While technically an original recipe, at least part of the credit for this drink goes to the (sadly unknown) bartender who was working the pool party at Bisbee Pride last weekend. The poolside bar was surprisingly well-stocked, and upon arrival at the head of the line a bottle of Ketel One Oranje caught your Bartender’s eye. Asking the attendant what she recommended to go with it, she gave it a moment’s thought and said, “Cranberry juice and 7up.” And really, given that context, what kind of even halfway-adventuresome person would say no to a little experimentation?
Admittedly, the end result you see here is rather different from that first trial. For one thing, the version she poured was nearly half vodka, and tasted like it; for another, it was a bit oversweet, and lacked a certain complexity that the Bartender appreciates in a drink. However, it had potential, and looking around at the bevy of fruity types around at that moment, it seemed appropriate that the Bartender find some way to commemorate the occasion in the way its participants would most appreciate: in drink.
Bisbee Fruit Salad
1 ounce Ketel One Oranje
3/4 ounce melon liqueur
Pour orange vodka and melon liqueur over ice in rocks glass. Fill until three-quarters full with cranberry juice; top with seltzer water. Garnish with fresh raspberries and a sprig of mint.
Note: This recipe can easily be adapted for a tall glass as well; however, you may wish to increase the proportions of the alcoholic ingredients to maintain the balance of flavors.
Back when the Rebel Bartender was a teenager growing up with a teetotaling mother, her few experiences with alcohol came entirely from what she could filch from the kitchen. Teetotaler her mother may have been, but she was also a fine cook, and a moral stance against alcohol was no reason to compromise the quality of a bourbon cake with imitation spirits (hello, Jim Beam!). And of those experiences, the one that stands out most vividly was trying pure orange extract – largely because the stuff was nearly 80% alcohol (hello, scalded sinuses!).
Ketel One Oranje reminds the Bartender quite a bit of that experience, although fortunately without the deleterious effects on mucous membranes. The nose is almost completely sweet orange, with a bit of alcohol vapor in the back of the throat; the taste is an odd but pleasant sweet-bitter combination of orange juice and orange peel. And really, that’s all there is to it.
It may come as a surprise to the newly rebellious, but orange is a tricky flavor in mixology. Straight orange juice tends to overpower everything else in the drink with some alacrity – there’s a reason you rarely see it outside of screwdrivers. Triple sec, on the other hand, is usually used as an accent, and therefore tends to be fairly weak. Ketel One Oranje, whatever it lacks in complexity, does fill that middle ground nicely – you can use it to add a distinct orange note without steamrollering the other flavors. And if you happen to be making chocolate-chip cookies or a buttercream frosting, might the Bartender recommend tossing an ounce or two of this in the mix? A-