A new take on Wisconsin’s Old Fashioned cocktail

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Supper clubs, which date back to the Prohibition era, are as popular as ever, with a younger crowd in Madison interested in the clubs’ most iconic cocktail, the Old Fashioned.

A bartender at Toby's Supper Club in Madison mixes an Old Fashioned cocktail.

Ron Faiola, who has written two books on Wisconsin’s supper clubs and is working on a third, said that a combination of great food and fifties decor creates an authentic experience for any diner, old or young.

“There’s nothing overly fancy about it or hip or trendy,” he said. “You got your steak, your potato, your vegetables and then an ice cream cocktail at the end of the meal.”

Roxanne Peterson, the owner of Toby’s Supper Club in Madison, has been working at the club since she was 11 years old. She said she has seen families come for generations. Her other guests are out-of-state visitors and twenty to thirty-somethings.

“The younger group of people, they all want to drink Old Fashioneds too,” she said. “But now we’re making rye Old Fashioneds, rum Old Fashioneds, vodka Old Fashioneds. Everybody’s kind of making their own combinations now. Still brandy is king.”

Faiola said in Wisconsin, brandy is the spirit of choice. At Toby’s, Peterson said that she typically finishes two cases of it on a typical Friday.