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Wisconsin Old-Fashioned

Nestled in America’s Dairyland, Wisconsin is renowned for more than just its cheese. This Wisconsin old-fashioned recipe is one of them. Made with brandy, it’s a fun take on a classic.

Wisconsin is a place where tradition and innovation blend seamlessly. That’s particularly evident in the art of crafting this cocktail. 

Iced Wisconsin Old-Fashioned Cocktail
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It’s a beloved drink with roots tracing back to the 19th century. It’s undergone a unique evolution in the Badger State. But people still love it as much today as they ever did. 

In fact, it’s become a symbol of craftsmanship and flavor in the cocktail world. Now, let’s talk about how you can make one. 

What Is a Wisconsin Old-Fashioned? 

As you can probably guess from the name, this drink is Wisconsin’s take on the traditional old-fashioned. 

Typically, an old-fashioned contains bourbon, sugar, and bitters. This version substitutes brandy for bourbon and adds a lot more fruit. 

You top it with your choice of fizzy drink for a zesty, zingy finish. The result is a sweeter, bubblier version of the classic old-fashioned. 

Glass of Ice Cold Wisconsin Old-Fashioned Cocktail


A Wisconsin old-fashioned has several ingredients for a cocktail. Still, it’s just as easy to make as most mixed drinks. Here’s what you need: 

  • Orange slices – Muddle a few fresh orange slices in the glass before adding the liquids. That will give the drink a citrusy finish. Save one for a garnish. 
  • Cherries – Use maraschino or brandied cherries, as you prefer. Like the orange slices, muddle a couple in the drink and use one for a garnish. 
  • Sugar – I like to use sugar cubes because they’re simple. However, you can just as easily mix in a teaspoon of granulated sugar. 
  • Angostura bitters – These add the right touch of complexity to the drink without making it too sweet, sour, or bitter. 
  • Ice – Wisconsin old-fashioneds taste best when served on the rocks. 
  • Brandy – The most popular option is Korbel brandy. But you can use whichever brandy you enjoy most. Some people even substitute whiskey. 
  • Fizzy drink – For the topper, you can use your favorite lemon-lime soda. Doing so will result in a sweeter drink. If you prefer sour drinks, use grapefruit soda instead. Or top the cocktail off with seltzer water and soda. 
Two Glasses of Wisconsin Old-Fashioned Cocktail, Top View

How to Make a Wisconsin Old-Fashioned 

You can sum up the steps for making this drink in three simple words:

1. Muddle. Start by muddling the fruit (orange slices and cherries), sugar, and bitters in a glass. 

2. Mix. Then, fill the glass with ice and add the brandy. Top it off with your choice of fizzy drink. Stir gently to mix it. 

3. Garnish. Garnish the glass with a cherry and an orange slice. 

After that, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the deliciousness. 


A drink this delicious doesn’t need variations. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t make some tweaks and try variations! Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Use whiskey. As mentioned, the original Old-Fashioned contains bourbon, not brandy. If you want a bit more of that traditional, rustic taste, make the drink with whiskey. 
  • Try different toppers. You already know about the different toppers you can use. (Lemon-lime soda, grapefruit soda, or seltzer water.) However, you can tweak the taste even further by using different brands. For example, a cocktail topped with Sprite will taste subtly different from one made with 7-UP. 
  • Leave out the fruit. Want a still-sweet but less fruity drink? Simply leave out the muddled oranges and cherries. 
  • Experiment with bitters. Try orange bitters or another type to alter the drink’s flavor. 
  • Use unique garnishes. Besides cherries and oranges, Wisconsin drinkers have a couple of other go-to garnishes. Believe it or not, they’re pickled Brussels sprouts and pickled mushrooms. I know! Sounds crazy, right?! Give it a try.
Ice Cold Wisconsin Old-Fashioned Garnished With Orang Sliced and Cherry

How to Garnish 

Typically, garnishes are up to the cocktail drinker’s discretion.

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However, to make the drink authentically, you must garnish it with a cherry and an orange slice. If you want to branch out and make the cocktail your own, try one of these instead:

  • Strawberries
  • Olives
  • Cocktail onions
  • Baby dill pickles
  • Lemon wedge

When it comes to garnishes, you can pretty much go wild. 

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Wisconsin Old-Fashioned



Prep time



This Wisconsin old-fashioned never goes out of style! Made with brandy, bitters, cherries, and sugar, it’s a true happy hour treat.


  • 2 orange slices

  • 2 brandied or maraschino cherries

  • 1 sugar cube (or 1 teaspoon sugar)

  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters

  • ice

  • 2 ounces brandy

  • lemon-lime soda, grapefruit soda, or seltzer water*

  • orange slice and cherry, for garnish


  • Muddle the orange slices, cherries, sugar cube, and bitters in an old-fashioned glass.
  • Fill the glass with ice and pour the brandy. Top it with lemon-lime soda, grapefruit soda, or seltzer water*. Stir it gently.
  • Garnish it with an orange slice and cherry.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • Use lemon-lime soda for a sweet old-fashioned or grapefruit soda for a sour one. You can also use half seltzer and half soda for a press.
Winconsin Old-fashioned  Cocktail

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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