The brandy old-fashioned is a simple variation on the classic bourbon cocktail. As the name suggests, the concoction uses brandy instead of whiskey. If you order an old-fashioned in Wisconsin, this will likely be the drink your bartender will serve. It is so popular, in fact, that it is thought of as the state's unofficial cocktail.
Like the traditional old-fashioned, this is a very simple cocktail. It flavors the brandy with a bitters-soaked sugar cube that is muddled with orange and cherry. It is typically topped with a splash of Sprite or 7-Up.
The brandy old-fashioned is a rather refreshing drink and rivals the whiskey version. You will definitely want to try it out because it is one of the best brandy cocktails out there.
Gather the ingredients.
Place the sugar cube in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass. Saturate the cube with a splash of soda and the bitters, then add orange slices and cherries.
Muddle the ingredients.
Add the brandy and stir well.
Add a single, large piece of ice (such as an ice ball) and top with lemon-lime soda.
Serve and enjoy!
A Wisconsin Favorite
There are many variations on the classic old-fashioned. Some are more popular than others and some, like the brandy old-fashioned, have become entrenched in the drinking habits of certain regions.
Wisconsin's affinity for this drink is one of wonder. Just how did this state come to enjoy a version of the classic cocktail that is rarely found elsewhere in the U.S.? It's a question that many people have asked and one that Dy Godsey wrote about for Edible Milwaukee.
The answers may lie in the primarily German settlers who made Wisconsin home. With a preference for brandy over whiskey, it seems that the brandy old-fashioned was a natural fit. It is also likely due to Korbel Brandy's introduction to Wisconsinites during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
Drink Like You're in Wisconsin
How do you drink a brandy old-fashioned like a true Wisconsinite? Korbel brandy is almost always poured in the state, so that's a good start. Some people prefer plain seltzer, though the lemon-lime sodas are a favorite.
Also, because bartenders mix up so many of these, many create a mix called "bug juice" to save time. Essentially, they're creating a ready-to-pour mixture of sugar, water, and bitters—foregoing the muddle completely.
While that's a good adaptation in a busy bar, home bartenders will find that making the brandy old-fashioned according to this recipe an easier way to go. It does not take much time at all and in a few minutes, you will have a great drink. Though everyone in Wisconsin may put their personal spin on the drink, this recipe is accepted as authentic.
How Strong Is a Brandy Old-Fashioned?
Since there are no significant liquid mixers, the brandy old-fashioned will be just slightly weaker than a straight pour of brandy. A little dilution should be factored in from the ice and soda, which makes the drink's final alcohol content somewhere around 29 percent ABV (58 proof).
Godsey D. Old Fashioned, Wisconsin's (Un)Official State Cocktail. Edible Milwaukee. 2014.