Wisconsin crowns the brandy old fashioned as the official state co*cktail (2024)

Wisconsin crowns the brandy old fashioned as the official state co*cktail

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1213008601/1213008602" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

  • Transcript

Lawmakers in Wisconsin have passed a resolution declaring the state's official co*cktail: the brandy old fashioned.


How do you mix an old fashioned? Almost anywhere in the world, the answer is simple - whiskey, bitters and sugar with a citrus twist, unless you are in, say, Madison, Milwaukee or Oshkosh.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Wisconsin brandy old fashioneds.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: The Wisconsin old fashioned.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: In Wisconsin, you don't call it a Wisconsin old fashioned. It's just an old fashioned.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Wisconsin brandy old fashioned.


As YouTube bartenders will tell you, in Wisconsin, brandy replaces whiskey. The drink is customizable and can be topped with lemon-lime soda, sour mix or club soda.

SHAPIRO: According to Jeanette Hurt, author of the book - yes, a full book - called "Wisconsin co*cktails," the drink may be garnished with a cherry.


JEANETTE HURT: Or do you want olives or pickled onions or pickled mushrooms? There's no wrong answer to this question.

CHANG: That Hurt's TEDx talk on the subject. She's dug through the drink's history and says its origins are quite practical. Apparently, shipments of grain to Europe meant there was a lot of bad booze going around.


HURT: Tavern owners were cited for putting bad booze into good booze bottles.

SHAPIRO: Until the state's liquor distributors caught wind of a cache of good brandy and bought it all up.


HURT: We started drinking our way through all those brandy barrels. There were 30,000 barrels that came gushing into our state at one time. That's enough to fill 2 1/2 Olympic-sized pools. We were swimming in good brandy.

SHAPIRO: And if you're a frugal pub owner, you can't let that go to waste.


HURT: Cheers.


CHANG: Well, recently, Wisconsin lawmakers voted on a resolution declaring the brandy old fashioned as the official state co*cktail. I didn't know there was such a thing.


RYAN CLANCY: Mr. Speaker, I am stirred to speak today.

SHAPIRO: Representative Ryan Clancy is a fan of the brandy sweet old fashioned, but he has thoughts on acceptable garnishes.


CLANCY: The authors here suggested that savory garnishes such as olives and co*cktail onions are acceptable in an old fashioned. They are not. That is an abomination, Mr. Speaker. Tolerance and acceptance can only go so far.

CHANG: I still think that's gross. The bipartisan resolution was approved, and if lawmakers in Wisconsin can clink glasses across the aisle, maybe there's hope for the rest of us.

SHAPIRO: I'll drink to that.

CHANG: (Laughter).


Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Wisconsin crowns the brandy old fashioned as the official state co*cktail (2024)


Wisconsin crowns the brandy old fashioned as the official state co*cktail? ›

Wisconsin crowns the brandy old fashioned as the official state co*cktail : NPR. Wisconsin crowns the brandy old fashioned as the official state co*cktail Lawmakers in Wisconsin have passed a resolution declaring the state's official co*cktail: the brandy old fashioned.

What is the official co*cktail of Wisconsin? ›

On Tuesday, the Legislature declared the Brandy Old Fashioned as the official state co*cktail of Wisconsin. While you can find many lists declaring signature drinks for every state that said list makers have so decreed, Wisconsin is the first to officially pick a state co*cktail. Hell.

Why does Wisconsin drink brandy old fashioned? ›

Starting as country road speakeasies during Prohibition, the dance halls turned restaurants are a staple of Wisconsin family life. “Everyone grew up going to supper clubs, and you always drink an Old Fashioned,” says Rob Peterson, marketing director of Door County Distillery.

What is the state drink of Wisconsin Old Fashioned? ›

a wisconsin old fashioned is not your typical old fashioned; it muddles sugar, bitters and orange with brandy and finishes with a crisp pour of soda for a sparkling version of a classic.

What is the difference between an old fashioned and an old fashioned in Wisconsin? ›

For the unfamiliar, the old fashioned co*cktail in just about every place other than Wisconsin is traditionally made with a whiskey, like bourbon, sugar and bitters. But in Wisconsin, brandy usually replaces whiskey — and it's most often poured over a mixture of muddled cherries, orange slices, sugar and bitters.

What is Wisconsin's signature drink? ›

Wisconsin's Twist on a Classic — The Brandy Old Fashioned

Did you know Wisconsin consumes the most brandy per capita in the country? Part of the reason is due to our official state co*cktail, the Brandy Old Fashioned. It's the Old Fashioned co*cktail you know and love, with brandy in place of whiskey.

What is the difference between sweet and sour in Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned? ›

'Sweet' is with 7-Up, 'sour' is with Squirt soda or pre-packaged sour mix, and 'press' is half 7-Up, half club soda,” says Brian Bartels, author of The United States of co*cktails, and owner of Settle Down Tavern in Madison. “Most people opt for 'sweet' or 'press.

What is the best brandy for an Old Fashioned? ›

That's because the Brandy Old Fashioned is the (un)official co*cktail of Wisconsin. Nationally, Old Fashioneds are typically made with rye or bourbon whiskey, but the true Wisconsin Old Fashioned is made with brandy -- Korbel by tradition.

Why is alcohol so cheap in Wisconsin? ›

Wisconsin has one of the lowest alcohol tax rates in the country, which lowers retail and wholesale prices; Busalacchi says the tax rate for beer hasn't increased since 1969.

Is an Old Fashioned a girl drink? ›

Similarly, for the past few decades, the old-fashioned has been seen as a man's drink, but after Prohibition, the old-fashioned was one of the most popular drinks ordered by women. Understanding this connection between women and co*cktail culture places women back into a story that popular culture has removed them from.

What is the difference between cognac and brandy? ›

Examples of brandy include pisco, armagnac or Obstler (a brandy produced in Austria and Switzerland). Cognac, however, is always made with grapes and has a very specific distillation and blending process located in a small, protected area in the southwest of France. considered as brandy, but not all brandy is cognac.”

What is the difference between brandy and bourbon? ›

When comparing the two, bourbon tends to offer a sweeter and more intense flavor profile, while brandy provides a broader spectrum of fruity and nuanced tastes. Bartenders often choose bourbon when crafting co*cktails that require a bold and assertive base, emphasizing its caramel and vanilla undertones.

What state drinks the most Old Fashioned? ›

Wisconsin drinks more brandy than any other state, and most of our brandy consumption goes into the Wisconsin old fashioned – a muddle of sugar, bitters, orange and maraschino cherries topped with brandy and then sweet or sour soda and a bevy of garnishes.

Is an Old Fashioned a sipping drink? ›

Glass: The Old Fashioned is one of the few drinks in existence that has a glass named in its honor. The ideal glass should be between eight to 10 ounces, with a thick heavy bottom. Ice: This is a sipping co*cktail, but you don't want that expensive booze turning into a watery mess.

Which tastes better Manhattan or Old Fashioned? ›

If you like a sweeter drink, an Old Fashioned is probably your best bet, as it has a slightly sweeter flavor thanks to the pure sugar. (Though this definitely isn't a strawberry daiquiri—it still has a sharp and bitter side.) Thanks to the vermouth in it, a Manhattan will have wine-like flavors.

What is the Wisconsin WAP drink? ›

A mixture of a hard liquor, usually Vodka, and a mix of a fruit drink such as Kool-Aid or Hawaiian Punch.

What is the drinking culture in Wisconsin? ›

Wisconsin has historically ranked as one of the heaviest drinking states in the United States with a persistent drinking culture. Few studies have documented the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol consumption after the first few months of the pandemic.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tyson Zemlak

Last Updated:

Views: 6490

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (63 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tyson Zemlak

Birthday: 1992-03-17

Address: Apt. 662 96191 Quigley Dam, Kubview, MA 42013

Phone: +441678032891

Job: Community-Services Orchestrator

Hobby: Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Metalworking, Fashion, Vehicle restoration, Shopping, Photography

Introduction: My name is Tyson Zemlak, I am a excited, light, sparkling, super, open, fair, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.