Portland Cocktail Week: Robots vs Humans

one of the non-human "bartenders"

On Saturday, October 22, Portland Cocktail Week was the location of robots facing off with humans. Who would be the eventual master of us all?

Held at the Jupiter Hotel courtyard, the tented event featured many fine cocktails as well as nosh from a local food truck. I was most drawn to the locally  made spirits, House Spirits in Portland came up with four cocktails.

Short Circuit #2Aviation gin, Cointreau, Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur, lemon

Major Tom Collins (Coming Home) – Aviation gin, lime, simple syrup, soda

Astro Zombie– House Spirits White Dog whiskey, BG Reynolds Don’s mix, lime, simple syrup, Angostura bitters

33rd Solid StateKrogstad Aquavit, Imbue bittersweet Oregon vermouth, grapefruit juice

Major Tom Collins

Astro Zombie

I tried two of the House Spirits cocktails and my favorite was the Astro Zombie.

behold, your future bartender. No, not the people...the tubey thing

The party featured three “robot” bartenders including Cosmobot, which was shaped like a rocket ship and one that was just a bunch of tubes. I talked with guests and each firmly believed no one can beat a human on knowing what you really wanted but then conceded a machine would be more likely to measure properly all the time. Still, can they get along without human throats to drink their concoctions?

There was a competition to decide. Three human bartenders including Mathias Simonis from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who just won the Triple Buck competition/reckoning thrown by the Bon Vivants earlier in the day, Russell Davis from Rickhouse in San Francisco and master bartender Jim Romdall from Seattle all faced off against the robot Chassis.

Judges decided they liked Mathias and Russell but not over Chassis. So “it” came in first place. What?

Russell Davis- The Big Red Button (frozen Sazarac cookie) - photo courtesy of R. Davis

No way, I disagree with the judges. I had a taste of Russell Davis’ frozen cocktail, The Big Red Button, and he should have won! Ah well, he’s still a hot bartender that’s something robots can’t replace…yet.

Russell said he filled his shaker with hot water, dug into dry ice to create a cookie shaped mold. Then he poured a cognac Sazarac diluted with water into the mold. This froze it into a popsicle that was popped out after 2-1/2 minutes. He stenciled “Don’t Panic” onto the cocktail cookie with homemade cognac lemon cream.

Don’t panic. And the answer is 42.

Portland Cocktail Week


6 thoughts on “Portland Cocktail Week: Robots vs Humans

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