Wisconsin-Style Brandy Old Fashioned

My personal version of the unofficial state drink of Wisconsin, the brandy old fashioned.

I alluded to this drink’s popularity in Wisconsin in a previous post.

I won’t delve into the (rather fascinating, at least I think so) history of why the old fashioned is typically made with brandy in the great state of Wisconsin, as others have documented that quite nicely. Suffice to say that had I been raised in a drinking household, I’d most surely have been exposed to the drink while I still resided in the Badger State (no doubt as a pre-game warm-up before watching the Green Bay Packers on TV).

As it is, I have only latched onto this variation on the all-time classic cocktail fairly recently. I will mention that if you order one in its native habitat, yours will most likely be made with Korbel brandy. I also understand that the baseline setting is “sweet”. And here is where I deviate slightly and present to you my own particular interpretation; of course, it should go without saying that you ought to make yours to suit your own personal taste preferences, and I provide a couple of options/suggestions below.

Cheers! And remember what they say:









• 2 ounces Raynal VSOP brandy
• 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
• 1 demarara sugar cube
• 2 Valencia orange slices (1 for garnish)
• 3 Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherries (1 for garnish) (I like these because they aren’t as syrupy-sweet as maraschino cherries)
• 1 ounce club soda (or more if desired; also see options below)

• Put the sugar cube in the base of your old-fashioned glass and dash the bitters onto it.
• Add 2 cherries and an orange slice and muddle, avoiding the pith, until the sugar is dissolved and the cherry sufficiently pulverized.
• Add the brandy and stir to combine.
• Add ice and top with the club soda, gently stirring to mix.
• Garnish with remaining orange slice & cherry made into a “flag”.

Sub 7-Up, Sprite or Sierra Mist for a sweeter version, or Squirt, Fresca or Jarritos grapefruit flavor for  a more sour take. Or you can make it “press” by using a 50/50 mix of plain soda and 7-Up.

Disclosure: The author has received no reimbursement or compensation for this article. All opinions, remarks and brand suggestions are those of the author alone.