Brandy Old Fashioned

Make a Brandy Old Fashioned and treat yourself to a classic Midwestern cocktail at home. So sweet and delicious, you may want another!

Orange hued cocktail with ice, orange slice and cherry skewer.

I’ve been rewatching Mad Men lately. It’s probably the fifth or sixth time I’ve watched the series all the way through, or maybe even more. I’ve lost count!

When the outside world is messy and difficult, there’s something comforting about returning to characters I’m well, comfortable with.

It’s not necessarily always a feel good show. In fact, there are some pretty heavy moments, often pulled straight from history.

Not all of the characters are likeable, not in the least. And maybe that’s part of the allure. The show doesn’t pretend that everything is perfect all of the time, because often, it’s not.

But the REAL star of the show has to be the cocktails. You immediately begin to lose track of how many old fashioneds Don Draper consumes.

Most of the time, his drink seems to be the type of old fashioned that I’m accustomed to – a sugar cube muddled with an orange rind and a few dashes of bitters, then topped with bourbon.

But one scene, in particular, his old fashioned looked a little different, and that’s when I started researching all the types of old fashioneds.

Two orange hued cocktails with maraschino cherries, brandy, orange bitters, and 7-up cans in background.

This brandy old fashioned recipe is a classic in the Midwest.

In the Season 3, Episode 3 episode, “My Old Kentucky Home,” Don meets Conrad Hilton at an unattended bar during a party he really doesn’t want to be at.

Don ends up making him and “Connie” old fashioneds. He muddles the cherry and the orange, adds some sort of brown liquor, but then . . . tops it with soda.

I’d never heard of an old fashioned that included soda, so I Googled it. Turns out that what Don made looks a lot like a brandy old fashioned, which is a classic cocktail in the Midwest, and especially Wisconsin.

Many people even claim that the brandy old fashioned is the (un)official drink of Wisconsin!

Well, you know me. I’m a Midwesterner at heart with an affinity for a Midwest potato salad recipe and making my lasagna with cottage cheese, so brandy old fashioneds swiftly made it into the cocktail rotation at my house.

Ingredients for a brandy old fashioned, including brandy, 7-up, maraschino cherries and orange bitters.

Is a brandy old fashioned sweet?

A brandy old fashioned is definitely on the sweeter end of the cocktail spectrum, and I think that’s why people find it so alluring. They go down very easy (just like my tequila mojitos), so be careful!

Unlike my rosemary cocktail, which is sweetened with simple syrup, or my honey old fashioned which is, of course, sweetened with honey, the sweetness in a brandy old fashioned comes from a variety of sources.

There’s the marascino cherries PLUS some of the juice from the cherry jar. There’s the orange slice (and the juice that comes out of it). There’s the sugar cube. And then there’s the lemon-lime soda.

If all of this is TOO sweet for you (and I don’t blame you), feel free to just omit the sugar cube. I often do that, and enjoy it just as well that way.

What is in a brandy old fashioned?

  • maraschino cherries and their juice
  • orange
  • sugar cube
  • orange bitters
  • brandy
  • ice
  • lemon-lime soda
Two brandy old fashioneds garnished with maraschiono cherries and orange slices.

How to make a brandy old fashioned:

In a double old fashioned glass (or any fancy cocktail glass you prefer), muddle the cherries, cherry juice, orange slice, sugar and bitters until everything is crushed and somewhat blended together.

Add the brandy and stir until everything is well combined and the sugar completely dissolves into the brandy.

Fill your glass with ice, and then top everything off with lemon-lime soda (7-Up, Sprite, etc.).

Closeup on a brandy old fashioned cocktail garnished with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.

What to serve with brandy old fashioneds:

Well, if you’re drinking like you live in the Midwest, you may as well eat like you live here, too. And us Midwesterners love pizza. Try a cheeseburger pizza or chicken pizza.

Or, if you just want a few little nibbles during happy hour, my phyllo cup appetizers and spicy potato chips both make great pairings for this drink.

And don’t forget to say a few “opes” while you’re drinking. You can’t be an honorary Midwesterner without muttering this non-word several times a day.

Don’t know what I mean? Check out the School of Ope.

Other great cocktail recipes:

With a well stocked bar and a few simple ingredients, you can make a variety of flavorful alcoholic libations.

Yield: 1 drink

Brandy Old Fashioned

Orange hued cocktail with ice, orange slice and cherry skewer.

Make a Brandy Old Fashioned and treat yourself to a classic Midwestern cocktail at home. So sweet and delicious, you may want another!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 maraschino cherries
  • 1 teaspoon juice from the maraschino cherry jar
  • 1 slice of orange (about 1/8th of a medium orange, peel and all)
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 4 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • Ice
  • Lemon-lime soda

Instructions

  1. In a double old fashioned glass, muddle cherries, cherry juice, orange slice, sugar and bitters until crushed.
  2. Add brandy and stir until well combined.
  3. Fill glass with ice.
  4. Top off cocktail with lemon-lime soda.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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Collage of ingredients and finished drink with overlay: sweet + delicious BRANDY OLD FASHIONED.