You can always count on running into some friendly folks and enjoying a relaxing time up in Eagle River. That’s how it’s been for decades and while a lot of things change, there’s still a few that will always remain in Wisconsin’s Northwoods: supper clubs, fish fries and Old Fashioneds.
If you’ve ever made your way to Wisconsin, you probably know that we do things a little differently. Whether it’s calling the water fountain a bubbler, measuring distance by how many minutes it takes to get there, or using brandy in this classic cocktail. We’re not sure about how the other two started, but we can tell you why the uniquely delicious Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet was mixed up here.
Story has it that in the late 1800’s, the German-Wisconsinites had a taste for brandy but had a hard time finding it in a state that was known for brewing beer. That was, until it was brought to the World’s Fair in Chicago and eventually hauled up to our neck of the woods. There, they started the original “craft cocktail” movement – muddling sugar, bitters, brandy and a citrus rind together to form what is now known as a Wisconsin Old Fashioned.
This adaptation has become a local tradition that’s survived prohibition, the Mad Men era and the resurgence of mixologists. It’s been our staple when other fads have come and gone. While there’s really no wrong way to take it, sour or sweet, whiskey or brandy (or bourbon even), we’re partial to the cocktail that bares our state’s name. So partial in fact, that we dedicated an entire event to it.
For the second consecutive year, Northwoods bartenders put their skills to the test at Old Fashioneds Up North to battle it out for “Eagle River’s Best Old Fashioned” where attendees get to discover each restaurants’ take on it while enjoying live entertainment and hor d’oeuvres. Unlike the cocktail however, these tickets didn’t last long as the 2018 event sold out well in advance. Make sure to keep an eye out in August 2019 for ticket information and make sure to grab yours early.