A few weeks back, we headed up to Portland, Oregon for Portland Cocktail Week an amazing three day festival of drink seminars, cocktail competitions and parties! The event was put on by our friends at Lush Life Productions.
Some of the best and brightest in the cocktail world gathered for Portland Cocktail Week and it went by in a blur. We met up with old friends and made many new ones as we boned up on our cocktail education and drank a dizzying array of cocktails. We attended seminars, a bar tour of Portland and a spirit dinner that paired Scotch cocktails with meats and other sundries. We also took advantage of the incredible Portland food scene and treated ourselves to a few great meals.
Portland Cocktail Week did an great job on bartender education devoting all of Friday to providing informative and useful classes at the Jupiter Hotel. I can’t help myself so I need to take this moment to go on a tangent about how amazing the Doug Fir Restaurant and Lounge was. Seriously, it was like you took a frame from Yogi Bear’s Jellystone and brought it to life. Very cool! The classes on Friday ranged from sensory experiences to drinking myths to banging out drinks like a maniac and keeping drinks fun. The fun that evening ended with a blow out bash at Lola’s Room at the Crystal Ballroom where our favorite bartenders entertained us through song and burlesque.
On Saturday, we dragged ourselves out of bed to start the day at the relatively early time of 11 (I know but drinking seminars and parties take their toll). That day, we learned all about “broads behind the bar” put on by the feisty ladies of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails). It was an amazing seminar on the history of women in the American booze industry. If I can get my act together, I would love to explore the topic further for Women’s Month in March. We then bounced around to the party put on by San Francisco’s own Bon Vivants at the Triple Buck and then back for more seminars. After indulging in the Bon Vivants cooking, which was paired with some tasty Whiskey cocktails, we took in seminars on Eco Tiki and Irish Whiskey. We took a short break from the festivities to watch our beloved WI Badgers lose to Michigan State (and I missed a Cognac bus tour for the pleasure of watching that loss) before we headed back to the Robots versus Bartenders competition.
On Sunday, we again dragged ourselves out of bed for an action packed day. We started the day with the informative seminar on Hangover Cures. Seriously, everyone needs to know what works on a hangover – more to come on that later. While we were learning about how to cure hangovers (you really can’t), the Speed Rack competition started with a bang. Speed Rack is a women only cocktail competition started by LUPEC NY to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. The winner is crowned on speed, consistency and ability to craft an amazing cocktail! LUPEC is doing a national tour and the winners of the regional competitions will meet for a final face-off in New York next year. After watching a bit of Speed Rack, we headed upstairs to the Great American Distiller Festival, a gathering of micro-distillers (with a few bigger guys thrown in for good measure). After tippling a few artisanal spirits, we boarded a double decker bus for a tour of Portland, which we cut short in order to leave for our Scotch dinner. If that weren’t enough, we finished the evening and Portland Cocktail Week for a trip to Devil’s Point for Stripperoke. Everyone needs to experience it once.
With that, enough said!