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Ginger Brandy Old Fashioned Cocktail

Available in most bars, the Old Fashioned is a whiskey based drink that has been enjoyed for over 200 years.

The recipe for this cocktail was first published in 1806 and called for liquor, sugar, water and bitters. As its name suggests, that recipe has not changed much over the years!

Old Fashioned Cocktail Photo

But there are dozens of variations that you can try, and this recipe for Ginger Brandy Old Fashioned is one of them. 

Whereas the traditional Old Fashioned recipe uses whiskey, this one uses brandy – making it a Wisconsin style Old Fashioned.

This drink first made an appearance at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. A distiller producing brandy was exhibiting at the fair and had attendees sample their wares by making Old Fashioned with brandy instead of whiskey.

From there, the drink really took off.

In fact, Wisconsin has claimed the Brandy Old Fashioned as its unofficial drink.

Maple Old Fashioned Cocktail Photo

Other twists on an Old Fashioned include adding interesting flavors like rosemary, chocolate, honey and grapefruit. It’s a great cocktail to experiment with and allows you to switch out ingredients that better suit your fancy. 

What are bitters?

A notable feature of this drink is the use of bitters. Bitters is a common ingredient found in cocktails, but you may be unsure of exactly what is is.

Bitters is a kind of spirit that has been infused with a range of ingredients, typically fruit, spices and botanicals like leaves, bark, roots and herbs.

It is sometimes also made with aromatic ingredients like mint, peppermint, hibiscus, lavender, lemongrass and sage. 

Whilst most cocktails aim to provide both sweet and sour flavors,  many mixologists will include bitters to balance out the flavors.

Angostura bitters, as called for in this recipe, contains about 35-45% alcohol. But since you only use a tiny drop, it will not strengthen your drink.

That is why, despite bitters containing alcohol, they are labelled as non-alcoholic – you would simply never use more than a drop or two in one cocktail.

Maple Old Fashioned Cocktail Picture

Interestingly, Campari is a type of bitters, better known as potable bitters. But unlike Angostura bitters, Campari is meant to be enjoyed in larger amounts and is therefore classed as alcoholic. 

Be sure to use the right type of ginger

This recipe calls for candied ginger, which gives this drink its distinct flavor.

Many people use the terms ‘candied’ and ‘crystallized’ interchangeably, but there is a bit of a difference between the two.

Candied ginger is soaked in sugar and stored in the syrup that is formed; crystallized ginger, on the other hand, is coated in sugar and then dried out.

You may also see candied ginger referred to as ‘uncrystallized’ as it does not have a sugar coating. 

More recipes

If you are feeling very creative, consider making your very own ginger brandy for use in this drink. And after making some of this delicious Ginger Brandy Old Fashioned, why not try some of our other favorite cocktails:

Old Fashioned Cocktail Photo

Ginger Brandy Old Fashioned Cocktail

Cyd Converse
You may have tried or heard of a Brandy Old Fashioned, but you may not have not tried a delicious Ginger Brandy Old Fashioned!
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 235 kcal


  • 1 Orange
  • 2 Maraschino Cherries
  • 2 Candied Ginger
  • 3 Angostura Bitters
  • 1.5 Ginger Brandy
  • 2 Club Soda


  • Slice the ends off the orange and cut a quarter inch slice of orange and set aside for garnish. Quarter the remaining orange.
  • Put the quartered orange piece, one maraschino cherry, and one slice of candied ginger in a cocktail shaker. Muddle well and add in a few drops of bitters, muddling once more until well combined. Add the ginger brandy and stir well.
  • Strain through the cocktail shaker into an old fashioned glass (half full with ice).
  • Top with club soda and stir.
  • Garnish with the orange slice you saved, the maraschino cherry and candied ginger.


Calories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 27gSodium: 32mgFiber: 2gSugar: 24g
Keyword Brandy, Cherries, Cocktails, Exclusive, Ginger, Oranges
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