I’m not going to lie to you - I do not like whiskey. So why compile a list of old-fashioned cocktails? Do I want to be Don Draper from Mad Men? Maybe.
There’s something about the cocktail though that enables me to withstand the brown stuff, and the way this city serves one is second to none. Just don’t have 20 or you’ll end up in one of the canals.
Probably the quintessential Old-Fashioned gaff in the whole city, Bunny Jacksons not only serve up an absolute beauty of a cocktail but they also offer them for only £5 every Friday between 4 and 6pm. Choose your bourbon, choose your bitters and they’ll then add the orange peel and sugar and you’re good to go.
Bunny Jacksons, 1 Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester M15 4RA
The Whiskey Jar
As you’d expect from the city’s premier whiskey joint – they manage to get an old-fashioned perfectly right every time. The classic served with one of their massive selection of single malt whiskies or if you’re feeling really adventurous, try the Salted Caramel Old Fashioned and you’ll never look back.
The Whiskey Jar, 14 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF
What’s not to love about everything being served smoky? In my opinion it comes hand-in-hand with an old-fashioned, and the Alchemist do a fantastic job with their old-fashioned that even whiskey haters can have several of without flinching. Maybe it’s the maple syrup they add? Or the Jerry Thomas bitters? Or maybe it’s just because it looks great with smoke bellowing out of it.
The Alchemist, 3 Hardman St, Manchester M3 3HF
Albatross & Arnold
Probably one of the best examples of an Old Fashioned in the city, Albatross & Arnold’s Salted Caramel number manages to not only be lovely and sweet, it also gives you that necessary bitter twang that makes this drink so bloody good. Salted Caramel goes amazingly with everything and this is no exception.
Albatross & Arnold, Leftbank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3AN
Always ones to provide an extensive range of cocktails, The Botanist have developed an acquired but very delicious spin on the classic – serving up a Cinnamon and Oregano Old Fashioned. Even though it sounds a bit strange, try it – it’s glorious. They also do a Rhubarb and Gin old fashioned but seeing as it’s gin and not whiskey and rhubarb is horrible – give this one a miss.
The Botanist, 78 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2FW
1D School Ln, Didsbury M20 6SA
Roc & Rye
With what looks like a whole Jameson whiskey laboratory round the back it will come as no surprise to hear that Roc & Rye offer a brilliant Old Fashioned – enthusiastically prepared by their expert staff. Grab hold of one of these, lean against the bar and unleash your inner Don Draper.
Roc & Rye, 60 Spring Gardens, Manchester M2 2BQ
Science & Industry
These cocktail gods offer a Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned which somes with 3 whiskeys (Wild Turkey rye, Woodford bourbon and Ardberg 10) alongside two bitters (Angostura and Orange) and a final flourish of Port and Syrup. Amazing.
Science & Industry, 49, 51 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
Tariff and Dale
Now for something pretty special – Tariff and Dale serve up a Mezcal Old Fashioned which comes with Aztec Chocolate and Rhubarb bitters and a hint of grapefruit. It might not have the traditional whiskey-ness, but it’s a fantastic cocktail anyway so it deserves to be here just as much as the rest.
Tariff & Dale, 2 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FN
As you’d expect from this classy place, they’re top draw when it comes to an Old Fashioned. There’s more smoke here than a Californian bush fire and it comes dabbled with some rather welcome sweet in the form of maple syrup. Oak smoke should be allowed everywhere because it just makes everything better.
Australasia, The Avenue, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3AP
Dusk til Pawn
The Northern Quarter favourite never fails to impress with it’s wonderful array of cocktails and they nail a good smoked Old Fashioned. They’re moreish though, not what you would expect from an OF, so try one or 10 immediately.
Dusk Til Pawn, Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN
0161 236 5355