Illustration by Blair Gauntt
Somewhere, in a magical land between a Bloody Mary and a martini, exists Orchard Green’s Hot and Filthy. Simply vodka with hot pepper-infused olive juice, it breathes hope and positivity, claiming with confidence and calm: You don’t have to choose, people! Have that pure, boozy, olive heat without the trusted alcoholic brunch beverage viscosity, and live.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a delicious sangrienta de mary, but sometimes I’m just not into that “every-food-group-represented, whole-meal, possibly-even-meat-stick-in-your-glass” scenario. Sometimes — most times — I want that slow burn that travels through me like restorative, internal IcyHot.
When I’ve got a cold, I often feel as though I deserve a treat. I mean, being sick is hard. I usually avoid booze when I’m sick — a sweet cider or a thick red don’t really pop up on my craving radar when I’m feeling less than awesome. However, the Hot and Filthy is one drink I often dream of when I’m under the weather. It’s a cure-all for my sinking morale and feels absolutely divine on my throat. It even opens up the sinuses with it’s gentle crow bar of tasty heat.
I also dream about this spicy little cocktail while I’m healthy, awake or asleep. Sometimes, I just want that fancy glass full of translucent lava while I pretend-boast a cigarette holder in my free hand.
I tend to favor the downstairs of Orchard Green while I savor my piquant liquid hors d’oeuvres or after dinner palate-cleanser. The lower ceiling, dark wood paneling and comfortable stools facing an impressive nook bar make a good backdrop for my homegrown Mad Men fantasy (minus the misogyny of course). If I am sick, I’m less Breakfast at Tiffany’s and more forgot-to-shower-for-three-days, still-wearing-pajamas, which feels more acceptable in the low-key atmosphere of Orchard Green’s first level.
The Orchard offers martini specials on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, allowing you to get half-price Hot and Filthys to your heart’s content. Pair it with a burger (also on special Sunday-Thursday, 4-6 p.m.) and let your taste buds take a tour down Delectable Lane.
This, my friends, is what the fire of freedom tastes like.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 225.