How to Make the Ultimate Old-Fashioned Cocktail

I live in Wisconsin, where people take drinking very seriously. When I first moved to the dairy state from Minnesota I learned the hard way how particular people from Wisconsin are about their classic cocktails. And while a frosty cold PBR tallboy or Spotted Cow really hit the spot on a muggy summer evening, there's one drink that stands above the rest in the heats of Wisconsinites. This article will walk you through how to make the ultimate classic cocktail with the best Old-Fashioned recipe.

Whether you're looking to use bourbon, rye, or brandy, these are the simple steps required to create the ultimate Old-Fashioned. Serve with a Friday night fish fry to woo any true Cheesehead.

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First off, grab a traditional Old-Fashioned glass.

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An Old-Fashioned is traditionally served in a short tumbler that usually has decorative glass details and a thick base to allow for easy muddling. And while you could spend a fortune on a high-end set, there are affordable options available that look and perform just as well as their pricey counterparts.

In need of an Old-Fashioned glass set? Look no further.

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This Marquis by Waterford Markham Double Old Fashioned Glasses Set is a great way to expand your glassware collection without breaking the bank. You get four sturdy and beautiful glasses for just over $40 bucks. Why spend more if you don't have to?

Next up, muddling.

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Grab your glass and toss in an orange slice, a maraschino cherry, one tablespoon of juice from the cherry jar, one sugar cube, and four to six dashes of bitters. Grab your muddler and start smashing until the ingredients have become sufficiently mashed.

A quality muddler doesn't have to cost a lot.

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This Hiware 10 Inch Stainless Steel Cocktail Muddler and Mixing Spoon Home Bar Tool Set instantly upgrades your home bartending setup. The non-scratch nylon head mashes fruit and herbs easily without damaging your glasses and the mixing spoon is the same design that the pros use.

Now we're going to talk about something controversial: what booze to include in your Old-Fashioned.

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If you live in Wisconsin, the only acceptable choice would be brandy. But if you're not a Wisconsin native (or you are and you just want to try something new), you have two options: rye or bourbon. Regardless of your choice, add 1.5 ounces to your glass.

A cocktail jigger is a good way to make sure you're adding the correct amount of alcohol to your drinks.

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This Bell Jigger Premium Vintage Double Cocktail Jigger in Stainless Steel is my pick for the best jigger on Amazon. This is the same one that actual bartenders use, so you know it's good. Plus, it's smoothly shaped to prevent friction and looks great on your home bar setup.

Let's talk bitters.

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If the thought of adding something bitter to your drink is off-putting, don't let it scare you. Bitters are basically concentrated flavor, and while you probably wouldn't want to take a sip straight from the bottle, they can transform your cocktail in a big way with just a few drops.

All bartenders know the magical properties of Angostura bitters.

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If you're looking to intensify the flavors of your cocktail while adding new layers of complexity, this Angostura Bitters Set is up for the job. Add several drops of the traditional aromatic bitters or punch up the citrus notes by choosing the orange flavor. You can't go wrong with Angostura.

We're almost done! Time to top it off.

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At this point, you've got your Old-Fashioned glass filled with your muddled ingredients, the liquor of your choice, and your bitters. Now, add ice to fill the glass and start thinking about whether you want your drink sour or sweet. If you choose sweet, add some lemon-lime soda like Sprite or 7Up. If sour is more your style, choose a refreshing grapefruit soda like Squirt or 50/50.

Garnish with an orange peel and cherries and you're ready to start sippin'.

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After you've given your drink a good stir with your mixing spoon, grab a cocktail pick, and slide on an orange peel along with three maraschino cherries. These Peninsula Premium Cocktail Cherries are the best of the best, and after a few Old Fashioneds, you might even be tempted to eat the entire jar in one sitting.