The Old Fashioned Cocktail Gets a Make-Under
Cherries and oranges are welcome at this party, but they're not honored guests.
The other modern addition makes no sense: adding club soda or seltzer to the drink. Yes, some water is needed to dissolve the sugar, and I'd strongly avoid any water that isn't purified (especially Houston tap), but if a bartender pours in an ounce or more from a soda gun, it will water down the drink and screw it up.
Fill 'er Up
It's obvious where this bad habit came from. A quality Old Fashioned glass can often hold as many as 12 ounces, whereas the actual drink is only 2 or 3 ounces in total. The cocktail is supposed to sit low in the glass, but to the untrained eye it looks like a rip-off.
The drink may look even smaller, if no ice is added, which is definitely an option. Personally, I prefer two large cubes, and I add a single unsmashed Mezzetta maraschino cherry as a garnish.
What Kind of Whiskey?
As far as whiskey choices go, the best Old Fashioned I've had was made with Woodford Reserve, ordered at Huntington Grill in the tiny town of Syracuse, Indiana. I won't tell you to use your favorite whiskey, because my house bourbon -- Buffalo Trace -- isn't impressive in this drink. Fantastic results at the home bar came from Bulleit 95 Rye and Evan Williams Black Label.
As opposed to "Don't try this at home," I recommend you try it with the Evan Williams Straight Kentucky Bourbon. It's one of the cheapest brand-name whiskeys around, and if you don't become a new fan of the Old Fashioned, it won't cost you much for your effort.