Written by Ken Jackson
When visitors come north, there are usually a series of rituals and traditions that people love to engage in. They love to decompress and slip out of their fast-paced lives back home and take part in the relaxation of the north. Certain locations along with special foods and drinks help these folks make the transition from working life to vacation mode. Northwoods visitors routinely enjoy unique cocktails that help create that Northwoods vibe. While many different elixirs appeal to the masses, one, in particular, proves to be the favorite. One that awakens the pallet. a cocktail that is so unique in that it can be mixed many different ways and with a variety of ingredients. Some folks mix them with their own personal touch and the recipe is kept under lock and key. We are talking about the Old Fashioned.
Whisky, Bourbon or Brandy
This highly sought-after drink can be made with a variety of ingredients. Some folks love the smoothness of a blended whisky, others enjoy the smokiness of a southern bourbon. Many, however, love the fruity flavor of brandy. In truth, brandy was not introduced to the Midwest until the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. There some Germans immigrants discovered this French-based mix and brought some back to their new home in Milwaukee. There they began making brandy old fashioneds. After what must have been some arduous and strenuous experimentation, this cocktail was given new life. Since then, brandy has reigned over whiskey by a somewhat significant margin when comparing the numbers in St. Germain area supper clubs.
Sweet and Sour Essential Ingredients
The basics are bitters, sugar, a mixer of either sweet or sour, and then a brandy or a whiskey to breathe life into the cocktail. Some St. Germain-based chemists have been known to dabble in various ways of enhancing flavor, adding cinnamon in some form, and even creating ice cubes infused with maple syrup to give the sweetness a unique twist. Most of these bartenders employ an important tool, a muddler, to properly mix the magic and create a frothy foam, the ”fog” that fills the glass before the ice is added.
Settle into the Evening
So, the next time you stroll into a St. Germain area establishment on a Friday night before enjoying a fish fry, ask your mixologist for an old fashioned and prepare to have your taste buds awakened. It’s a wonderful way to shift gears and settle into an evening out. Keep in mind this tasty concoction can also be enjoyed as an after-dinner drink if you so desire. Just know that this is a time-tested tradition and once you determine your particular old fashioned variety, you will feel like you’re in St. Germain after the first sip.
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