Johnny’s Fire & Berry Old Fashioned
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The Tractor Room

3687 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest

(No longer in business.)

According to bartender Faith Taylor, the Tractor Room offers high-quality cocktails with a low-altitude attitude.

“It’s kind of like Manhattan meets Montana,” she says.

But if the restaurant tries not to take itself too seriously, words apparently aren’t enough to express how serious it is about tractors.

Faith Taylor

Faith Taylor

“We have tractor photographs and tractor paintings with all different brands of tractors represented,” she says. “The signage here is small, but you know the place is the Tractor Room because there’s a huge antique tractor sitting out front.”

As for the fierce contentions of the tractor wars — John Deere vs. International Harvester vs. Farmall vs. Case vs. Oliver vs. Ford vs. Allis-Chalmers vs. Massey-Ferguson vs… — Taylor declares ambivalence.

“Well, let’s just say I’m an equal-opportunity tractor advocate,” she says with a laugh.

And it’s not just tractors pulling in the crowds, Taylor says — as the Tractor Room’s cocktail menu also demonstrates some considerable torque of its own. For instance, reliable as a three-point hitch on an old Ford-Ferguson, Johnny’s Fire & Berry Old Fashioned is nothing but sweet burn in a glass.

Created by Tractor Room co-owner Johnny Rivera, the tractor-red cocktail’s “Berry” comes from the mulled raspberries, Taylor explains, while caramelized cara cara oranges and Buffalo Trace bourbon lend the drink its “fire.”

“You’re definitely going to taste the bourbon, which is very direct,” Taylor says of the Fire & Berry’s point of ignition, and the torched cara caras and raspberries “add a viscosity” that is both pleasant and surprising.

“By themselves, cara caras are sweet, juicy, and bright,” Taylor says. “But once they’re caramelized, they offer a rich variation by releasing natural oils when you add heat to the peel and pulp.”

How to make it

In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle:

  • • 4 quarters of a cara cara orange dusted with fine sugar and caramelized*
  • • 4 fresh raspberries
  • • 1 sugar cube
  • • 3 dashes Boker’s Bitters

Fill glass with ice and add:

2 oz. Buffalo Trace bourbon

Top off with soda water and garnish with a pair of raspberries and a cara cara orange slice.

*propane or brûlée torch required

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