Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Badger State in a Bottle

The Wisconsin supper club is much less interesting than it sounds. It's basically the restaurant you go to with your grandparents. The type is not unique to Wisconsin. What is perhaps noteworthy is the affection in which they are held in the Badger State. That may be because they are a reliable place to get that peculiar regional cocktail, the brandy old fashioned.

Soul Boxer Cocktails is a new venture from Jason Neu and Doug MacKenzie, both formerly of Milwaukee's Great Lakes Distilling. Their first offering is the 'Wisconsin-Style' brandy old-fashioned. It's a pre-mixed cocktail that gets it right, for about $20 a bottle. They're making it at Yahara Bay Distillers in Madison but the ambitious Misters Neu and MacKenzie are working on a distillery of their own.

The ingredients are California brandy, real fruit including Door County cherries, bitters, and sugar.

The Old Fashioned is a sweet drink to begin with and the brandy base makes it even more so. The key here to balancing that out is bitters. They give the drink a spice cake quality. Many Wisconsinites spritz their old fashioneds with club soda or a soft drink. Soul Boxer leaves that up to you. It tastes pretty good straight from the bottle, over ice.

Soul Boxer's Brandy Old Fashioned is not widely distributed but perhaps your whiskey monger can order it for you. Soul Boxer's slogan is "Less Time Making. More Time Drinking." I think my suggestion is better: "Soul Boxer. You Can Almost Taste the Badger."


Thomas said...

In Wisconsin, when you order an "Old Fashioned", it comes with brandy.
You have to ask for bourbon or rye.

Many places will also ask if you want that "sweet" or "sour"

Sweet means they make it with 7-Up.
Sours means they use Squirt.
I prefer sour.
A good supper club will make their own simple syrup, so no soda/pop needed.

jason underwood said...

do you know if they are aging their brandy and if so for how long?


Chuck Cowdery said...

They are using California brandy, which typically is aged for two years in used bourbon barrels. The most popular brandy in Wisconsin is Korbel, which is aged for about two years in used Jack Daniel's barrels.The source (undisclosed) for the brandy in Soul Boxer could be any of several Kentucky distilleries who import distillate from California and age it in Kentucky. They are not distilling the brandy at Yahara Bay. That is just where they are mixing all of the ingredients together and bottling it.

jason underwood said...

erudite as ever...thanks chuck