The Reverse Sazerac from Pizzeria Ortica

Burnt candied orange burst from nose to palate with strong supporting roles of anise and high acid bitter grapefruit keeping it in check.


This drink is a bit complicated, and somewhat of commitment. That being said, it manages to find an incredible balance, and batches out wonderfully for frequent use.

1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Kubler Absinthe
1/2 oz Contratto Bitter
3/4 oz Iris Liqueur
1./2 oz Stagg JR (flamed)
Orange Zest


1/2 oz Flamed Stagg Whiskey

To start, take a room temperature cocktail glass or coupe and put in 1/2 oz high proof whiskey. Peel a nice wide swath of orange as well and set it aside with the glass.


1/4 oz Kubler Absinthe

The trick is to keep the glass and the whiskey room temp or warmer to get an increasingly bigger flame, purely effect. Preheating the glass or the spirit should be reserved for lower proofs since you run the risk of shattering your glass. Certainly always hard to play that off in front of guests.


1/2 oz Contratto Bitter

Combine all ingredients in a shaker minus the whiskey, orange and fire, that comes in a second. Before you put your ice in the tin, make sure you have everything you need in reach; double strainer, Hawthorne, lighter, fire extinguisher, all that. This is for time, the glass WILL break if you let it burn too long.


3/4 oz Iris Liqueur

Add the ice and light the whiskey, place the orange peel on the rim of the glass to get it nice and toasty. Shake it up, set your Hawthorne on the tin next to your double strainer ready to go, grab the orange peel and express the oil right over the flame, dropping it in the glass as it flairs up. Immediately grab the tin and double strain over the flame to douse it out.

One key thing to look out for with this kinds of cocktail is the temperature of the rim. If your cocktail doesn’t measure all the way up to the rim, its gonna be pretty hot and someone is going to burn their lips. 

Huge shout out to my awesome team at Pizzeria Ortica, Aristotle Altstaetter and Jason Scarborough. They nailed it with this cocktail.

Thanks to OC Weekly and Gustavo Arellano for featuring this in their
Drink of the Week segment!

OC Weeky

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American Diabetes for Negroni Week at Pizzeria Ortica

Inspired by Joe Valdovinos

Mezcaal Negroni Inspired by Joe Valdovinos

Negroni Week is upon us!

Bars and restaurants across the country have pledged to take part in massive charity event formed by the Campari Group and Imbibe Magazine.

Those of us participating are donating $1 for every negroni we sell to the charity of our choice during the first week of June (2nd-8th).

  My home base, Pizzeria Ortica is donating all proceeds to the American Diabetes Association Family Retreat program. This cause is near to my heart since my little sister Stacy was diagnosed with diabetes when she was very young.

She’s been a catalyst of inner strength for me. Growing up with diabetes is no joke. Come help out by drinking negronis at Pizzeria Ortica this week.


We are featuring a myriad of Negroni variations for you to try… including the Joaniegroni, which I developed for my friend the Italian Wine Geek, Joanie Karapetian.

1 oz Nolets Gin
1 oz Giffard Pamplemousse Rose
1 oz Tempus Fugit Kina L’avion D’or

Cin Cin!!