In a market jam-packed with old fashioned recipes, bars and restaurants have to find a way to make their recipe stand out. For the Dells Distillery on Broadway, that standout quality comes from a unique blend of spices.
Open since 2013, the Dells Distillery sets out to establish a 1920s speakeasy vibe in its downtown location, with 1920s-style drinks to boot. Their signature cocktail, the ginger brandy old fashioned, provides a flavor profile that fits perfectly into that aesthetic.
Their twist on Wisconsin’s signature cocktail sits at the top of their drinks menu, and according to bartender Andy Romanowski, is their top-selling drink. The Distillery takes Five Star brandy every week and infuses it with ginger, cinnamon, oranges and a wide variety of other flavors, leaving it to mix and provide the liquor with a flavor customers won’t be able to find anywhere else.
“It’s super good, it’s sweet,” Romanowski said. “I make it the most out of everything. In the summer especially, I’ll make that 100 times a day.”
In comparison to a traditional old fashioned, Dells Distillery’s take is sweeter, and has a unique kick. The heavily infused brandy provides a taste that’s impossible to find in a traditional liquor, with ginger being the dominant taste above all else.
A brandy old fashioned sweet is going to be more sugary than a given cocktail under normal conditions, but the ginger brandy variety takes that sweetness factor and jacks it up to the moon.
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“It’s sweeter than a typical old fashioned,” Romanowski said. “That’s the one thing, they were like ‘hey, you’re going to make this all the time.”
The Five Star brandy used in the ginger brandy old fashioned is not one of the liquors distilled in-house; it’s distilled in Minnesota. However, the staff infuses the brandy in the building, adding in the ginger, cinnamon, honey and other ingredients to add additional flavor to the liquor.
Customers don’t always take the recipe as written. Romanowski said that some customers enjoy ordering the old fashioned with the house white whiskey. According to Romanowski, whiskey’s signature color comes from its aging process, so if it’s not aged it stays clear as water
If you’re looking to enjoy the ginger brandy old fashioned on the cheap, head down to the Dells Distillery on Saturdays. According to Romanowski, the restaurant knocks the drink’s price from $7 down to $5 on Saturdays, and business booms.
“Once a week, we have a special,” Romanowski said. “Typically, it’s seven, but we have that one day a week. And people come in and get them.”