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A Wisconsin Classic: The Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet

For FBE’s first Cocktails Week, we thought it would be fun for us to each share our favorite cocktail or liquor. And today Susan is giving a big ol’ cheers to the brandy old-fashioned sweet!
Like many college students, I entered my freshman year with very little cash in my pocket for the essentials, like pizza rolls and Pabst Blue Ribbon. So, like many college students, I took a bartending job.
In most places, the first thing you learn as a bartender is how to pour a perfect beer or mix simple drinks, like rum-and-coke cocktails. But in Wisconsin bars? That’s child’s play. If you want to make money, you best know how to make the unofficial state drink: A brandy old-fashioned sweet.
If you’re a fellow ‘Sconnie like me, you’re smiling and nodding your head right now. Wisconsin knows brandy — the state has the highest percentage of retail spending on this liquor in the United States. In 2012, California-based Korbel shipped about 324,000 nine-liter cases of brandy. Forty-three percent of those cases went to Wisconsin.
If you’re not from Wisconsin, I’m sorry. You’ve been deprived of so much by not living in the Badger State, the greatest of which is the brandy old-fashioned. Perhaps you can’t call yourself a ‘Sconnie, but you can certainly drink like one tonight with this recipe.

Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet Recipe

1 sugar cube
Angostura bitters
1 orange slice (1/2 inch thick)
3 maraschino cherries
2 ounces brandy (I am a fan of E & J, but Korbel and Paul Masson are also great!)
7-Up or Sprite
1. Clean and dry a short cocktail glass (‘Sconnies call it an “old fashioned” glass — you may know it as “tumbler” or “rocks glass”).
2. Place the sugar cube in the bottom of the glass and splash with 5 to 10 shakes of bitters, depending on your preference. Pour a splash of 7-up in the glass and swirl around until sugar is dissolved.
3. Drop two maraschino cherries and the orange slice into glass. Muddle gently with a bar muddler (or, if you don’t have one, the back of a spoon) to release juices and aroma.
4. Fill the glass with ice. Pour brandy over ice and aromatic mixture.
5. Top with 7-Up until glass is filled. Garnish with remaining maraschino cherry.
Have you tried a brandy old-fashioned sweet before? It’s the best, right? On, Wisconsin! —Susan

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