The last couple of days of Portland Cocktail Week was also jammed packed with activities. I didn’t have classes on Wednesday and Thursday but we did go on a field trip. I opted to go with Hendrick’s Gin. Some other field trips included a distillery tour at House Spirits or clay pigeon hunting with Wild Turkey.
The Hendrick’s tour bus showed up — and in true quirky Hendrick’s fashion, it was brightly painted old prison bus. Our driver was dressed as Sasquatch and that hinted at things to come. I knew we were going curling, a sport I’ve never played before but we also made a pit stop at the International Rose Test Garden. As Mark Stoddard, the Hendrick’s ambassador attempted to read us poetry, mirth in the form of a mini bear and mini Sasquatch romped behind him.
Curling it turns out was pretty fun. I don’t ice skate so I was a little wary of running around on the ice, trying to sweep and also mindful of the strange creatures flitting about. Ah, Hendrick’s. The game as I understood it was a mishmash of terms from a bunch of different sports. My team didn’t win but I was very excited I scored my team’s only point. Maybe I should practice more at my local curling club.
After curling, we hit up the Talisker Storm event held on a yacht. Plenty of Scotch was flowing and I was glad we weren’t actually moving on the water.
I tasted Talisker Storm and Talisker 10 side by side. I preferred the 10 though I thought the Storm made a good mixer — even though Storm retails for a bit more. Those who like Johnnie Walker will be familiar with this whisky. Drink Spirits explains why.
After dinner at Expatriate, we headed over to the Campari Bartenders Ball. I had attended something similar at Manhattan Cocktail Classic and was excited to see what they were going to do with Campari. It turns out they had Negroni ice cream from Salt and Straw Ice Cream. I interviewed Tyler Malek, the ice cream maker, on how difficult it was to make boozy ice cream. It turns out it was even harder since Campari has more sugar than a straight spirit. Aviation gin was used and it turns out their mix of botanicals helped dry out the mixture enabling it to freeze.
We also enjoyed a couple of cocktails; Portland Weather (Campari, Prosecco, St. Germain, grapefruit) and Fortunato (Campari, Aviation gin, Barolo Chinato, soda water). I enjoyed my Fortunato which was basically a Negroni with soda water.
Then we skipped over to Sailor Jerry’s Stick Sheets event that promised pancakes and tattoos. Everyone wanted to know what I picked out from the flash art but I think I’ll save my tattoo sessions to a tattoo parlor and not at a bar. Good on this guy for doing it though!
The last day was a big day. After brunch at Tasty & Sons, we went to the Ancho Reyes tasting at a maize maze then headed over to the Bacardi Bar Challenge. This party was followed by the big USBG party at the Jupiter Hotel. But it wasn’t over yet!
The after party was thrown by Appleton Rum at Ultralounge. Miami’s John Lermayer was one of the hosts and according to PDXers, he found the most Miami-like club to throw the bash. Actually, the irony wasn’t lost on me since John runs one of the classiest craft bars in Miami, the Regent. But we must do what Miamians do when it comes to over-the-top clubbing.
Some Bon Vivants helped out. Scott wrote the menu and Mathias Simonis from Trick Dog guest bartended.
There were sparklers. I wasn’t surprised by LA’s Zack Patterson from Bagatelle leading the charge. The ladies from Cole’s were also guest bartending. I loved all the outfits worn by Brent Falco, Zahra Bates and Cari Hah. It was 80s jazzercise meets clubbing.
It seemed like everyone was at this last party, holding on to the last hours before we meet again at the next cocktail week. Some I won’t see again until next year’s Portland Cocktail Week but I hope I see a lot sooner- say, the Golden State of Cocktails in Los Angeles in January.
© LA Cocktails // The Minty 2013