Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet Recipe (2024)

When I moved to Milwaukee 14 years ago I learned a lot about Wisconsinites. They love beer, cheese, and a good Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet. I learned to appreciate a steak and discovered what a Supper Club was.

While my wheat and dairy sensitivities have made the first two more infrequent than I’d like, luckily the Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet has become a go-to co*cktail. My love of steak has only deepened and whenever I find something that claims to be a supper club, I try it. I learned that nowhere else in the world does supper clubs and old fashioneds the way Wisconsin does. Tip: If you ever find yourself in Milwaukee, the best supper club hands down is Five O’Clock Steakhouse.

When I left Milwaukee to move to Manhattan (the city not the co*cktail), I was shocked, SHOCKED that I could not find a good brandy old fashioned and that’s when I started making them myself. I knew what went into a good co*cktail, I had ordered them countless times. That’s when I also decided to invest in a proper bar, another milestone in adulting.

Jump directly to my Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet recipe.

Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet Recipe (1)

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What Is an Old Fashioned?

After Mad Men debuted the old fashioned co*cktail had a major resurgence, especially amongst the hipsters.

While official origins are somewhat disputed, the old fashioned has been around since at least the 1850s and was created to go back to the basics of co*cktail making. According to Wikipedia, traditional co*cktail ingredients were spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. That’s exactly what is in the brandy old fashioned sweet, and then some.

Brandy Old Fashioned vs. Whiskey

The typical old-fashioned is made with whiskey, but what I discovered in Wisconsin is that an old fashioned made with brandy has a different, more mild flavor.

Whiskey is made from grain and brandy is made from fruit…so there you go. Beer vs. Wine (I’m kidding, but not really). Brandy is naturally gluten-free so if you order this out you don’t have to worry if you have a sensitivity, if you order a whiskey old-fashioned you can get gluten-free, but you’ll need to be brand specific.

Many people wonder if brandy is a sweet drink. It’s not sweet per se, although you can get brandy in different fruit variations, but it is usually sweeter than whiskey.

Why is the Wisconsin Old Fashioned Made With Brandy?

Fun fact, Wisconsin is the #1 consumer of brandy in the U.S. according to Korbel.You may know that Wisconsin is most definitely not the #1 most populous state in the U.S and I like to think its high ranking in brandy consumption is due to the unofficial co*cktail.

According to the Green Bay Gazette (that’s pretty Wisconsin, right?) brandy became very popular during the war when grain was being shipped to feed Europe and it basically has stuck around ever since.

Best Brandy for an Old Fashioned Sweet

Korbel is the largest producer of Brandy in the U.S. and it is served in bars and restaurants all across Wisconsin. When using alcohol in a mixed drink, instead of drinking neat, there is no need to go for the most expensive top-shelf choice. Korbel is a perfect brandy for the Old Fashioned. If you are in Sonoma, California you can even visit the distillery.

What Bar Tools Do You Need to Make a Brandy Old Fashioned?

  • Muddler | Dissolving the sugar cube and breaking up the cherry and orange flavors are key to this co*cktail.
  • Jigger | An easy way to measure, and part of any well-stocked bar.
  • Double Old Fashioned Glasses | The drink is in the name! These cut crystal glasses are made for this co*cktail. They’re pricey but gorgeous and make great gifts!


Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet Recipe (2)

Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet Recipe

Servings: 1

Directions – How to Make a Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet

  1. Place sugar cubes, 2 cherries, ½ orange slice in the bottom of an old fashioned glass
  2. Add bitters and muddle breaking up the sugar cubes
  3. Add ice and Korbel
  4. Top with Sprite and mix
  5. Serve with a cherry and ½ orange slice garnish


  • I recommend getting large ice cube molds – the larger the ice the less it melts and waters down the drink.
  • If you want to make a Brandy Old Fashioned Sour use grapefruit soda, like 50/50 or Squirt instead of Sprite.
  • If you are looking for an alcohol free version, check out this Virgin Old Fashioned recipe.

More co*cktails to try:

Apple Cider Donut Martini

Brandy Manhattan

Dirty Chai Martini

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Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between a brandy old fashioned, sweet and sour? ›

'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 a brandy old fashioned made of? ›

Steps. Add the bitters, orange slices, cherries and sugar cube to an Old Fashioned glass and muddle to combine. Add ice to fill the glass, then add the brandy. Top with the 7UP, Sprite or club soda, and stir to chill.

Is an Old Fashioned sweet? ›

Brandy Old-Fashioned Variations

There are three takes on this drink, though the first two are the most common: Sweet: This means that your drink will be topped up with lemon-lime soda like Sprite or 7 Up. Sour: The brandy old-fashioned is finished off with sour mix or a grapefruit soda like Squirt.

What brandy is best for Old Fashioned in 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.

How to order a sweeter Old Fashioned? ›

Ask for your drink to be more bitter or sweet.

If you want a more sweet Old Fashioned, ask for less bitters in your drink. Typical Old Fashioneds don't have much more than a splash of bitters in them. However, every bartender is different, and your bar could use more bitters on average.

What is the best brandy for an Old Fashioned? ›

I muddle the sugar, bitters, orange wedge and cherry into a thick paste, careful not to touch the orange peel too much as it'll bring unwanted bitterness to the party – just work around the peel and pulverize that orange meat. Your standard Brandy Old Fashioned brandy of choice is Korbel: cheap California brandy.

What is the difference between an old fashioned and a Wisconsin Old Fashioned? ›

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.

Why are brandy old fashioned popular in Wisconsin? ›

The Wisconsin variation came about post-World War II when liquor distributors in Wisconsin found a cache of around 30,000 cases of quality brandy that they sold, which became more popular than the bad whiskey that was sold during the war, according to the book "Wisconsin co*cktails."

How unhealthy is an Old Fashioned? ›

There are few drinks manlier than an Old Fashioned. But the simple syrup in this staple (as well as co*cktails like a Whiskey Sour) isn't so simple, nutritionally speaking. “Just 1-ounce packs in over 5 teaspoons of added sugar,” Holthaus says. “And a 6-ounce Old Fashioned will cost you around 260 calories.”

How sweet should Old Fashioned be? ›

That is to say, a properly made Old Fashioned shouldn't taste sweet, nor should it taste bitter, nor should it taste overwhelmingly of straight whiskey. When you sip the drink and can't pick out any one of these qualities over the others, you've got a proper Old Fashioned.

Is brandy a sweet drink? ›

Brandy has a fruity, subtly sweet taste that is equally enjoyable on its own or in co*cktails. It can also have oak flavour notes because it is typically aged in wooden casks. As it ages, brandy's taste becomes more mellow and complex.

What is the best alcohol to make an old fashioned with? ›

The old fashioned is a classic co*cktail that was invented in Louisville, KY. You can make it with bourbon, rye, or a blended whiskey. You can also substitute one sugar cube for the simple syrup.

What is the difference between a sweet Old Fashioned and a sour Old Fashioned? ›

Tip: A “sweet” Old Fashioned uses a lemon-lime soda like Sprite, while a “sour” Old Fashioned uses a grapefruit soda like Squirt, and a “press” uses half seltzer and half lemon-lime soda.

What are the two types of brandy? ›

Different Types of Brandy
Jul 22, 2022

What are the different tastes of brandy? ›

The taste of brandy varies depending on the fruit it's made from and its age, but generally, they are sweeter than whiskey and taste of flowers, fresh and dried fruit, and citrus zest. The flavour of brandy is fruity and somewhat sweet. Additionally, it may have an oak flavour, often aged in wooden barrels.


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