Emily Orr moved to Halifax five years ago with no real plan.
"I just packed a bag for a week, hopped on a train and wasn't sure if I was going to move here or not. I was just checking things out," she says. "I stayed at the hostel for a little bit, fell in love with the place, found a job at the Atlantica right away and moved here. It just seemed like a city that was coming into its own. I found I fit in with a community right away, especially the service industry.
"I didn't really start seriously until two years ago," Orr says about bartending. While working as a server at Seasons in the Atlantica Hotel, she entered a Caesar competition, her first real attempt at creating her own spin on a cocktail. "I'd never done anything like it before. I ended up working with a couple of my friends in the back of house, just working on a couple of different flavours and I went up, did it and won. It was crazy."
After leaving the Atlantica, Orr worked at bars with great learning curves, Agricola Street Brasserie and The Press Gang, before moving to Field Guide, where she's been for a little over a year.
"The Brasserie was a really good opportunity for me because they were doing cocktail features every day," she says. "The Press Gang has a really, really great whiskey back bar and I was always interested in Scotch, so to have that behind me was really cool."
As a regular at Field Guide, Orr took pleasure from watching and learning from the talented bartenders who helped build the restaurant's reputation for one of the best cocktail programs in town. She picked stuff up from Jeff Van Horne, Shane Beehan and Adam MacLeod, and then slid behind the bar herself.
"I liked the interaction with people there," she says. "And I really like working with the kitchen. There's a culinary aspect of bartending that I really like, and that is a part of what works well at Field Guide. I've also worked in kitchens—prep mostly—so I really enjoy cooking and think bartending is neat. And this is the best of both worlds." a
The Horse Of A Different Colour
2 oz Jameson’s Select Reserve Black Barrel (Irish whiskey) ¾ oz Lustau Oloroso Sherry ¼ oz Benedictine 2 dashes of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters 2 dashes of Regan’s Orange bitters
Stir on ice. Strain into a Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with an orange twist.