"I've been up since 3 in the morning studying true equations," he says. "Now I wish I'd paid more attention in high school."
If Baltimore had a Walter White, it might be Tim Riley, beverage director for Bagby Restaurant Group. Except his sorcery is legal and his mission pure of heart: to provide the citizens of Charm City with a summer go-to cocktail uniquely our own. Add in a few buzzwords like carbonic acid and house-made orange-infused vodka, and really watch us swoon. Actually, Riley only needed to utter four words before I was hooked: Bottled. Fizzy. Orange. Crush.
While the bottled cocktail craze is gaining momentum locally, it can be deceptive. The distinction between bottling a cocktail and a carbonated bottled cocktail needs to be made. Other area bars fall into the first category, pre-making a beverage, topping it with just enough bubbly to inspire the first sip, then sealing it. Once opened, the cocktail falls flat — literally.
But at Cunningham's in Towson, the conjurings that work to carbonate an entire bottle of a cocktail, leaving it sparkling throughout, are remarkable to watch. Its result — the Fizzy Orange Crush — showcases full-on geeky craftsmanship.
The real star of the Fizzy Orange Crush is in the quality of its ingredients. They zest fresh orange peels into Wodka vodka and lets them sit for two days. Riley, a cordials fan, developed his own spicy orange variety for this recipe.
Alone, both liquors are well-made. Combined, they are smooth and tangy. Carbonated, they are transformative.
How to Make The Fizzy Orange Crush
2 1/4 oz. orange-infused vodka*
1 oz. Easy Orange Cordial**
3 oz. freshly squeezed, finely strained orange juice
1/2 oz. Sprite or other lemon-lime soda
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters
At Cunningham's, all ingredients are combined in a champagne bottle and then carbonated and served over crushed ice.
This can be replicated at home with an iSi Soda Siphon or an old-fashioned seltzer bottle.
Alternately, the drink can be made without carbonation. Garnish with a thickly cut orange twist.
*Orange-infused vodka: Add 80 grams of finely zested orange peel to a 750ml bottle of vodka. Infuse for 48 hours or until desired flavor is achieved.
**Easy Orange Cordial: Combine equal parts freshly squeezed orange juice and raw sugar. Add orange zest, ginger, allspice and cloves, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, let cool, finely strain and bottle.
Where to Get It
1 Olympic Place, Towson