I need to start this post with a disclaimer. I live in Wisconsin and here in Wisconsin drinking Old Fashioneds is a way of life. They serve them by the buckets full in Supper Clubs all across this state. But, Old Fashioneds, here in Wisconsin, are very different from those made in pretty much every other part of the country, so I discovered soon after moving here. First off, in Wisconsin, if you ask for an Old Fashioned it is going to be made with Brandy. That is the default liquor. Not Whiskey. Secondly, here in Wisconsin, they tend to build their Old Fashioneds similar to a Collins, in that they then add a good amount of soda to the cocktail, not just a splash of soda water, but a significant amount. And it doesn’t just have to be soda water. They can come sweet (with lemon-lime soda), sour (with carbonated sour mix) or Press (which would be half soda water and half lemon-lime soda). And because they are so popular, there are a lot of poorly made ones out there as bartenders come up with all sorts of shortcuts and homemade mixes to use to help them churn out these drinks at an alarming rate. This recipe takes the best of both schools of thought, building a good solid base for the cocktail but then lightening its alcoholic kick with a good amount of soda to come up with a cocktail that any Wisconsinite would recognize but still can hold its own all around the country.
Cranberry Old Fashioned
2 oz. Southern Comfort (you can also use brandy, or any type of whiskey you prefer)
1 slice of Orange
2 splashes Bitters (Angostura)
1 tsp. Sugar
4 each Cranberries
Cranberry Sierra Mist or Cranberry Sprite
In the bottom of a cocktail tumbler or Collins glass, muddle the orange, along with the bitters and sugar, until the juice is pressed from the orange and the rind has been well bruised and almost falling apart. Add the cranberries and crush with the muddler. Fill the glass with ice then add the Southern Comfort. Give the cocktail a stir then fill with Cranberry soda. Garnish with an orange slice, fresh cranberries and maybe a cherry or two.