Food - Drink
What Makes A Wisconsin Old Fashioned Unique?
Wisconsin is home to many breweries, wineries, and cocktail bars full of quality drinks, but the popularity of the old-fashioned is second to none. This beloved cocktail is practically synonymous with Wisconsin, but the differences between a Wisconsin old-fashioned and a standard one may surprise you.
What is it made of?
An old-fashioned typically consists of rye or bourbon whiskey mixed with bitters, sugar, and water, with a garnish of a twisted citrus peel. However, in Wisconsin, bartenders use brandy in their old-fashioneds, alongside soda water, Sprite, or both; the statewide choice to use brandy instead of whiskey has its own history.
Brandy belt
Wisconsin's large German population may be the reason why brandy is used in their old-fashioned. Wisconsin is part of the “brandy belt,” a region in which brandy is very popular, and this liquor is prized by the Germans as a digestif; perhaps the availability and popularity of brandy across the state led to its inclusion in the old-fashioned.
How to make it
There are three major ways to prepare and customize Wisconsin old-fashioned, but they all start with sugar or a sugar cube dropped into a rocks glass, then moistened with a few dashes of Angostura bitters and splash of water. Brandy and ice is then added before the drink is stirred to chill and dilute the liquor.
Getting Personal
Continuing on, the old-fashioned can be made “sweet” with a Sprite or lemon-lime soda, “press” with half lemon-lime soda and half seltzer, or “sour” with a glug of sour mix. Wisconsinites also play around with garnishes such as oranges, maraschino cherries, olives, pickled mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts.