The Old Fashioned—made from whiskey, sugar, bitters and ice—is one of the world’s most iconic cocktails. After falling out of favor in the 1970s, it’s back in a big way, helped by the recent craft cocktail renaissance, and yes, Mad Men too.

But did you know that you can take the Old Fashioned base and make any number of cocktails by swapping out the whiskey or using a different sweetener?

Robert Simonson’s excellent new book, The Old Fashioned, traces the history of the cocktail and then gives 50 recipes from the world’s best bars for switching up the ingredients.

Time for a tasting party! The possibilities for the perfect drinks menu are endless, but we recommend the following steps to planning a perfect Old Fashioned party:

  1. Choose two or three recipes in addition to the original.
  2. For the first, stick close to the original recipe with the Scotch or Rum Old-Fashioned to see how a different spirit can affect the taste.
  3. For the second, go wild with something like the one from Los Angeles’s The Varnish made with Cherry Heering liqueur. There are recipes for almost anything—tiki-inspired, spicy, even a honey peanut version.

Pro party-tip: Be sure to check out the gorgeous photos on our Pinterest board for garnish and glassware inspiration.

And one thing to consider: the alcohol is potent stuff, so if people want to compare and contrast, think about serving your guests in mini portions so that everyone gets a taste. Dividing one cocktail between two or three people should do.

Buy The Old Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail with Recipes & Lore ($19)

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