Williamsburg's Best Old Fashioned Cocktails

Drinks

by Chad Thomas

Cocktail-making is in art, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a city in the world with more talent artists than New York.

When thinking about cocktails respective to different boroughs, though, different thoughts might come to mind. In Manhattan, you might gravitate toward a dry martini, a vodka-soda, or—shocker—a Manhattan. In Williamsburg, though, the clear liquor is subbed out for brown, and the drinks take a step backward in time—see what I did there?

The Old Fashioned is Brooklyn's quintessential cocktail, and we're here to show you where you can find the best.

See also: Best Williamsburg Restaurants on a Budget

Quick enlightenment for the newbies…

An Old Fashioned is a traditional cocktail made with three basic ingredients: bourbon, simple syrup—which is just sugar dissolved in water—bitters, and a piece of orange peel. Of course, there are many variations to this, though you'll find the best versions rely on the original, simple recipe.

To the winners!

Dram

Dram

Straight-down-the-middle Old Fashioneds with any one of Dram's hundreds of whiskey selections here. The drinks are served in their traditional double glasses, with one large cube of ice to keep everything cool.

Offerings start at $12 here for middle-shelf bourbons, which are more than sufficient in a cocktail like an Old Fashioned.

The Richardson

The Richardson

Nine-dollar cocktails set The Richardson apart, but it doesn't differentiate itself on price alone. The Richardson goes heavy-handed on your bourbon of choice when it comes to your Old Fashioned, and sipping it in the speakeasy-esque establishment, you'll start to feel as though you're a character in an old 1930s movie.

Hotel Delmano

Hotel Delmano

This gorgeous lounge also offers fresh oysters to complement a cocktail of your choosing. While not on the cheaper side of the spectrum, you get what you pay for at Hotel Delmano. It's truly a luxurious experience. The place is typically packed, so try to get there early if you can.

Walter Foods

Walter Foods

Though the ambiance is slightly upscale and the pricetag reflects it, make no mistake: Walter's is traditional American fare, from their crispy fried chicken to their graham cracker crust key lime pie. In this vein, their Old Fashioneds are made in the traditional style: bourbon of your choice, Angostura bitters, a small piece of orange peel rubbed 'round the rim of the glass, and a spherical ice cube. Tradition at its finest, indeed.

Rye

Rye

Our personal favorite. Rye is an impeccably styled establishment with an eclectic food menu that includes Williamsburg's best pork belly sandwich, an excellent complement to an Old Fashioned. True to its name, Rye makes an excellent Rye Old Fashioned, a subtle, slightly spicy twist on the original formula. Old Overholt is a tasty an economical choice here. Also: $5 double cheeseburgers at Happy Hour.


Time plods along, and trends come and go. Some items fall out of favor and are relegated to the past forever. Some fade away, only to return in full force in some sort of new-age revival. And some—the best—never go out of style at all. This last category counts the Old Fashioned as one of its members, and it's a truly great—and quintessentially Brooklyn—cocktail.