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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