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Geek This Week: Brendan Dorr, head bartender at B&O American Brasserie [VIDEO]

Brendan Dorr. Photo credit: Scott Suchman This is Technically Baltimore’s Geek This Week, a new, regular series highlighting the work of under-covered “geeks” in the Baltimore region. Innovation in Baltimore needs new faces, so it’s worth finding them in new places. Brendan Dorr is not your standard coding or comic books geek, but if you […]

Brendan Dorr. Photo credit: Scott Suchman
This is Technically Baltimore’s Geek This Week, a new, regular series highlighting the work of under-covered “geeks” in the Baltimore region.
Innovation in Baltimore needs new faces, so it’s worth finding them in new places.
Brendan Dorr is not your standard coding or comic books geek, but if you knew half about mixing drinks as he does, you’d probably geek out every time you opened a new bottle of liquor. Dorr is head bartender at B&O American Brasserie downtown, and he explains a bit about tending bar for our Geek This Week series.

Age/Sex/Location: 33/male/Mount Vernon
Tell us about a cool project you’re working on: 
Barrel-aging cocktails is one fun thing we are just starting at B&O American Brasserie. We have started with a classic called a Boulevardier. It comprises bourbon, Campari, and Antic Formula sweet vermouth. So what we do to barrel-age this cocktail is build it in a large container, then funnel it into a 5-liter barrel. We allow it to sit for four to six weeks gaining flavors of smoke, vanilla, woody-notes and much more. We filter it out of the barrel and it is ready to serve. In the near future we are planning on expanding the barrel-aged cocktail program by having up to six different barrel-aged cocktails available for guests and cocktail enthusiasts.
What does an average day at work look like for you? 
Well, even when I’m not at B&O, I am always working. I founded the Baltimore Bartenders’ Guild a couple of years ago. We are a collective group of craft bartenders that are working to elevate the craft bar scene here in Baltimore. One upcoming event we are hosting is “Rye’s Up Against Cystic Fibrosis.” BBG bartenders are participating in a monthlong celebration of rye whiskey and then will participate in the charitable event on Feb. 24 (tickets can be purchased through missiontix.com). I also do bar and restaurant consultations, I co-host a pop-up bar called the Forgotten Cocktail Club that shows up randomly around town every other month, and I always have the odd side bar-gig of special events. Then, I actually go to B&O and tend bar. At B&O, I make custom syrups and cordials, and juice fresh citrus daily for cocktails. That’s before the real fun begins when guests arrive and we get to shake, stir and mix delicious libations for them.
Watch Brendan Dorr mix The Cádizian, one of B&O’s featured cocktails:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xjCc9h2A_E&w=550&h=413]
Tell us about a workplace tradition or company culture at B&O. Anything special your team does together? 
We don’t really have many workplace traditions, but whenever we roll out a new cocktail menu, I always come in and do a tasting for the staff. I’ll give them the background on how the drinks were conceived, what they’d pair well with on the menu, what’s unique about the ingredients and so on.
What’s a lesson you’ve learned from your time as a mixologist that’s applicable to people not tending bar? 
My biggest lesson learned is that it takes all types to make the world go round. I am generally a Type A person. I constantly need to have my plate overloaded with things and I want to do it all myself. I cannot say “no” to anyone and I am a perfectionist when it comes to work-related tasks. Over the years, I have learned patience, that people do things in many different ways, and that it can take many people to accomplish one goal. I have really enjoyed working with my colleagues behind the B&O bar to create several of the cocktails on our menus.
Can you recommend someone—not from your industry—in the Baltimore scene that we should know about?
Craig Martin, owner of Quinntessential Gentleman. That place is definitely cool and has its own geekiness about it.
A contact for readers who might want to reach out: Contact through the Baltimore Bartenders’ Guild.

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