Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.
It was the summer of 1983.
Average Monthly Rent…$335.00.
A Ford Mustang cost $6,572.00.
NASA’s STS-7 mission was completed successfully, notable in that it was Sally Ride’s first space flight, making her the first American woman in space.
President Ronald Reagan was promoting the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The plan was called “Star Wars” by many critics who thought it impossible to create.
Diana Ross’s concert at The Great Lawn of New York City’s Central Park, attended by 800,000 fans, is cut short by a massive lightning storm.
Michael Jackson and The Police dominate the Billboard charts.
My travels led me to Santa Barbara, CA, where I attended a friend’s wedding. After graduating from Marquette University he took a job on the West Coast.
One night before shortly before the ceremony a small group including the marriage couple went out to a cocktail lounge. Wasn’t real swanky, but still quite nice.
When we ordered I requested a brandy old fashioned.
Later when the cocktail waitress returned with our round of drinks she informed that the bartender wished to speak with me.
When I walked up to the bar I witnessed a gentleman who appeared to be an experienced mixologist. So I was surprised when he asked for directions on how to whip up an old fashioned.
So I instructed with the handful of steps. Before he got started I inquired if the bar stocked brandy.
“After all, you make the stuff here, right?” referring to this historic company.
“Yeh we do,” he replied. “But nobody every orders it. Unless they’re from Wisconsin. You from Wisconsin?”
It didn’t take long before about six or seven inquisitive patrons stood alongside me, watching the bartender concoct what was undoubtedly his first brandy old fashioned. After he finished he thanked me, said he hoped it was to my liking, and insisted the waitress carry it back to my table. For the record he passed with flying colors.
For my money the best brandy old fashioned cocktails I’ve ever had are from The Packing House in Milwaukee, Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee, and the Ishnala Supper Club in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
Milwaukee native Robert Simonson writes in his book, “The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore,” that the Old Fashioned is “as close to an official state drink as the Badger State had.”
Badger folk that have left our state for others in America have taken their love of the cocktail with them, even opening lounges and restaurants that feature the libation.