November 30, 2021

Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned

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Wisconsinites take their Old Fashioneds seriously, and their traditional recipe for one of my favorite cocktails holds an extra special place in my heart.
A pinkish-red Old Fashioned cocktail displayed in a simple rocks glass filled with ice, garnished with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice, sitting on a wooden cutting board with orange slices and cherries in the foreground and whole oranges in the background

In case you haven't picked up on it by now, I'm a biiiiiig fan of Old Fashioneds.

I've been making them for as long as I can remember thanks to my Uncle Bruce, who used to whip them up every night for the “Big People” (as he dubbed the grownups) each summer when we visited him in St. Louis. So when I got my first bartending job at 19 years old, he made sure I knew how to mix them right. But what I didn't realize at the time is that he made a Wisconsin-style Old Fashioned rather than the classic style. The only difference is that he used Bourbon instead of Brandy like they do in the Cheese State.

Which is ironic because one of my besties in life, whom I've probably shared more Old Fashioneds with than anyone in the world, is from Wisconsin. She introduced me to one of my go-to whiskey joints in NYC where our favorite Irish bartender Trevor made THE BEST Old Fashioneds in the world. Lisa and I would go, park ourselves at his bar, spend hours talking and laughing, and inevitably end up debating whether we should have one more. (The answer was always yes.)

Lisa joined my family for Turkey Day this year and it was an extra special celebration because after 15 years of living in NYC, she's decided to move back to Wisconsin. Which is a HUGE decision because Lisa is the city-est of city girls I know, and the last person I ever expected to leave the Big Apple.

So in honor of Lisa and her courage to follow her heart back to the Midwest, I present to you the Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned. No changes. No attempts to elevate it or make it my own. Just the classic Wisconsin recipe. Because sometimes you just need a simple taste of home.

A pinkish-red Old Fashioned cocktail displayed in a simple rocks glass filled with ice, garnished with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice, sitting on a wooden cutting board with orange slices and cherries in the foreground and whole oranges in the background

Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned

Wisconsinites take their Old Fashioneds seriously, and their traditional recipe for one of my favorite cocktails holds an extra special place in my heart.

Yields:

1 Drink

Ingredients:

2 oz Brandy
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Sugar Cube or 1 tsp White Sugar
2 Maraschino Cherries + 1 tsp juice
1 Orange Slice
Lemon Lime Soda to top
Garnish: Orange Slice and a Cherry

Instructions:

Add the bitters, orange slice, cherries, and sugar cube to the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass and muddle to combine. Fill glass with ice and add the Brandy. Top with lemon-lime soda and garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

A pinkish-red Old Fashioned cocktail displayed in a simple rocks glass filled with ice, garnished with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice, sitting on a wooden cutting board with orange slices and cherries in the foreground and whole oranges in the background

Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned

Wisconsinites take their Old Fashioneds seriously, and their traditional recipe for one of my favorite cocktails holds an extra special place in my heart.

Yields:

1 Drink

Ingredients:

2 oz Brandy
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Sugar Cube or 1 tsp White Sugar
2 Maraschino Cherries + 1 tsp juice
1 Orange Slice
Lemon Lime Soda to top
Garnish: Orange Slice and a Cherry

Instructions:

Add the bitters, orange slice, cherries, and sugar cube to the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass and muddle to combine. Fill glass with ice and add the Brandy. Top with lemon-lime soda and garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

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