The Fancy Free Cocktail – a Blend of Tradition and Experimentation

4.0 from 1 vote

This is another one of those “I was looking for something a little different to try” recipes. The Fancy Free cocktail is not new, but it’s not a particularly common cocktail, either. Which made me even more curious to try it. It uses the Old Fashioned template, which means it’s easy to whip one up on a moment’s notice.

Origins of the Fancy Free Cocktail

The Fancy Free cocktail has a rich history rooted in the mid-20th century, a time when classic cocktails were at their peak. It first made its appearance in cocktail literature as a delightful twist on the venerable Old Fashioned. The Old Fashioned, known for its simplicity and elegance, typically consists of whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a twist of citrus. The Fancy Free takes this foundation and adds its own unique spin.

The introduction of maraschino liqueur to the recipe adds a layer of complexity and sweetness that complements the robust bourbon base. This liqueur, made from Marasca cherries, was already well-known in cocktail circles for its use in other classics like the Aviation and the Hemingway Daiquiri.

The addition of both Angostura bitters and orange bitters further distinguishes the Fancy Free from its Old Fashioned predecessor. Angostura bitters, with their aromatic blend of spices, add depth and a touch of bitterness, while the orange bitters bring a bright, citrusy note that balances the drink beautifully.

Overall, the Fancy Free is a testament to the creativity and innovation of mid-20th century mixologists, who sought to elevate and reinvent classic cocktails. Its origins are a blend of tradition and experimentation, resulting in a drink that is both timeless and refreshingly unique.

Sipping Notes

The Fancy Free cocktail offers a well-rounded drinking experience:

  • Aroma: The nose is greeted with the warm, spicy notes of bourbon, intermingled with the sweet, nutty scent of maraschino liqueur.
  • Taste: The first sip reveals the rich, caramel undertones of the bourbon, followed by the sweetness of the maraschino liqueur. The bitters add a layer of complexity, with Angostura providing hints of cinnamon and clove, while the orange bitters impart a zesty citrus finish.
  • Finish: The finish is smooth and lingering, with the bitters balancing the sweetness and leaving a pleasant, slightly dry aftertaste.

The Fancy Free Cocktail

4.0 from 1 vote
Difficulty: Easy


Prep time


Total time




  • 2 ounces 2 Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

  • 1/2 ounce 1/2 Luxardo liqueur

  • 2 dashes 2 orange bitters

  • 1 dash 1 Angostura bitters

  • Orange twist


  • Add ingredients to a mixing glass
  • Add several large ice cubes
  • Stir until well chilled
  • Strain into a glass with a large ice cube
  • Garnish with an orange twist


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Bob Sawyer


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Hi! I’m Bob!

If it’s got bourbon in it, I’m drinking it. And if it’s really good, I’m gonna figure out how to make it, and share it with you. Because I’m good like that.


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