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Wisconsin Old Fashioned

The Wisconsin Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that has become a beloved staple in the state of Wisconsin.

Homemade Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Cocktail with Cherry and Orange

Made with brandy, bitters, sugar, and a splash of soda, this cocktail has a sweet and slightly bitter taste that is perfect for sipping.

In this article, we will take a look at the history of the Wisconsin Old Fashioned, provide a recipe for making it at home, and offer tips for serving and enjoying this delicious drink.

It is a simple drink of sugar spiked with Angostura bitters, club soda, and whiskey served with an orange twist.

The Wisconsin Old Fashioned is an unusual take on this traditional recipe that is rarely found outside the state of Wisconsin. This variant is also sometimes called a Brandy Old Fashioned.


The Wisconsin Old Fashioned is believed to have originated in the late 1800s when bartenders in

Wisconsin began using brandy instead of whiskey in their Old Fashioned cocktails. This tradition continues today, and the Wisconsin Old Fashioned has become an iconic drink in the state.

In fact, the Wisconsin state legislature even passed a law in 2018 declaring the Wisconsin Old Fashioned the official state cocktail.ld’s Fair in 1893.

How to Make a Wisconsin Old Fashioned Cocktail

Putting this drink together, which has been enjoyed for at least a century, is not difficult. However, it is an impressive cocktail in terms of appearance and flavor.

Homemade Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Cocktail with Cherry and Orange

Wisconsin Old Fashioned

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

The classic garnish is of course cherries and orange, signaling the ingredients in the drink. However, some people prefer pickled mushrooms or olives.


  • 2 oz brandy
  • Orange slice and maraschino cherry, for garnish
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 2 cherries soaked in brandy
  • 2 orange slices
  • Additional cherries and orange slices to garnish


  1. Put the sugar cube along with the Angostura bitters, cherries soaked in brandy and orange slices into a lowball short glass
  2. Muddle those ingredients together
  3. Top the glass with ice
  4. Add the brandy and top off the drink with lemon and lime soda
  5. Stir to combine
  6. Garnish the glass with cherries and an orange slice

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The bubbles are brought by the addition of club soda, seltzer or (as in our recipe) a lemon lime soda. This addition is known as the “wash”. Adding a lemon and lime soda like Sprite makes your brandy Old Fashioned sweet.

If you prefer the sour version then you can use a grapefruit soda like 50/50. If you want to reduce the sugar and let the other flavors take precedence make a “press” with half soda and half seltzer.

Tips for Serving and Enjoying:

  • The Wisconsin Old Fashioned can be served on the rocks or straight up, depending on your preference.
  • Some people like to add a splash of 7-Up or Sprite instead of club soda for a sweeter drink.
  • For an extra kick of flavor, you can add a splash of cherry juice or a few drops of orange bitters to the cocktail.
  • To make a mocktail version, simply omit the brandy and replace it with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda.


Many people adore the Wisconsin Old Fashioned, a delicious and well-known drink.

With the help of this recipe and some helpful hints, you can prepare this traditional drink at home and wow your loved ones with your mixology prowess. So gather your fixings, and prepare to sip on a taste of Wisconsin!

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by My Bartender

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