Tag Archive for cocktail

The Orchard Manhattan

The Orchard Manhattan
Bijou, Hayward

The Orchard Manhattan is an original twist on the classic manhattan cocktail, though I’d say it’s closer to an old-fashioned, actually. It’s made with bourbon, apricot and walnut liqueurs, and black walnut and autumn-spiced bitters. I can’t tell you what the autumn spices are, but I can tell you that I like this drink right from the presentation.


The cherry garnish divides it into visually pleasing segments. The drink maintains the dryness of a manhattan, although it is sweeter than the standard. The walnut presence makes me think of praline candies, and I enjoy the floral note that probably rides in with the apricot liqueur. However, I miss the little hint of citrus that comes with an orange twist or wheel in an old-fashioned. Somehow, the apricot liqueur doesn’t capture it. Add the citrus back in, and this drink is near perfection.


Reviewed 11 Jan 14.

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The Wildfire

The Wildfire
Firehouse 37, San Ramon


This cocktail’s made with Templeton rye, Giffard vanilla liqueur, and bitters, a pretty straightforward combination. Cocktail shaking provides a lovely top layer of icy foam. The vanilla liqueur takes the edge off the rye whiskey, yet the cocktail avoids being overly sweet, which is a good thing. The bitters lend the drink some depth, but I’d prefer that the character of the rye shined more. Perhaps a citrus or floral mixer would liven it up?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect more kick from a drink named the Wildfire. It’s more about making rye palatable to the average drinker, which is a worthy cause but one that doesn’t let the Wildfire live up to its name.


Reviewed 11 Jan 14.


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A Pair of Pisco Tinctures

I have a pair of cocktails to share with you today. Each features the trio of pisco, orange, and a Royal Rose simple syrup. As you may recall, Royal Rose sent me a sampler of their organic, small-batch syrups a while back (meaning it was free!).

Still so pretty!

Still so pretty!

I’ve been slowly sharing new cocktail recipes that feature them as I experiment. I also relocated cross-country in August, so what I have to experiment with is limited right now, and thus the reason for the use of orange and pisco in both drinks, lest you think I’m actually put together enough to aim for a theme.

I’m quite proud of the first drink, and if I, or you, took the time to infuse the pisco with the fennel, I think it would be even better. I’m naming it the Jurong, because I imagine it would be amazing after spending the day at a national park in East Asia. Or, you know, on the patio after work. It’s a bit involved, but I’ve included a short-cut recipe at the end of the description.

Pisco Fennel

The Jurong

2 oz. pisco
¼ of a large orange
A large handful of fennel fronds
1 oz. Royal Rose tamarind syrup

Chill your glasses. Muddle the orange quarter with the fennel and the pisco, saving a few fronds of fennel for garnish. Muddle that sucker until you can see many specks of fennel floating around. Fill the glasses with two large ice cubes each. I chose wine glasses because they show off a layered drink well. Also, I only had so many clean glasses. Strain your muddled mixture, shake with ice, and pour into the glasses. Using a spoon against the side of the glass, pour the tamarind syrup into the bottom of the drink. Ooh and ah at how pretty it is before swishing it all together—it’ll taste better that way.

The tamarind syrup is sweet enough to even out the alcohol, but it also gives the drink weight. Without it, the Jurong would be light enough to blow away on the breeze.

Shortcut: Shake the pisco with two ounces of OJ and the syrup. It’ll be tasty without the fennel too.

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