My roots are deeply Polish. When we gather, food and drink are central to the event. My grandmother was one of thirteen first-generation children born on a farm in Northern Wisconsin and that clan scattered throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. Some of my fondest girlhood memories are family weddings; when we came together for a wedding, my family rented a bus and blocks of hotel rooms because, well, we like to party. Everyone was included; everyone was "family" if you happened to be a guest in that hotel or the desk clerk or maid.
Aunt Bernice's Old Fashioned Cocktail recipe would be adapted to serve few or many in the hallway of that block of rooms. The matriarchs of my family would gather in the hallway, purses would open up and produce bottles of brandy, cherries and orange slices most likely stolen from the reception hall, a bottle of bitters and the vending machine supplied 7Up. They called it "making soup". The vessel, a roasting pan, never seemed to run dry and the singing went into the wee hours of the night.
Aunt Bernice's Old Fashioned Cocktail
1 shot of Korbel Brandy (apricot flavored is my favorite)
A good shake of Bitters
A splash of cherry juice
A few ounces of 7Up
One Maraschino cherry
One orange slice
My drink of choice is still a [more traditional] Old Fashioned.
Whiskey Old Fashioned Sweet (three cherries, please).
2 oz. bourbon whiskey
1 tsp. brown sugar
Dash of Angostura Bitters (6 drops)
Slice of orange
3 Maraschino cherries
In a lowball glass, muddle together one cherry and the sugar.
Add the whiskey and bitters, shake or stir.
I like mine over ice, but you can serve it straight-up.
Garnish with the orange and 2 more cherries.