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Pure Wisconsin: The Brandy Old Fashioned

2012 November 11

Admittedly, I tend to give Wisconsin a lot of  shit. People here are slow, they can’t drive, there’s no diversity, and I can’t get halfway-decent sushi anywhere in this state. But really, that’s simply not fair–people are also painfully friendly, booze and food are dirt cheap, and they have one of the best–and somewhat unknown–cocktails in the country.

My curiosity surrounding the old fashioned (cocktail) was originally piqued after watching an episode of AMC’s outstanding series, Mad Men. You should all watch it if you haven’t had the opportunity. Now. Anyways–Don Draper was drinking an old fashioned. He seemed to be enjoying it. When I moved to Madison, the first bar here that caught my eye was, not surprisingly, The Old Fashioned. It’s located right on the capitol square, and has one of the best tap lists and food in all of Madison. But that’s not really what this is about, is it?

Wisconsin is famous for the “Brandy Old Fashioned.” It’s sweet instead of sour, and made with brandy (duh) instead of whiskey. The first time I tasted one, I was hooked. The cocktail was fantastic, and the flavors simply blended so well together. I’ve had many a brandy old fashioned since that first week in Madison, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I first attempted to make one. My roommate really wanted to make cocktails, and we thought this would be the best place to start. So, without any delay, here’s the recipe–

Brandy Old Fashioned

  • 3oz Korbel brandy (2 shots-worth)
  • 1 spoonful raw/turbinado sugar
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 orange wedges
  • 2 cherries
  • ice
  • Sprite


  1. In the bottom of the glass (before you put the ice in), muddle together the sugar, 1 orange wedge, and 1 cherry.
  2. Pour ice in the glass.
  3. Add the bitters, brandy, and Sprite, until the glass is full.
  4. Mix it all up
  5. Garnish with an orange wedge and cherry

It’s simple, really, and I’ll be honest–you can’t help but feel classy while you’re drinking this thing. I bought too many cherries, so I foresee numerous Old Fashioneds in my future. Onward!

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