Wisconsin snubs bourbon by elevating the brandy old fashioned to state cocktail status

by Ethan Kim
Wisconsin brandy old fashioned

In a notable move, Wisconsin has given a nod to the brandy old fashioned, elevating it to the status of the state’s official cocktail. This decision diverges from the traditional choice of bourbon for an old fashioned cocktail.

The Wisconsin state Assembly recently passed a bipartisan resolution recognizing the brandy old fashioned as the state’s official cocktail. Although it’s just a resolution and not a legislative bill, its approval is significant. Unlike other state symbols like milk (state beverage), kringle (state pastry), and corn (state grain) that gained official status through bills and the governor’s approval, the brandy old fashioned’s recognition doesn’t require such formalities.

Only Alabama and Virginia have taken similar steps, designating whiskey as their official state spirit. Wisconsin has seen debates over official state symbols, such as the proposal to declare Colby as the state cheese, which faced criticism over concerns of impacting other cheeses’ sales and reputations.

The resolution for the brandy old fashioned is set to pass more easily, as it doesn’t carry legal weight and doesn’t require public hearings or input.

This year, the Wisconsin Assembly has passed numerous resolutions on various issues, including condemning attacks and recognizing special months.

Outside of Wisconsin, an old fashioned cocktail is typically whiskey-based. However, in Wisconsin, brandy is the preferred spirit, often mixed with cherries, orange slices, sugar, and bitters. The drink can be customized with various mixers and garnishes, including unconventional options like pickled vegetables.

Democratic Rep. Ryan Clancy humorously expressed his disapproval of adding savory elements to the drink, suggesting it should be considered a serious offense.

The preference for brandy in Wisconsin’s version of the old fashioned dates back to post-World War II. During that time, liquor distributors in the state sold a large stock of quality brandy, which became popular over the less favorable whiskey available then. This historical preference was highlighted by Republican Rep. Jon Plumer, who introduced the resolution. He encouraged skeptics to try the brandy old fashioned before passing judgment and playfully addressed whiskey enthusiasts during the debate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Wisconsin brandy old fashioned

What cocktail has Wisconsin declared as its official state cocktail?

The Wisconsin state Assembly passed a bipartisan resolution declaring the brandy old fashioned as the official state cocktail.

Does the resolution to declare the brandy old fashioned as Wisconsin’s state cocktail carry legal weight?

No, the resolution does not carry legal weight as it is not a bill. It’s a symbolic recognition without the need for a public hearing or the governor’s signature.

How does the Wisconsin version of the old fashioned differ from the traditional version?

In Wisconsin, the old fashioned cocktail typically uses brandy instead of the traditional whiskey. It’s often mixed with cherries, orange slices, sugar, and bitters, and can be customized with various garnishes and mixers.

Have any other states designated an official state spirit?

Yes, Alabama and Virginia have both designated whiskey as their official state spirit.

What was the historical reason for the popularity of brandy in Wisconsin’s version of the old fashioned?

Post World War II, liquor distributors in Wisconsin found a large stock of quality brandy, which became popular over the less favorable whiskey available at the time. This led to the enduring preference for brandy in the state’s version of the old fashioned cocktail.

More about Wisconsin brandy old fashioned

  • Wisconsin Assembly Passes Cocktail Resolution
  • Brandy Old Fashioned in Wisconsin History
  • State Symbols of Wisconsin
  • Alabama and Virginia State Spirits
  • The Rise of Brandy in Post-WWII Wisconsin

You may also like


MikeS87 November 11, 2023 - 7:08 am

Wow, Wisconsin going with brandy instead of whiskey, didnt see that coming, but hey, I’m all for it! Love a good brandy old fashioned.

Lisa_foodie November 11, 2023 - 7:27 am

this is interesting, never knew each state could have their own spirit. I guess you learn something new everyday.

HistoryBuff1912 November 11, 2023 - 10:35 am

The historical angle is fascinating, never knew about the post-WWII brandy cache in Wisconsin. Makes you appreciate the drink more.

CheeseHeadFan November 11, 2023 - 10:52 am

as a Wisconsinite, proud to see us getting some recognition for our unique cocktail choice. It’s about time!

TravellerJoe November 11, 2023 - 8:47 pm

Been to Wisconsin once, their brandy old fashioned is really something else, totally different from what i’m used to but in a good way.


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News