A Q & A with B&O American Brasserie's Brendan Dorr

Behind the bar at downtown's B&O American Brasserie, Charm City's renowned bartender, Brendan Dorr, mixes cocktails that match the same artistic stylishness of his surroundings. Not so long ago, we had the pleasure of chatting up Dorr, a Frederick native, President of Baltimore Bartender’s Guild, organizer of the Forgotten Cocktail Club, and what else? Highly trained opera singer. This guy's full of the unexpected.
 
Drink Baltimore: What brought you to B&O American Brasserie?
Brendan Dorr: Five years ago my previous employer closed the doors, and I had the good fortune to wind up here.

DB: How did you get into bartending?
BD: (Smiling) I got sucked into it.

DB: Prior to bartending, what did you study or have aspirations to do?
BD: I completed most of a degree in architecture and studied classical vocal performance at the Peabody. Needless to say, it took a while for the parents to embrace my bartending over being an architect or singer.

DB: In addition to tending bar at B&O, how else are you using your skills around town?
BD: I’m involved in Farm to Chef which is a charity event that supports the goals of Days of Taste that aims to bring knowledge of food and its preparation to children in schools throughout the area. I’m also involved in the Rye’s Up fundraiser. We (the Baltimore Bartenders’ Guild) are planning the fourth year of the event that benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

DB: What trends are you in to right now?
BD: I’m infusing a lot more. One of the more recent is a coffee infused Maker’s Mark. I also like to use locally appropriate ingredients and showcase spirits from around the world.

DB: Which seasonal flavors are you excited to incorporate into cooler weather cocktails?
BD: Definitely apple and pear... and beets. It’s the time for darker cocktails.

With that, Brendan mixed up a cocktail made with ingredients like apple butter that make him “think of childhood.” The concoction, named Autumn Elixir, is made with pear brandy, Cruzan Estate Diamond Dark Rum, Ramazzotti Amaro, lemon juice, ginger syrup and apple butter. We thought the opera singing tidbit was going to be the surprise of the night from Dorr, but using apple butter in a cocktail caught us off guard too (pleasantly so, at that).

The cocktail itself  tastes like “fall in a glass,” according to Dorr, and we couldn't agree more. See below for some of the Dorr’s other cocktails using some of the darker liquors we love to sip on chilly nights.

Cat’s Pajamas
1 1/4 oz. Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin
3/4 oz. Barenjager
1/2 oz. Rhubarb Spirit
1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
2 dashes Lemon Bitters
Millstone Hopvine Cider

Build in a Collins glass with ice.  Stir gently to mix. Garnish: Lemon Wedge
 
Stout Flip
3/4 oz. Rhum J.M. VSOP
1/2 oz. Fonseca Bin 27 Port
1/4 oz. Maple Syrup
Whole Egg
1 oz. Milk Stout

Dry shake all ingredients, except the Stout, then shake with ice.  Pour 1 ounce of Stout into a Nick & Nora glass, and strain the cocktail into the glass. Garnish: Nutmeg
 
Valentino
1 1/4 oz. Cutty Pro Scotch
3/4 oz. Punt e Mes
1/2 oz. Orange Juice
1/2 oz. Fig Syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a Coupe glass. Garnish: Vermouth Soaked Fig
 
Notes: The 4th annual Rye’s Up Against Cystic Fibrosis event is March 1, 2015 from 6–9 pm. Get more info and purchase tickets here.

Interested in the Forgotten Cocktail Club? Follow them on Facebook for details and dates.

B&O American Brasserie; 2 N Charles St.; 443-692-6172

Photo via B&O American Brasserie

 


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