The Wisconsin Brandy Old-Fashioned Recipe That'll Fill You With Cheesehead Cheer

A fresh wine is to a cheese board what this enchanting Wisconsin brandy old-fashioned is to a cheesehead — a match made in heaven.

Updated February 16, 2024
Ouija Board Dark BackgroundWisconsin Brandy Old-Fashioned

We love a cocktail with some state spirit. New York gets to rep a Manhattan and Colorado has its sweet and creamy Colorado Bulldog Drink. But today, we're doing it how the Wisconsinites do it with a Wisconsin brandy old-fashioned. That splash of fizz turns the regular old-fashioned right on its head. 

How to Make a Wisconsin Brandy Old-Fashioned

If you're a diehard Wisconsinite, then you probably subscribe to the apocryphal story about the 1893 World's Fair popularizing brandy in the Midwest and laying the cornerstones for the state's boozy beverage of choice. If not, you might believe that the muddled fruit in the drink was added as a clever way to make Prohibition bathtub spirits more palatable. Either way, it's unexpectedly delightful and worth making for yourself. 


  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3 dashes aromatic bitters
  • 1 orange slice
  • 2 cherries
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • Splash lemon-lime soda or plain club soda
  • Ice
  • Orange wheel and cherry for garnish


  1. In a rocks glass, add the sugar cube, bitters, orange slice, and cherries.
  2. Muddle the ingredients to combine.
  3. Add ice and brandy.
  4. Top off with lemon-lime soda.
  5. Garnish with an orange wheel and cherry.
Quick Tip

For an even more complex flavor, consider using a flavored brandy like apple or peach. Or, capture that Prohibition spirit and go straight for a splash of flavored moonshine. 

Related: Punchy Apple Cider Old-Fashioned Recipe You'll Fall in Love With

3 Variations and Substitutions to Try 

This brandy old-fashioned may be old, but it's not as delicate as you think. You can play around with the recipe without worrying about destroying its integrity.

  • Add a dash or two of smoked bitters for an earthier cocktail.
  • Use additional fruit for a juicier, sweeter drink.
  • Try different soda and bubbly variations such as cherry club soda, grapefruit soda, cream soda, or even seltzer water. 

Garnishes to Dress Things Up 

Any mixologist will tell you that it's a crime to skip out on the garnish. They contribute to a drink's visual and sensory experience. And we've got a few great garnish ideas up our sleeve.  

  • Elevate the drink by using a Luxardo cherry in place of a maraschino.
  • Toss in a traditional orange peel garnish.
  • Consider using a lemon twist to complement the lemon-lime soda.
  • Some bars use olives, and while unusual, their savory flavor pairs well.

A Fizzy Finish to an Old-Fashioned Classic 

The splash of fizz and muddled fruits will give your classic old-fashioned a distinctive Wisconsin flair. Pour yourself a glass of this delicious brandy cocktail and taste the enchanting charm of Wisconsin's finest.  

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The Wisconsin Brandy Old-Fashioned Recipe That'll Fill You With Cheesehead Cheer