Wisconsin Old-Fashioned Recipe, Holiday Style

This Wisconsin Old-Fashioned recipe uses pomegranate molasses instead of cherries with a cranberry garnish for a holiday flair. Cheers!  This Wisconsin Old-Fashioned recipe uses pomegranate molasses instead of cherries with a cranberry garnish for a holiday flair. Cheers!

Normally, right about now, I’d be celebrating Christmas with my extended family. Not just my siblings and their kids but my cousins and their families too. 

It’s an event that we transitioned years ago, from Christmas Eve to mid-December, out of sheer practicality. This allowed a joyful annual reunion—even with busy schedules, spouses, kids, and grandkids in the mix.This Wisconsin Old-Fashioned recipe uses pomegranate molasses instead of cherries with a cranberry garnish for a holiday flair. Cheers!

Alas not this year.

But Covid won’t stop me from enjoying this Wisconsin Old-Fashioned Cocktail (always served at the event). Holiday style this time!

Sugared Cranberries (easy!)

What is an Old-Fashioned?

The Old-Fashioned cocktail has been around for ages–and rumor has it that it was first consumed in Kentucky in the 1800s. There it was made with bourbon and bitters and orange peel twisted for a hint of oil. The Washington Post has a recipe for the traditional version.

The popular drink was a staple in the Supper Club era but Wisconsin pulled together its own take on the classic. Frequently served with brandy (termed the “Brandy Old-Fashioned”), it was topped with lemon-lime soda (“sweet”), grapefruit soda (like Squirt) or sour mix (“sour”) or selzer. Yes, Wisconsinites are serious brandy drinkers (story here) and always happy to find their own way to do booze! This Wisconsin Old-Fashioned recipe uses pomegranate molasses instead of cherries with a cranberry garnish for a holiday flair. Cheers!

Which is how I decided to festive up the drink to create a holiday Wisconsin Old-Fashioned recipe. I started by using pomegranate syrup instead of bottled cherries and a garnish of easy sugared cranberries. If you don’t want to invest in a new condiment (I had the syrup and I can’t even tell you why), just use an ounce or two of standard pomegranate juice, or the standard bottled cherry and a little cherry juice

Step by Step Directions

This holiday Wisconsin Old-Fashioned recipe is very easy to make.  You place an orange slice, the pomegranate syrup, sugar and a few dashes of bitters in an old-fashioned glass and muddle (crush together) with a muddler or anything you have that will work (I used a small wooden spoon).

Top with brandy and a couple small handfuls of ice, then stir.

Top with your choice of soda.

Garnish with sugared cranberries and/or another orange slice. This Wisconsin Old-Fashioned recipe uses pomegranate molasses instead of cherries with a cranberry garnish for a holiday flair. Cheers!

Enjoy!

Serving a Wisconsin Old-Fashioned Cocktail

When it comes to serving, the drink is great before dinner, with or without appetizers. But it’s also suitable with dinner, especially with rich, hearty foods like duck or pork chops. 

And I hear that cheese balls are making a comeback, so maybe pull up a cracker and a sharp spreadable cheddar, then drink to a better 2021.

This Wisconsin Old-Fashioned recipe uses pomegranate molasses instead of cherries with a cranberry garnish for a holiday flair. Cheers!

Wisconsin Old-Fashioned Recipe, Holiday Style

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This Wisconsin Old-Fashioned recipe uses pomegranate molasses instead of cherries with a cranberry garnish for a holiday flair.   Cheers!

Ingredients

  • 1 orange slice
  • 1 Tablespoon pomegranate syrup or molasses (see note)
  • 1 sugar cube or a teaspoon of table sugar
  • 3 – 6 dashes (usually Angostura) bitters
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • 2 handfuls of ice
  • 4 ounces "soda" (lemon-lime, grapefruit, selzer)
  • Optional orange slices, sugared cranberries for garnish (cocktail cherries or olives for the non-holiday version)

Instructions

In an old-fashioned glass, muddle orange slice, pomegranate molasses/syrup, sugar cube and bitters.

Add brandy and a couple small handfuls of ice.

Top with soda of choice.

Garnish with sugared cranberries

Notes

Non-holiday version, you can use a cocktail cherry and a teaspoon of the juice instead of the pomegranate syrup and garnish with cocktail cherries or olives

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 290Saturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mg

Nutrition data accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.

3 thoughts on “Wisconsin Old-Fashioned Recipe, Holiday Style

  1. David Scott Allen

    I love pomegranate molasses. I bet it gives your WOF real zing! And I much prefer using brandy over bourbon… I can really sink my teeth into this cocktail! (And actually have all the ingredients.) Mark and I decided that we would have some cocktail fun over the holidays (which start tonight at 5pm). Your WOF is at the too of the list!

    1. Inger Post author

      I did really like the pomegranate molasses too. In fact I think I’ll be using that instead of the cherry in the future, not just for the holidays. Your extended cocktail fun sounds perfect, David–best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

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