Portland Cocktail Week just wrapped up its fourth and very successful year a few weeks ago. I attended in 2011 and was very sorry I missed it last year. I committed to a full week of learning and was amazed how organized this year was. The theme was education. This year, bartenders got to choose majors including Product Development, Beyond the Bar, Bar Ownership and Advance Craft Bartending. There were events, parties, classes, field trips and competitions. And taking the theme even further, there was an all-school assembly, ID cards and you had to get notes from the nurse if you missed a class!
This year’s PDXCW began on Saturday evening for me. After dinner at Lincoln, we took a 5-minute walk over to one of the first events held at Interurban for That Time of the Month, a charity bartending event featuring Brooke Arthur (House Spirits‘ Aviation Gin), LA’s Jill Webster (Harvard & Stone) and Jackie Patterson (Solerno Blood Orange liqueur) as well as Lillet and Del Maguey Mezcal. It was great to see what appeared to be around 500 people at this small bar. Luckily I was able to escape upstairs. Later in the week, I would see it’s actually not as tiny as I thought and the patio is very nice.
We eventually went a couple doors down to Moloko and then called it an early night because the next day was going to be a long but fun day.
First we saw everyone at the Jupiter Hotel for Swig & Swine, the stellar pork-fest put out by the Bon Vivants. After paying admission which included all-you-could-eat food and drink, a snazzy t-shirt and just the sheer joy with being with pals; old and new. Quite a few people came in this day and it was nice to meet folks from around the country. Bartenders from Lexington, Detroit, Orlando, Atlanta, Austin, New York and so many other places in between mingled today enjoying the live music and a game of horseshoes.
I’d like to see the Go Pro video footage of the punch being served but the memories of being there are probably better. If Pig and Punch or Swig and Swine come to a cocktail week near you, go to it. It’s always one of the best events for me.
After Swig and Swine, we headed out to House Spirits for the Aviation Gin party. The theme? America.
House Spirits Brand Supporter and LA bartender Kiowa Bryan from The Eveleigh served Sunset Boulevard (Aviation gin, Krogstad aquavit, lemon, pineapple, pistachio lavender orgeat). Kiowa made the orgeat in LA and brought it to Portland. I thought that was pretty amazing in itself. I also really loved her comment, “coming in orgeat!” as opposed to the traditional “coming in hot.” No one will ever mispronounce orgeat “orgeet” again.
But what you need to know is it’s a pretty great drink. I would love to see this again on The Eveleigh’s farmer market’s menu at some point.
That. Kiddie Pool Punch Bowl. Amazing! I need this for the next pool party. Or make it a beach party indoors like Aviation Gin did.
Desert Diablo Punch – Aviation gin, lime, prickly pear syrup, ginger beer
Across from the Arizona table was New York. Ladies dressed up like the Statue of Liberty served the Liberty Sour (Aviation gin, spiced wine syrup, lemon, Angostura bitters).
I also tried the Real Wild Child (Aviation gin, coconut cream, lime, honey syrup, soda water). I loved this drink. And the cool American flag cocktail umbrella ended up in a lot of Bartender Yearbook pictures.
At the same time, the 86 Co had a party at The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel. I swung by just in time for a Negroni.
Bartenders from LA’s Cole’s took over Huber’s, one of Portland’s oldest restaurants. I hadn’t been to Huber’s before and I was amazed how similar the wooden bar seemed to Cole’s. Brent Falco, Cari Hah, Zahra Bates and David Delaney, Jr did an excellent job with the drinks. The bar take-over was sponsored by Angostura so we got to try drinks with both their rums and bitters.
As a special treat, Brent Falco brought along Cole’s pickle juice to go with the Angostura shots. Now I want an atomic pickle.
Next time I’m in Portland, I’ll have to get the Spanish Coffee from Huber’s. It looked pretty amazing.
There were two other bar take overs that night with Zig Zag from Seattle with Zwack and Del Maguey had a party as well. But I wanted to go see Pouring Ribbons from New York at Rum Club. In particular I wanted to see Joaquin Simo, named American Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail a couple years back.
I managed to try one cocktail before it was time to move on– yes, it was a long, long day and night. When I’m next in New York, I know I want to go to Pouring Ribbons.
What’s the best thing about the end of one party? The start of another! We headed back to the Jupiter to see Charlie Papaceno from Windmill Lounge in Dallas. He dubbed his bar pop-up the Windmill West! The late night was sponsored by Four Roses and House Spirits.
Charlie embodies hospitality. I had just gotten poutine from Potato Champion and he immediately made a cocktail to pair with it. What a nice way to wind down the evening. I’ve never been to Dallas but Windmill Lounge is at the top of my list.
© LA Cocktails // The Minty 2013