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Call me old-fashioned

A classic cocktail goes modern at the new Plum Bar.  

Ordering a Manhattan earns one instant cocktail cred. There’s something so very Mad Men about that blend of bourbon and sweet vermouth with a maraschino cherry floating in the glass. But ask for an old-fashioned and prepare to be branded as hopelessly out-of-date. Except at Plum Bar, where your grandmother’s favorite drink gets its props. Instead of the sugar cube called for in the classic recipe, caramel syrup sweetens a dose of High West Double Rye, and orange bitters add a citrus note. Lavender essential oil is spraved into the glass before the drink is poured. This brûléed old fashioned, as it’s called, is served over a single, crystal clear ice cube and garnished with candied fennel and a frilly fennel frond. As balanced and nuanced as a great wine, with just enough sweetness to calm the rye, it’s not a drink my grandmother would recognize, but this very contemporary old fashioned hits all the right notes for me. 2214 Broadway, Oakland, 510-444-7586