You don't just order a drink at B&O American Brasserie — you explore it.
Sure the bartenders at the chic downtown restaurant can make you whatever you desire. But do yourself a favor: In the spirit of good spirits, accept the challenge presented by the new seasonal menu of cocktails, Flips, Cups, and Fixes. It's well worth the adventure.
As head bartender Brendan Dorr explains, the menu is a nod to the richness and bounty of fall, playing upon the eggnogs, fruitful garnishes and lush classic cocktails that traditionally mark the season. My favorite, and Dorr's, is Guts & Glory — a quirky, layered elixir with almost as many backstories as ingredients.
Dorr came up with the cocktail almost by accident. Inspired to craft "something totally different" for regulars and two of his friends, Dorr came up with his recipe "on the fly," using the flavors he'd enjoy drinking himself.
What's in a Guts & Glory? Get ready. Bols Genever, the Dutch precursor to American dry/London gin, anchors the drink. Dorr reasons that Genever is rounder and sweeter in flavor than the sharp, juniper-laden bite that gin tends to have. Instead, the cocktail reintroduces the palate to the floral side of the spirit, but in a more unique way: using pine liqueur. Yep, that exists.
Zirbenz Stone Pine liqueur, more specifically, made since 1797 in the Austrian Alps. In isolation, it's kind of like sipping Christmas tree juice that's been mixed with lemon, honey and maple syrup. Added into the cocktail, it's meant to balance a heavy dose of Pernod, the anise-flavored liqueur.
Next, the golden-orange flavor from Lillet Blanc, a French vermouth, is added, then similarly balanced with the acidity of a fresh burst of lemon juice. Altogether, the drink is given a final shake with a bit of egg white — to add a beautifully textured surface — then finished with blood-red bitters dotted across the top for flavor and overall presentation.
Guts & Glory is an extremely strong, focused drink. Complex in its layering yet simple in its taste, the drink is basically a cocktail lover's dream. But as the name implies, you'll need the guts in order to taste the glory.
How to Make Guts & Glory
1 1/2 oz. Bols Genever
1/2 oz. Zirbenz Stone Pine
3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Pernod
Dry shake to emulsify the egg white with the other ingredients. Shake with ice firmly to chill and strain into a coupe.
Garnish: 3 drops Angostura on top. Drag straw through the bitters drops to decorate.
Where to Get Guts & Glory
2 N. Charles St., Downtown
$13Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun