background next to bitters and simple syrup. In photo 2, a hand is pouring simple syrup into the bottle of whiskey.
  1. Pour about 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of whiskey out of the bottle. Save it for another time.
  2. Then, add the simple syrup straight to the bottle of whiskey.
  3. Add the Angostura and orange bitters to the bottle.
Two steps to making a freezer door old fashioned. In photo 1, a hand pours a glass of water into a bottle of bourbon on a marble background next to bitters. In photo 2, a hand is shaking the bottle.
  1. Pour the water into the old fashioned mixture.
  2. Cap the bottle and gently shake to combine.
  3. Next, place the bottle in the door of the freezer for at least 4 hours.
Three steps to making a whiskey cocktail. In photo 1, gold tongs place an ice cube in a rocks glass on a marble tray next to a bottle of whiskey, gold shot glass, and glass bowl of cherries. In photo 2, a hand is pouring whiskey from a bottle into the glass. In photo 3, the cocktail is garnished with an orange peel.
  1. To serve, place a large ice cube into a rocks glass.
  2. Then, pour 3 ounces of the bottled old fashioned over the ice cube.
  3. Garnish the old fashioned with a twist and enjoy!

Quick tip

Old fashioned ratios are pretty personal, so I definitely recommend tasting and adjusting as you go. Feel free to use more or less simple syrup, bitters, or water depending on how you like your cocktail!

Serving ideas

Batched old fashioneds are my go-to cocktail for sipping with friends! Make this recipe for:

  • Dinner parties, house parties, and get-togethers.
  • Happy hour at home – they’re delicious with snacks!
  • Holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or Valentine’s Day.
  • A cozy night in. My favorite for movie nights or date night at home!

The best whiskey for an old fashioned

You can use either bourbon or rye in old fashioneds. I find that people have a lot of opinions about which whiskey is best. But ultimately, it totally depends on what you like. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of my go-tos!

Best bourbons

  • Elijah Craig Small Batch
  • Four Roses Small Batch
  • Maker’s Mark
  • Frey Ranch
  • Two Bitch
  • Buffalo Trace

Best ryes

  • Frey Ranch
  • Uncle’s Nearest
  • Rittenhouse
  • Knob Creek
A batched old fashioned on a marble counter next to a glass bowl of cherries, gold shot glass, bottle of bourbon, and bitters.

Storing & make-ahead

To store the cocktail, place the bottle in the freezer door. From there, it can basically stay there for as long as you like since there are no fresh ingredients in this recipe.

This batched old fashioned is also the epitome of a make-ahead cocktail! It needs to freeze for at least 4 hours but can basically hang out in the freezer for as long as you like. Just mix up the cocktail, freeze, and pour whenever you need a little drink!

Pro tip!

It’s important that you store this cocktail in the actual freezer door. The door is less cold than say, the back of the freezer, so it’s the perfect temperature for ready-made cocktails. If you store the bottled old fashioned in the back of the freezer, it could turn out slushy.

Helpful tools

A freezer door old fashioned bottle on a beige counter next to bitters, an old fashioned, and a glass bowl of cherries.

Tips & tricks

  • Taste the whiskey before you add simple syrup. If your whiskey is on the sweeter side, start with less simple syrup and add more to taste. If it’s on the spicier side, add more as needed.
  • To keep the water content low, use a rich simple syrup. Just combine 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is thick. Cool completely before using.
  • Make sure you’re adding the bitters properly! A dash of bitters is one good shake, not a drop. 4 dashes of bitters is about 1/4 ounce.
  • If the old fashioneds start to get slushy in the freezer, just add more whiskey. You want the alcohol content to be above 25% (50 proof) so it doesn’t freeze.
  • Pick a whiskey that’s 80 proof (40% alcohol) or higher. This will keep the cocktail from freezing or turning slushy!
  • If you do get ice crystals in the bottle, just give the bottle a gentle shake. Once you pour the old fashioned, the ice crystals will melt after a couple of minutes.

Recipe FAQs

What are freezer door cocktails?

Freezer door cocktails are batched drinks that are mixed in a liquor bottle and stored in the freezer door. The purpose of freezing the cocktails is to skip the stirring or shaking step in traditional cocktail recipes. Then, all you have to do is pour the drinks, garnish, and serve!

Do freezer door cocktails work?

I think it depends on the cocktail, but for boozier cocktails like old fashioneds or martinis, they work great! As long as you keep the alcohol content above 25% and store them in the freezer door, they’re the best make-ahead drink.

Why is it called an old fashioned?

Old fashioned is short for ‘old fashioned whiskey cocktail’. In the 1800s, the old fashioned we know and love today was simply called the Whiskey Cocktail and was made with whiskey, sugar, and bitters. Then, during Prohibition, citrus and cherries started to make their way into the drink to make low-quality liquor taste better. At some point in the 1900s, traditional cocktail lovers who weren’t fans of newer options started asking for the “old fashioned”. And the name stuck!

What is the difference between an old fashioned and a Manhattan?

Both old fashioneds and Manhattans are classic cocktails but they’re actually pretty different. Old fashioneds are made with bourbon or rye whiskey, simple syrup (or a sugar cube), bitters, and a twist. Manhattans, on the other hand, are made of rye whiskey, vermouth, bitters, and a brandy cherry.

A freezer door old fashioned on a marble tray next to bourbon, bitters, a gold shot glass, and a glass bowl of cherries with a beige background.

More party cocktails

French 77 Cocktail with Gin
Sage Greyhound Cocktail
Pomegranate Brown Derby
Blood Orange Bourbon Aperol Cocktail

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Freezer Door Old Fashioned

Yield: 8 cocktails
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
This freezer door old fashioned is my favorite make-ahead cocktail for a party! It's made with bourbon (or rye!), simple syrup, Angostura bitters, and orange bitters for a super smooth, classic drink. Make a batch for easy pouring and even easier drinking.

Ingredients

  • 750 milliliter bottle of bourbon whiskey (or rye)
  • 2 ounces simple syrup (60 milliliters)
  • 1 ounce Angostura bitters (30 milliliters)
  • 1 ounce lemon or orange bitters (30 milliliters)
  • 4 ounces filtered water (120 milliliters)
  • 8 large ice cubes
  • Orange twist, lemon twist, or cocktail cherries, for garnish

Equipment

Instructions 

  • Pour 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of bourbon out of the bottle. Reserve it in a resealable bottle or jar for another time.
  • Add the simple syrup, Angostura bitters, lemon or orange bitters, and water to the bottle of bourbon. Cap the bottle, give it a few shakes, and freeze the old fashioneds for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Add 1 large ice cube to a rocks glass. Then, pour about 3 ounces (90 milliliters) of the chilled cocktail over the ice cube. Garnish with an orange twist, lemon twist, and/or cocktail cherry. Enjoy!

Notes

Taste the whiskey before you add simple syrup. If your whiskey is on the sweeter side, start with less simple syrup and add more to taste. If it’s on the spicier side, add more as needed.
To keep the water content low, use a rich simple syrup. Just combine 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is thick. Cool completely before using.
Make sure you’re adding the bitters properly! A dash of bitters is one good shake, not a drop. 4 dashes of bitters is about 1/4 ounce.
You can skip the water and replace it with more whiskey if you like. The cocktail will be stronger but will slowly dilute as the ice melts.
If the old fashioneds start to get slushy in the freezer, just add more whiskey. You want the alcohol content to be above 25% (50 proof) so it doesn’t freeze.
Pick a whiskey that’s 80 proof (40% alcohol) or higher. This will keep the cocktail from freezing or turning slushy!
If you do get ice crystals in the bottle, just give the bottle a gentle shake. Once you pour the old fashioned, the ice crystals will melt after a couple of minutes.
Cuisine: American
Course: Drinks
Serving: 1cocktail, Calories: 191kcal, Carbohydrates: 17.5g, Sodium: 100mg, Potassium: 2mg, Sugar: 17g, Calcium: 2mg
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xo Sara Lynn

Song of the day – La vie en rose by Louis Armstrong