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The Oaxacan Old Fashioned

The Oaxacan Old Fashioned is a modern twist on the classic Old Fashioned, and it’s become a popular choice for those who enjoy the smoky flavors of mezcal. It quickly became a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts and has since been featured on menus at bars and restaurants all over the world. The drink is named after the Mexican state of Oaxaca, which is known for its mezcal production.

Oaxacan Old Fashioned Cocktail Garnish with a orange peel and a sphere ice cube

To make an Oaxacan Old Fashioned, you’ll need reposado tequila, mezcal, agave nectar, and Angostura bitters. You’ll also need an orange peel for garnish and a mixing glass to stir the ingredients. The drink is typically served in an old fashioned glass over ice, and it’s garnished with a flamed orange twist to express the essential oils and add a touch of smokiness to the drink. The result is a boozy and complex cocktail that’s perfect for sipping on a cold evening.


The Oaxacan Old Fashioned is a modern classic cocktail that was created by Phil Ward, a bartender who worked at Death & Co., a speakeasy in New York City. The cocktail was introduced in 2007, and it quickly became popular among drinkers who were looking for a new and unique way to enjoy mezcal, a Mexican spirit that is similar to tequila but has a smokier flavor.

A delicious Oaxacan Old Fashioned cocktail set upon a table ready to be enjoyed.

The cocktail is named after the Mexican state of Oaxaca, which is known for producing some of the best mezcal in the world. The Oaxacan Old Fashioned is made with mezcal, which is combined with agave nectar and bitters to create a drink that is both smoky and sweet.

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The Oaxacan Old Fashioned was not the first mezcal cocktail that Phil Ward created. He also created the Mezcal Negroni, which is a twist on the classic Negroni cocktail that substitutes mezcal for gin. However, it was the Oaxacan Old Fashioned that really caught on and helped to popularize mezcal cocktails.

After Phil Ward left Death & Co., he opened his own bar in New York City called Mayahuel, which was named after the Aztec goddess of agave. Mayahuel was known for its extensive selection of agave spirits, including mezcal and tequila. The Oaxacan Old Fashioned was one of the signature drinks at Mayahuel, and it helped to establish the bar as a destination for mezcal lovers.

How to Make It

Oaxacan Old Fashioned Cocktail Garnish with a orange peel and a sphere ice cube

The Oaxacan Old Fashioned

Yield: 1

Making an Oaxacan Old Fashioned is relatively simple and straightforward. Here are the steps to follow:


  • 1 1/2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1/2 oz mezcal
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • Two dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Garnish with a lit orange peel


    1. Gather all the ingredients, an Old Fashioned glass, and a lighter
    2. Combine the mezcal, reposado, agave nectar, and Angostura bitters into an Old Fashioned glass with one large ice cube
    3. Stir thoroughly until well-chilled
    4. Light an orange peel over the top of the drink and squeeze firmly to express the oils, then drop it right in the glass
    5. Serve immediately, sip, and enjoy


If you prefer a sweeter drink, you can add more agave nectar to taste. You can also experiment with different types of bitters, such as chocolate bitters or mole bitters, to add more complexity to the cocktail.

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To serve the Oaxacan Old Fashioned, use an old fashioned glass or a rocks glass. You can also add more ice cubes if you prefer a colder drink.

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Choosing Your Mezcal

When selecting your tequila and mezcal, choose high-quality spirits that complement each other. A good reposado tequila will add sweetness and citrus notes, while a smoky mezcal will add depth and complexity to the drink.

The best mezcal to use in an Old Fashioned is one that has a smoky flavor and is not too overpowering. Some good options include Del Maguey Vida, Los Siete Misterios Doba-Yej, and Mezcal Union Uno.


The Oaxacan Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that has been around for years. While the original recipe calls for tequila, mezcal, agave nectar, and Angostura bitters, there are many variations that you can try to mix things up.

Chocolate Bitters

Another way to add some complexity to your Oaxacan Old Fashioned is to use chocolate bitters. These bitters add a rich, earthy flavor that pairs well with the smokiness of the mezcal. Try adding a few dashes of chocolate bitters to your mixing glass before adding the other ingredients.

Flamed Orange Twist

To add a bit of flair to your Oaxacan Old Fashioned, try garnishing it with a flamed orange twist. To do this, simply express the orange peel over the top of the drink to release its essential oils, then hold a lighter to the peel to create a small flame. The resulting smoky flavor pairs perfectly with the mezcal and tequila.

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Mole Bitters

For a spicier twist on the classic cocktail, try using mole bitters instead of Angostura bitters. Mole bitters contain a mix of spices and chiles that add a complex, smoky flavor to the drink. Add a teaspoon of mole bitters to your mixing glass before adding the other ingredients.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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