Tuesday Booktails: The Brandy Old-Fashioned

Tuesday Booktails: The Brandy Old-Fashioned

For today’s Booktails post, I’m sticking with Around the World in 80 Cocktails by Chad Parkhill. As I mentioned in my first post in this series, this little book takes its readers on a thoroughly enjoyable journey around the globe, one cocktail at a time. Today we’re traveling to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a Brandy Old-Fashioned that caught my eye because of its history, and because the drink is constructed more like a New-Fashioned than an Old-Fashioned. Parkhill explains that back in the 1850s and 1860s, brandy was the spirit of choice in many cocktails around the country, including things like Mint Juleps and Sazeracs that we typically associated only with whiskey. As time went on, whiskey did indeed replace brandy as the base spirit in said drinks, except for in the state of Wisconsin where brandy remained king. Parkhill goes on to say that in the case of the Brandy Old-Fashioned, it was “sweet, deceptively easy to drink, and hopelessly kitsch in its choice of garnish.” The recipe that Parkhill shares is from Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler, who dials back on the sweetness of the drink while still preserving its Wisconsin personality. The fruit is muddled in along with the sugar cube, which is what makes it “new” rather than “old” in terms of style. So how did Wisconsinites develops such a love for brandy in the first place?  Apparently this goes as far back as the Columbian Expedition of 1893, held in Chicago that year. It was flooded with German immigrants from Wisconsin who developed a love for the Korbel brandy that was featured prominently at the fair. They took it back to their home state with them and it has remained a very large part of their drink culture ever since. Cheers everyone! Happy Tuesday!

Brandy Old-Fashioned

2 oz Cooper River Distillers Copper & Vine brandy
2 dashes aromatic bitters
1 sugar cube
1 half of a thickly cut orange wheel
1 high-quality preserved cherry

Place all the ingredients except the brandy into an old-fashioned glass. Muddle the contents into a paste, but avoid crushing the bitter pith and peel of the orange. Add the brandy and stir to incorporate. Top with ice, crushed or cubed. Enjoy!

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