Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Old Fashioned

When I started this blog many years ago, there was one place that I had placed at the very top of my "to try" places—The Old Fashioned.

A friend's birthday brought me to this very place.

It was a sunny spring day, with a chill in the air still lingering. It also happened that later that day, Wisconsin was to play in a NCAA tournament game. Perfect day for Madison, perfect day for a brandy old fashioned. Upon entering the bar, it was not lost on me the many bottles of Korbel brandy that lined the shelves behind the bar (the bottles were accompanied by many other Wisconsin chachkies.) Of course, I ordered the usual, a brandy old fashioned sour.

The drink started with a highball glass and an oddly shaped brown nugget. The bartender then added few dashes of bitters, followed by a bit of soda water, an orange slice, a maraschino cherry and vigor muddling. Next came ice, the Korbel brandy (slightly over a shot) and soda from a Squirt can.

Doing my due diligence, I of course inquired about the brown nugget. I knew it was sugar, but couldn't be brown sugar, could it? Nope, of course not. It was natural raw sugar cane that was hand-rolled. Raw sugar has a distinctive color and flavor produced by keeping the sugar cane molasses in and around the crystals. It is not blended, colored or chemically refined. Did it make the drink taste any different? Nope.

The cocktail was good—I wished the brown nugget made the drink special, but it really didn't. Don't get me wrong, it was a great old fashioned! Super standard, not too sweet. At $5.50, it wasn't a steal and makes my final rating simply a 4 out of 5. What would make the drink better? Well, the price feels steep for a single shot and the namesake of the bar. Maybe I missed the olives? I wasn't asked for a garnish.

You know what was super solid? The cheese curds. They were greasy, had tons of dips to choose from. That was super special. I've thought about those for awhile since visiting.

Another special was their brandy slush! It was incredibly sweet, too much frozen juices—just like I remember as a child. (Yep, child). I recommend the extra Korbel on the top! If I were to go again, I'd ask for a bit less slush scooped from the ice cream container and a splash of soda on top to make it less sweet.

Rating (out of 5 olives)

The Old Fashioned
23 N Pinckney St #1, Madison

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