Our man in Wisconsin (the Badger State), USA, recently alerted me to this article in the New York Times Magazine. In it the reporter talks about how this classic cocktail in made in his home state.
It seems that in Wisconsin the Old Fashioned is primarily a brandy based drink and made to a different standard to that you would find in the fine bars of New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. Like the Martini, the Old Fashioned is a very personal drink with each "connoisseur" having their own particulars. In fact the variables in an Old Fashioned are probably even greater than the mix of gin and vermouth.
So how do they make them in Wisconsin?
"Every bartender here knows the drill: a bar spoon of sugar, three dashes of Angostura bitters, a lightly muddled slice of orange, a slug of brandy, lots and lots of ice, a splash of soda and, of course, a bright red maraschino cherry, often with an extra dose of the fluorescent juice that they swim in."
This is a different kettle of fish to my usual whisky or gin old fashioned. It is sweeter, more dilute and fruitier but still quite a nice drink.
Some aficionados will squirm at the fact that I included a little zip of 7UP for some extra zing; others will hate my fruit medley of a garnish. But in true honesty I like the drink; it is more refreshing than a traditional OF and, with the extra dilution, is much lighter.
I also really like the brandy combination with gives the drink a sweet, more rounded flavour profile. Given my fondness for the Horse's Neck I wonder how it would work if I replaced the 7UP with ginger ale..?