Back behind the stick

Carlyle Bar

This post has been a much longer time coming than I anticipated when I quit my previous job in July, but now I can finally say it: I am employed! Well, partially. I’m only working one night a week. But given the state of Portland’s restaurant scene right now and the fact that Oregon has the nation’s 6th highest unemployment rate, I’ll take what I can get.

Luckily, what I get is a pretty sweet bar. Starting next week I’ll be covering every Tuesday at the Carlyle, an upscale bar and restaurant in the northwest part of town. As bar manager Neil Kopplin described it to me when I first met him a few months ago, working here is like having a huge toybox at your disposal and the freedom to do whatever you want with it. He wasn’t kidding. Pictured above is our giant wall of whiskey and spirits, which doesn’t include the two shelves below it, the well, or the big cabinet full of bottles behind the bar.* Notice also that there’s no ladder, so reaching the high shelves requires a bit of monkey-like climbing. If you ever want to tick me off at work come in and keep changing your mind about which top shelf liquor you’d like after I get them down.

Neil has put together an excellent cocktail list with an emphasis on quality spirits and fresh ingredients. Below is my current favorite on the menu, the Envy:

Carlyle -- Envy

.5 oz Marteau absinthe
.75 oz green Chartreuse
1 oz Meyer lemon juice
.25 oz lavender syrup
.25 oz honey syrup

Shake over ice and strain into a Martini glass, topping with a bit of soda. Even though it has just a little over an ounce of spirits in it, they’re overproof, flavorful, and strong enough to stand up to the citrus. The Marteau is an excellent new absinthe distilled right here in Portland; it’s wonderful on its own and contributes pure herbal deliciousness to this cocktail.

I’ll be behind the bar Tuesdays from 4:00 to close, which is generally between 9:30 and 10. Happy hour prices on the bar menu run until 6:30. I’m having a great time mixing drinks professionally again, so come in sometime to say hi and enjoy a tasty beverage.

*Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the left-most column is actually a reflection, not a shelf. But that’s still a lot of spirits!


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