Sweet or Sour? Brandy or Whiskey? These are just a few questions Wisconsinites take very seriously when it comes to our favorite cocktail. Over the years, restaurants and bars across the state have been steadily perfecting this classic supper club staple. But, if you are ready to try something new, here are six Wisconsin hotspots that you must visit if you love a unique twist to the traditional old fashioned!
While we love the classic version, we’re going to have some fun with this Wisconsin tradition. Check out these locations for a new and exciting old fashioned cocktail experience:
Old Fashioneds + Bubblers? Is that the most ‘Wisconsin’ combination you’ve ever heard of? The Drink Wisconsinbly Pub in Milwaukee surely thought so! They created a DW brandy blend of the old fashioned pouring out from these boozy bubblers. And they don’t just have the one! You can sneak in a seat at one of three bars that house one of these special old fashioned twists.
Madison is home to so many outstanding places for foodies to love, but if you head west to one of their suburbs, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of these finds. The Free House Pub in downtown Middleton offers both a classic and a unique twist to their old fashioneds. Perfect for a holiday taste bud, guests can sip on their Cranberry Brown Sugar Old Fashioned. It features a Bulleit Rye whisky, brown sugar, cinnamon, fresh cranberries, and orange. This cocktail is then topped with “press” and garnished with fresh cranberries.
The tiny village of Egg Harbor has seen massive growth lately, particularly when it comes to high quality places to sit down and sip a delicious drink. One of these new additions is Hatch Distilling, which takes the phrase, “carefully crafted” to new heights. They describe themselves as, “distillers, beekeepers, farmers, and foragers doing the hard work to push the boundary of what ‘craft’ can and should be.” They strive to replace ‘global’ with ‘local’ wherever they can and do most of everything on site: including the creation of the Hibisky Old Fashioned. Your summer taste buds will thank you when trying this floral flare on the old fashioned.
Known as the ‘spirit of the superior’, Copper Crow Distillery is certainly making a name for itself! They use all fresh and regionally sourced ingredients, which always makes for a higher quality and fresher taste in what you’re making. Plus, they pride themselves on only creating their spirits in small, distinctive batches. You can really taste the difference in fun versions of their old fashioneds, like this one featuring their Apple Brandy!
Fun Fact: Copper Crow Distillery is the first Native American owned distillery in the United States. Cheers to that!
A fruity flare on this classic? Yes, please.
Whether you’re skiing for the weekend at Granite Peak, or tubing down the Wisconsin river, this Wausau establishment is a must stop place to see and experience! It has that quirky, Wisconsin charm on the inside decor, down to the bottles on the walls and the nice fire pit out back. But in terms of the cocktails? You need to try the Blackberry Old Fashioned for a fruity flare to this great classic!
There are so many reasons to spend a weekend enjoying the outdoors in Eagle River! But when the sun sets and the snow melts away, it’s time to kick back with a cocktail of your choosing. And that isn’t hard at The Craftsman because they have a unique menu with 6 different flavors of old fashioneds! You can (responsibly) try them all and report back to us on your favorite! Their old fashioned flavors include: Dark Chocolate, Maple Rye, Bourbon Blue, ‘Outside the Wake’ made with aged rum and vanilla, the ‘Celebration’ crafted with brandy and champagne, and of course, ‘The Craftsman’ made with Wollersheim Brandy and cointreau.
Plus, this episode of The Cabin Podcast takes you through a mini tour of Wisconsin’s best brandy old fashioneds. Tune into that episode here:
Not an Old Fashioned fan? It’s okay, we’re judging. We’ve got something for our wine aficionados:
Don’t fret, beer enthusiasts, we’ve got something for you too!
Which adventurous old-fashioned are you most excited to try? Let us know in the comments below!
Susan Fochs: Marketing Coordinator for Discover Mediaworks. A self-proclaimed non-profit aficionado, coffee connoisseur, marketing nerd, and lover of all things Wisconsin.