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Jun 21, 2006 08:55 AM

Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet - my Quest

  • d

My in laws from Wisconsin will be "vacationing" at our house for a week in August. I've finally realized that I should have been serving them cocktails before dinner. (I'm a wine girl, but only on weekends, husband rarely drinks)

I have never seen them order anything in a restaurant except Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet. My husband says he remembers this as an obnoxious drink to make from his college bartending days. I googled it yesterday, and discovered it's practically the state drink of Wisconsin. An article I found says Wisconsonites like their's sweeter and fruitier than might be the norm. Also said Korbel is THE brand.

So...anyone have the perfect recipe? Thoughts on Korbel vs. springing for something nicer? Do I need a shaker or anything? I suppose I need to buy a muddler. Thanks!

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  1. I dont have a recipe for you, but I can verify the Wisconsinite's love of brandy. And Korbel, being the best brandy that an average neighborhood bar is likely to have on hand, is indeed the most popular. It has been written that whenever the Badgers or the Packers play in a post-season bowl game, the bars in the city where the game is have to triple their brandy orders in anticipation.

    I sometimes think that the concept of the 'neighborhood bar' is unique to Milwaukee (although I'm sure it's not). There are still large areas of the city where, in relatively quiet residential neighborhoods, there may well be a bar on two of four corners at an intersection.

    And I have been in quite a few other cities and have been looked at peculiarly upon ordering a Korbel on the rocks (assuming that like at home, Korbel is likely to be the best on hand).

    I do remember from college that the brandy old fashioned sweet was one of the steps taken upon 'graduating' from the screwdriver, the rum & coke, and the tequila sunrise. One friend of mine used to ask for them with peach or apricot brandy. Just thinking about it now makes my jaw want to clench up in avoidance.

    As for stepping up, it seems to me to be a shame to use anything better than Korbel in a mixed drink.

    1. Put a sugar cube in a glass, put a few drops of Agnostura (sp?) Bitters on the cube, add a twist of lemon, crush (muddle) the sugar cube/lemon. Fill glass with ice cubes, add liquor, splash of club soda mix, then add a cherry.

      When I want a sweeter old fashioned, I add a half of teaspoon or so of the cherry liquid.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Alan408

        for a rocks glass:
        1 sugar cube
        1 cherry
        orange slice
        4 shakes of bitters
        cherry juice or grenadine to taste (for myself i leave it out, but this adds more sweetness, obviously)
        muddle the above things.
        add rocks, brandy and club soda again to taste

        so tough to find a place that makes these well. if you are in milwaukee this receipe is pretty close to those served at the palomino in bay view (my old corner bar)

      2. I realize this is way too late to be useful for you, but thought somebody else might find this interesting.
        When my dad was a kid he worked in his father's tavern. He's had over 70 years of Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet coursing through his veins and is pretty particular about his drink.
        He says the key is using the actual Maraschino cherry juice for the sweet. His recipe is a shot of brandy, 1/2 tsp sugar, 4 shakes of angostura bitters, fill with 7-up, and several tsps cherry juice to taste (you can buy just a bottle of cherry juice in addition to the juice from the cherry jars). He says you have to let a cherry marinate at the bottom of the glass. If you don't have enough cherry juice, you can substitute grenadine.
        This drink goes down really easy but is awfully sweet.