What Alcohol Is Best For Old
The Best Whiskeys to Use for Old Fashioneds
Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet Or Sour
In Wisconsin, the default way to make a Brandy Old Fashioned is with a splash of Sprite or 7-up, making it sweet.
But, dont think you have to stop there.
You can also make it with sour mix or a sour soda , making it sour. You can get fancy, and make it press, with a combination of 7-up and seltzer. Or, you can skip all the fanciness and simply add seltzer.
Sweet Sour Or Press: Wash It Your Way
To make this a true Wisconsin style old fashioned, you have a two traditional choices once you muddle your drink, add your liquor and ice. Sweet or sour. If you want to make a brandy old fashioned sweet, you would top your drink with lemon-lime soda like Sprite or 7Up. For a brandy old fashioned sour, you would use grapefruit soda, like 50/50 or Squirt.
But, my favorite way to make this cocktail is a press. Instead of soda, I top my drink with half lemon-lime soda and half seltzer water . I order mine like this to cut down on the amount of sugar, but I also think it lets the other flavors in the cocktail shine through.
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When Did Muddling Old Fashioneds Start
The basic old fashioned came from that original whiskey cocktail in the 1800s, but when did the addition of fruit and muddling start?
Muddling was first recorded in the 1880s bartenders were using lumps of sugar with a bit of water instead of prepared gum syrup. They would muddle the sugar and bitters, add whiskey and ice, occasionally a lemon peel. Bartenders served it with a spoon to scoop out that tasty, whiskey-infused sugar left in the bottom of the glass.
The addition of fruit and the muddling of the fruit in with the whiskey probably occurred at during Prohibition, when drinks were sweetened and lightened so the ladies might enjoy them more.
But enough people liked the taste of it that those fruity, lighter versions persist today.
Why Dont You Shake A Martini
For a martini, there is no citrus in the mix, and both the gin and the vermouth intermingle well when you stir. Shaking not only mixes ingredients, it also dilutes and aerates it. A shaken martini gets diluted too fast and gets too much air mixed into it. The result is a slightly frothy and watered down drink.
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Pro Tips For Making This Recipe
- While some recipes may call for soda water or water added to the sugar cubes, I skip it so as not to dilute the cocktail.
- Avoid adding too many dashes of bitters to the glass as itll overpower the bourbon flavors.
- Dont skip the sugar as the sweetness opens the bourbons aroma.
- When cutting the orange peel, make sure there is as little pith as possible as itll taste bitter.
- To help your drink stay cold longer, you can place your glasses in the freezer beforehand. If you didnt put the glasses in the freezer early enough, you can also fill the glasses with some water and place them in the freezer while preparing to make the drink for a quick chill.
- Feel free to double or triple the recipe, just be sure to use a larger glass to mix your ingredients together.
- Using a large ice cube is ideal as it melts slower and slows the dilution of the drink.
- A Luxardo cherry makes a great garnish for an Old Fashioned. Place it on a toothpick on the glass, or add it to the drink and stir.
More Potent Fruit Flavored Brandy
As noted earlier in this article, a true brandy is fortified with spirits and has a much higher alcohol content than wine. Many brandy recipes call for the addition of vodka or even brandy to bring up the alcohol content of fruit flavored brandies. These recipes simply call for the addition of fruit and sugar to a quantity of spirits. Although not at all like the recipe here, they are certain to be delicious, too.
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Why We Love A Brandy Old Fashioned In Wisconsin
From these unconventional brandy old fashioned cocktails to chicken booyah and deep fried cheese curds, there are so many awesome traditions that make our state unique.
A traditional old fashioned cocktail uses whiskey, but in Wisconsin, theyre commonly made with brandy. The reasons arent really clear, since most of this sort of stuff gets lost to history.
Popular theories are that brandy was more familiar to German immigrants and that brandy was more readily available during prohibition times, but Ill leave the historical internet research to you. Just know that you can order your old fashioned with either brandy or whiskey and no one will think twice about it.
Another thing that makes a Wisconsin old fashioned different than its more widespread counterpart is the wash. A wash is basically when you add soda or seltzer to a cocktail after mixing it. Ive described the different ways we use this wash below, and you can choose whichever option you like best.
Why Brandy Old Fashioneds
Wisconsin Old Fashioneds are made with brandy. If you head north and youre used to a whiskey old fashioned youll be surprised when you have the cocktail set before you. Its generally a muddled fruit, brandy-based old fashioned with a little bit of sprite or sour soda on top.
Robert Simmonsons book mentions that the 1893 Worlds Exposition in nearby Chicago showcased Korbels brandy. All this love of brandy may stem back from that event. Maintaining that love of brandy old fashioneds is the Wisconsin tradition of Friday night fish-frys where brandy old fashioneds were a favorite tipple.
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Where Did This Drink Even Come From
According to John Dye, owner of Bryants Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee and resident booze historian, Korbel owes the Badger State big time.
Milwaukee had a big role in the Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893 and many of the brandy-thirsty Germans attended, Dye explains. One of the exhibitors was a domestic brandy from California named Korbel. Story has it that the Germans in Milwaukee took to Korbel in a big way. As the rest of the country was starting to turn to whiskey, Wisconsin turned to brandy. It makes sense that the Old Fashioned, which was a popular whiskey cocktail at the time, would be made with brandy in Wisconsin. Things here dont change too quickly, so we just kept making them with brandy.
Korbel becomes a huge player in the brandy industry and Wisconsinites create a signature cocktail. Everybody wins.
Blackberry Brandyeasier Than Pie
Like many fruits and berries, blackberries have a pretty short season. If youre lucky enough to live in a place where you can pick your own fresh berries in fields or hedgerows, you can preserve the flavor of those luscious berries by making jams and preserves. For an extra special treat, how about some Blackberry Brandy?
Making your own blackberry brandy is easier than making a blackberry pie!
Warning: When picking wild berries, make sure you get them from a place that has not been sprayed with weed killers or pesticides!
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How To Make A Perfect Old Fashioned
Want to get a group of whiskey cocktail enthusiasts in a fun brawl? Claim to have the perfect old fashioned recipe. Youll never see a more lively discussion than a debate about muddling, base spirits and proper use of bitters.
There might be punches thrown, but there will definitely be insults traded.
Let me give you some background, then share what I believe is the perfect old fashioned recipe. If youre in a hurry, you can slip down to the recipe here.
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How To Make A Brandy Old Fashioned
Todays brandy old fashioned recipe is based on the Madison bar I believe pours the very best, a restaurant appropriately named The Old Fashioned.
Ive watched many brandy old fashioneds here, and after a good amount of at-home experimentation, I believe Ive nailed their version of an old fashioned press with Korbel.
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Simple Syrup Vs Sugar Cube
When making an Old Fashioned, many people add a sugar cube to the bottom of a rocks glass and muddle it with bitters before adding whiskey. But simple syrup also gets the job done, and its an ingredient that youre more likely to have in the house. I prefer syrups over sugar cubes, Christopher says. While I love and appreciate an Old Fashioned made with cubes, they tend to not have full dilution. This means the sugar content can increase over time, and youre often left with undissolved sugar at the bottom of your glass. I use a double strength demerara syrup because it limits the amount of dilution.
Brandy Old Fashioned For A Crowd
Heads up: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you decide to purchase any items, I may make a commission at no cost to you. I only endorse products I know and love!
If you are a lover of this iconic cocktail, try it Wisconsin-style. Better yet, make a pitcher of Brandy Old Fashioned for a crowd at your next party!
I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and I didnt realize how popular brandy was in the state until I moved away. Suddenly, I was making friends who had never consumed brandy at all, and if they had, it was the ~fancy~ brandy. But why is brandy so popular in my home state? Our neighbors in Minnesota and Illinois arent huge fans. The preferred brand, Korbel, is in California. So, what gives?
The Chicago Worlds Fair in 1893 shone a light on a lot of foods and beverages from around the country. Pabst Blue Ribbon was made famous here and Vienna Beef sausages became a thing. California-based Korbel brought over some brandy, and much preferred over anything imported. . After tasting a few cocktails with this grape-based spirit, the Wisconsinites brought the tradition back with them and havent looked back. In fact, Korbel ships anywhere from to ½ of its total brandy production straight to the state of Wisconsin.
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Instructions For Making Blackberry Brandy
1. Pick as many ripe blackberries as you can get your little hands on. Rinse well, and pick off any stems and leaves. Dont remove the overripe berries, theyll just add sweetnessmmmm
Gather ingredients: Berries, sugar, large glass jar or crock.
Drawing by Stephanie Henkel
2. Get a large glass or crockery jar or crock with lid. I like those big, gallon size glass jars that pickles come in. Have some plastic wrap handy.
3. Wash the crock or jar with hot soapy water and rinse well.
4. Now put a layer of blackberries in the bottom. This layer should be about an inch high.
Layer blackberries and sugar in a large glass jar or crock. Cover with plastic wrap. Lay the lid loosely on top and store in dark place.
Drawing by Stephanie Henkel
5. Sprinkle a layer of sugar over the blackberries. If youre using a gallon sized jar, use about a cup of sugar. This is not an exact sciencea little more or less wont make a whole lot of difference!
6. Put in another layer of blackberries followed by a layer of sugar.
7. Repeat layers until jar is about 1-2 inches from the top. The final layer should be sugar. Depending on the size of your jar or crock, you should have used about 3 lbs. of sugar. If you think you haven’t used enough, just sprinkle it on top.
After fermentation is complete, strain brandy through cheesecloth into bottles or Mason Jars.
Drawing by Stephanie Henkel
Be Sure Fermentation Has Stopped Before Bottling!
Enjoy a sip! Enjoy your homemade Blackberry Brandy!
Old Fashioned Recipe With Mixer
2oz Bourbon or Rye1/2oz Classic Old Fashioned mixer
Combine whiskey and mixer in a tall glass filled with ice. Stir 20-30 seconds, strain into a whiskey glass. No garnish needed, but if you have an orange peel handy it wont hurt! Curious if a store near you carries Spiced Old Fashioned check our store locator.
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The Right Kind Of Ice
While you can totally use regular tray ice in a pinch, those small cubes arent ideal for an Old Fashioned. When it comes to ice, you want the drink to chill and dilute, but not over dilute, Christopher says. Larger cubes are great for this job because you have the surface area to really provide a nice chill without a quick dilution rate. I love the wide range of molds that are available now. For Old Fashioneds, go for a two-inch cube.
A Warning About Bottling
Warning! Be sure fermentation is complete before bottling or you could have bottles break or explode. If you need to stop fermentation, you can add alcohol to your wine in the form of brandy or vodka. As the alcohol content rises, fermentation will stop.
13. After first week, stir once each week for three more weeks, then strain through cheesecloth. If you want it really clear, you can strain through coffee filters. That will take out all of the residue, but you’ll also lose some of your brandy. Youll get less, but it will be prettier. Bottle up in wine bottles with screw caps or mason jars and store in a dark cupboard. It will be best after about three months. Go ahead and decorate the lids with fabric covers. Youll have a lovely gift for a friend or relatives at holiday time.
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Other Classic Cocktails You May Enjoy
If youre loving the brandy old fashioned and want to up your mixology game by getting into some other classic cocktails that blend simple flavors in complementary fashions, here are some you may enjoy:
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Friday 2nd of July 2021
You can take it up a notch by using luxardo cherries to garnish along with blood orange slices. I muddle maraschino cherries with an orange slice from a peeled orange together with a splash of simple syrup and bitters. My syrup has water, sugar, bitters, and orange peel that is boiled until the peel is saturated. I then cool the simple syrup for bar use and add the orange peel to melted sugar to candy it. That becomes part of the garnish. I also make my own bitters but that’s another topic 🙂 . The creation of the drink becomes the art of the show! Starting with a basic Old Fashioned, it’s fun to experiment!
Do: Be Tactful With Bitters
An Old Fashioned calls for two to three dashes of bittersno more, no lessthat are added to the glass once the sugar or simple syrup is in. While the amount seems small, having too many or too few dashes can dramatically change the taste makeup of the drink. The type and quality of bitters matters too. Angostura bitters are always a safe and excellent choice, but orange bitters also work well.
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Making It Your Own Without Ruining It
Theres nothing wrong with making a nouveau version of your favorite classic drink. But the Old Fashioned is pretty perfect in its simplicity, so youre walking a thin line when you start to alter the recipe. Christopher thinks theres nothing wrong with a little experimentation, though, so long as the changes arent too drastic. Playing with the bitters and syrups will allow subtle flavor changes while still remaining true to the Old Fashioned, he says. Approaching fall, I like to make a nice toasted pecan demerara syrup and pair that with chicory pecan bitters.
- Cookie Settings
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The Beauty Of An Old Fashioned Lies In Its Simplicity
It consists of brandy, a couple sweeteners, and a little bit of love, by which we mean muddling. Theyve been a Wisconsin staple for generations and figure to stay that way far into the future. Theyre right at home at taverns and tailgates, bowling alleys and bingo halls. And, of course, the best place of all: your drinking hand.
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You Can Use Other Fruits Or Berries To Make Brandy
Some other fruits that work well are:
- Peaches. Peach Brandy is especially delicious. See my Peach Brandy recipe for details.
- Blueberries. Blueberries should be crushed slightly to release the juice before adding to the crock.
- Strawberries. If the strawberries are large, cut into a couple of pieces. If you use blueberries, crush them slightly to release the juice before adding to the crock.
Health Benefits Of Blackberries
- Berries are low in calories. 100 g has 43 calories. They are high in vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and dietary fibers .
- The anti-oxidants in blackberries are believed to help protect against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases.
- Fresh berries are a good source of vitamin C. 100 g. of berries contain 23 mg or 35% of RDA Vitamin C.
Wild blackberries on the olympic peninsula. Be careful of thorns when picking blackberries!
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