Not only is the Big Orange Midtown bar one of the flagship bars in the city, but they also do a great job at adding creative components to every drink menu. In the past they have had science experiments, tiki parties complete with table-side ukelele serenades, premium cocktail lineups, and viewfinders to go along with a taste of 90’s nostalgia. All that to say, when we get a ping from the BO crew, we get excited.
In their latest menu, they are taking a tasting journey through the golden age of Hollywood and exploring many of the most famous films of the era in liquid form.
The journey starts with the 1957 movie Funny Face starring Audrey Hepburn and the cocktail by the same name. It plays homage to a scene with Hepburn in a smokey room. To capture that they bring smoked coffee cordial, Koch mezcal, V.S. Cognac, and Luxardo Amaretto. It gives a nutty, almond flavor with a strong hint of smoke.
Next up is Seven Samurai, based on a 1954 film of the same name considered to be one of the best samurai westerns ever created. This plays deep into Japanese culture with a sake and matcha syrup base. It adds a western spirit with the Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur. Out of all the cocktails on the list this one really brought a depth and complexity that was unexpected at every turn, just like the movie it is based on.
The menu moves on to the infamous Citizen Cane spelled with a ‘C’ rather than the traditional spelling of the 1941 Orson Wells movie Citizen Kane. That is thanks in part to the base of two different rums and Cachaça, all sugar cane spirits. This one is the slow sipping, spirit forward cocktail of the group. Perfect to warm you up a bit on cold fall days.
The Moroccan takes its name from the setting of the famous 1942 film Casablanca. It brings in a Moroccan chocolate spice syrup, brandy, and Redemption Rye whiskey. It is a nice mid-strength cocktail that sips a little heavier than expected with the chocolate syrup.
One of the most well thought out cocktails of the menu is the End of an Era. This is an homage to the 1963 movie Cleopatra that is considered to be the final film within the Golden-age era and also a film about the end of Egyptian rule. This uses a base of gin and El Dorado 3 rum, then the Egyptian references get heavy. They created a pistachio orgeat and cardomon bitters, both using key ingredients grown in the region. Then they add a house-made saline solution that is balanced to the exact salt concentration of the Red Sea. The cocktail is beautiful in concept, presentation, and taste. Cleopatra would be proud.
Finally, there is the Speakeasy Spice, named after the 1959 Marilyn Monroe movie Some Like it Hot. This is a light, fun drink that is never too series, much like Monroe herself. It uses a pisco base along with Cachaça, Rum, and a splash of Prosecco. They add a sucker to accompany the drink based on the line from Monroe about always getting the fuzzy end of a lollipop.
Along with this menu update, bartender Luiggi Uzcategui tells me they are going to shift to seasonal drink menus that will refresh four times a year. That means this menu will only be available for a short time before the winter menu rolls out, so get in and try it soon.