Here’s a sneak preview of a porter I’m brewing in collaboration with the extremely talented Ben Edmunds at Breakside Brewing. Keep an eye out for its release in December!
Today at Drink Portland, I’ve posted a guide to the city’s few remaining cigar bars. There are only eight of them, so click through if you’re looking for a place to escape the rain with a cigar and a drink. Since Oregon’s smoking ban only exempts bars that can demonstrate cigar sales from 2006, it’s essentially illegal to open a new cigar bar. These eight are all we have and all there will be. An update to the law a couple years later also capped the number of tobacco shops that can allow smoking.
Ban advocates predicted that Oregon’s law would drastically reduce the rate of heart attacks in the state. As I noted in the Oregonian, that never came to pass.
Pre-ban, my favorite place to have a cigar in Oregon was the Horse Brass Pub. My ode the Horse Brass is here. It’s still a great bar, but you can’t light up there anymore.
Blue drinks are back, at least ironically. As Camper English wrote this summer:
Blue drinks have long been a mixologists’ in-joke. When bartenders were getting serious about pre-Prohibition cocktails about five years ago, jet-setting New Zealand bartender Jacob Briars invented the Corpse Reviver Number Blue, a piss-take on the sacrosanct classic Corpse Reviver #2 that was enjoying a major comeback.
Since then, he and other bartenders have been practicing “sabluetage”—spiking the drinks of unwitting victims with blue curaçao when no one is looking. The forbidden liqueur can now be found on the menus of a few of the world’s best cocktail bars, including Jasper’s Corner Tap in San Francisco, PDT in New York City (where it’s mixed with other unfashionable ingredients, such as Frangelico and cream), and London’s Artesian Bar (winner of the World’s Best Hotel Bar award this week), where a new blue drink—called Blue Lagoon—also features Sprite and bubble tea.
I’ve had my own run-ins with blue drinks, including a publisher who put a blue cocktail on the cover of my recipe guide despite my objections and an off-menu Mad Dog Blue Raspberry and aquavit cocktail we served for a while at Metrovino (it was actually pretty good!). Most blue cocktails get their coloration from blue curacao. But there’s another way to do it…
Vaccari Nero is a black sambuca that’s part of the Bols portfolio. I didn’t work with it for a long time because it wasn’t available in Oregon, but on road trips to other states I found that it had the potential to become an enthusiastically embraced spirit. This is in part because it’s a quality sambuca: It’s named after Arturo Vaccari, the creator of Galliano, and gets its extracts and distillates from the same source. It’s also in part due to its rich color, which despite its name is not black, but rather a very deep midnight blue. Mixed in cocktails, it adds a strong anise kick and striking hue.
I’m just beginning to explore the possibilities of this spirit in cocktails. My favorite so far comes from Erik Trickett, barman at the forthcoming Roe Restaurant and Fish Market in Long Beach, California. The drink he came up with is basically a Ramos Gin Fizz substituting Vaccari Nero for gin. Trading sambuca for gin is a counterintuitive stroke of genius that shouldn’t work yet somehow does, resulting in the lovely robin egg colored drink above. And since this drink needs a name, let’s go ahead and call it a Robin’s Egg (a.k.a. the Samblueca Fizz):
1 1/2 oz Vaccari Nero
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz cream
1 egg white
coffee bean, for garnish
Add the sambuca, lemon, genever, simple syrup, cream, and egg white to a shaker. Dry shake to aerate, then add ice and shake again. Give it a good, long, hard shake. Strain into a glass, preferably a champagne flute if you have a tall one. Let the foam settle and top with soda. Finish by grating a bit of coffee bean on top, a nod to the traditional “con mosca” way of serving sambuca.
Vaccari Nero is finally available in Oregon, so I’m looking forward to seeing what local bartenders end up doing with it. To kick things off, I’ll be guest bartending at Portland’s new Italian spot Bar alla Bomba this Thursday, November 29, from 7-10 pm with a menu of cocktails featuring Vaccari Nero, Galliano L’Autentico, and Galliano Ristretto, including the drink above. Come on by to try it out.
After more than three years of running Thesis, I’ve given the site a long overdue design update and switched to the Genesis framework. Aside from finally enabling threaded comments, most of the changes are just aesthetic for now. Stay tuned, however, for the likely addition of new sections and more frequent updates. (And if you’re reading this via RSS, click over to check out the new site.)
To kick off the new design, I’m giving away a few books. Publisher Scout Books from Portland, Oregon, recently invited me to contribute to a new series of pocket recipe guides called The Cocktail Hour, launching with a trio devoted to rum, gin, and vodka. The books include recipes from me and many other West Coast bartenders and bloggers, including Camper English, Sue Erickson, Jordan Felix, Lauren Fitzgerald, Brian Gilbert, Ricky Gomez, Tommy Klus, Tom Lindstedt, Junior Ryan, Mike Shea, Daniel Shoemaker, and David and Lesley Solmonson, among others.
The books retail for $12 a set and would make a great stocking stuffer. For this contest, I’ll randomly pick winners for the following prizes:
First prize (one winner) — A complete set of The Cocktail Hour: Rum, Gin, and Vodka, plus a copy of my out of print recipe guide from 2010, The Cocktail Collective.
Second prize (two winners) — A complete set of The Cocktail Hour: Rum, Gin, and Vodka.
To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post, one comment per person. I’ll randomly select winners from the list of comments around noon on Wednesday, November 28, 2012.
Update 11/12/2008: The contest is now closed. Winners announced here. Thanks to everyone who entered!
If you’re in Portland, you’ve had all summer to watch magic for free at First Thursdays and Last Thursdays. Now my frequent performing Grey Lerner and I are taking the show indoors. Good news: Indoors there’s a full bar! Bad news: Now you’ve gotta buy tickets. Fortunately tickets are only 10 bucks for a full night of entertainment that includes music, art, photography, fashion, and entertainment from an eclectic group of local creative talent. Plus you’ll be helping out your friends, as this is a great professional opportunity for us. We’d love to have your support at the October showcase and we each need to sell a few tickets. The show is October 18 from 8 pm to midnight at the Bossanova Ballroom in Portland, Oregon.
In the note below, Grey explains what this is all about, as does the video above. We hope to see you at Bossanova in a couple weeks!
To all my Friends,
I’ve got a great opportunity for some publicity, and I would sure appreciate your help. Publicity for what!? For my ongoing career as a magician!
A national organization called Raw ‘Natural Born Artists’ hosts a night of Art, Music, Fashion, and Performance Art once a month here is Portland at the BossaNova Club.
The venue is a great chance for some publicity and experience. I’m obliged to sell tickets to the show (no free lunch…damn), and they are $10 bucks each. I would greatly appreciate it if you’d support me and my artistic endeavors!
Please click away on the link to my Rawartists.org page. Once there you can choose (if you’d be so cool) to purchase a ticket to the show. The essentials are taken care of: There’s a bar, there’ll be art, music, and interesting people. I would love to do some magic for you.
My buddy Jacob Grier and I will be wowing the crowd with close up and stand up magic to mystify and astonish. We were performing street magic at a local street fair here in town when the Raw talent scout ‘found us’. Perhaps this’ll be our next big break. Please try and make it to the party, and we’ll try to blow your mind.
If buying a ticket isn’t in the cards (oy!) then maybe you’d take a quick sec to click on the link anyway and continue clicking on the “Vote Now” button above the picture of me (everything is a competition). If I win, I’ll share the million dollar prize with you!
Denver: I’ll be back in Colorado this week to do some work for Bols in Aspen and Denver. While there I’ll be doing a guest bar shift at the Coupe Bar at Denver’s Ghost Plate and Tap. The event runs from 5-10 pm on Wednesday with cocktails featuring Bols Genever, Galliano L’Autentico, and Damrak Gin.
Portland: It’s that time, you guys. That time when I turn 30. A time to reflect on how I should take some responsibility in life and get a real job and stop drinking out of animal bones and wonder how I let my youth escape so easily. Or, alternatively, a time to drink awesome beer and sip excellent rum and smoke great cigars. Yes, let’s go with the latter.
My 30th birthday is this Thursday, July 12, and I’ve planned some fun events for the night. We’re going to kick things off at Breakside Brewing, where we’ll be tapping a beer brewed for just this occasion. Brewmaster Ben Edmunds has created several cocktail-inspired beers in the past and for this event we wanted to make a beer inspired by the Harvey Weissbanger beer cocktail, which was in turn inspired by the classic Harvey Wallbanger. That’s a weird lineage for a beer but we have high hopes for it. We made a traditional German hefeweizen and are going to spice it with many of the same flavor notes found in the Weissbanger cocktail, including orange peel, star anise, and vanilla. (All references to “we” really just mean Ben, as he did all the hard work of creating and executing a recipe while I just lifted, poured, and cleaned stuff.) This will run from 6 pm to at least 8 pm.
I’m not sure where we’ll go after that but there’s no better place to end the night than at Rum Club. Starting around 11 and going till close I’ll be there for cigars and rum on the patio. Blue drinks may happen. Galliano bottles may be emptied. You won’t know if you don’t show. I hope to see you there!
New Orleans: On Wednesday, July 25, from 6-9 pm, I’ll be behind the bar at Avenue Pub. I’ll be mixing drinks but if you want to take a break from cocktails, this is the spot: This two-story pub on St. Charles Avenue is one of the best beer bars in the country.
Then on Thursday, July 26, is the big Brewing Up Cocktails Spirited Dinner at Emeril’s Delmonico Steakhouse, held in association with Tales of the Cocktail and sponsored by El Dorado Rum and Drambuie. The dinner will feature four courses from Chef Spencer Minch paired with four original beer cocktails. Tickets and full menu are available here.
Drink Portland, the latest addition to the Drink Nation family of sites, is launching this week. I’m among the writers for the new site and our launch party is this Wednesday from 6-9 pm at the Mellow Mushroom. I’ll be there with a bowl of Bols Genever punch and there are some great beers lined up too:
On the bar will be a firkin of Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout, a very limited release from the California brewery that is partially aged in bourbon barrels and carries a very rich, roasty flavor.
Other special tappings during the event will include The Stoic from Deschutes, a Belgian-style quad aged in rye whiskey and wine casks (we’re bringing the strong flavors!), plus Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA, also from Firestone (for the hops lovers out there).
One dollar from all punch and beer sales will go to Portland-based nonprofit CreativeCares. For all the details and to RSVP, visit here.
With Cinco de Mayo coming up, Thrillist Portland ran a feature today featuring Portland’s five best Margaritas. I was flattered to learn that the plantain margarita I made for Mi Mero Mole made the cut. Their photo is above; if you’d like to make one at home the recipe is fairly simple:
2 oz reposado tequila
3/4 oz lime juice
3/4 oz spiced plantain syrup
Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. The recipe for the spiced plantain syrup is here. For one more drink from Mi Mero Mole, try the Senor Brown. Or even better, visit the restaurant for more cocktails and some of the best tacos in town.
Last week the Specialty Coffee Association of America hosted its annual conference here in Portland. While in town for the event, Joshua Lurie from FoodGPS stopped into Metrovino to have a few cocktails and record a fairly wide-ranging interview with me. Read it here. He also snagged an interview with one of my favorite local brewers, Ben Edmunds from Breakside.
Finally, Portland Monthly got on board with the Bone Luge trend with a piece about the meaty practice. They take the Bone Luge puns to new heights with their headline “Marrow Minded.”
Tuesday was Tax Day and our local FOX affiliate KPTV invited me into the studio to make viewers a Tax Day cocktail. Since taxes make me want to bang my head against the wall, this seemed the perfect time to present the Harvey Weissbanger. I don’t have tiny hands, Galliano bottles are just really big. (It’s a good thing there weren’t any wardrobe malfunctions…) Watch the clip here; autoplay warning!
Among other changes, Metrovino is now open for brunch on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm. This has given me the opportunity to put my barista skills back into practice. I’m not quite where I used to be, but the latte art is coming along nicely.
I didn’t expect to get excited about brunch or brunch cocktails, but making a morning drink menu turned out to be surprisingly fun. Our most unusual cocktail is an East Indies Bloody Mary, made with Batavia Arrack, fish sauce, and a blend of Indonesian spices, then garnished with house pickles and a whole prawn. It sounds crazy but it’s selling just as much as our classic vodka Bloody Mary. Here’s our full brunch cocktail menu:
classic bloody mary 8
east indies bloody mary 11
batavia arrack, tomato juice, indonesian spices, prawn
quick little pick me up 7
espresso-infused ramazzotti, lemon twist, rocks
harvey weissbanger 9
boulevard wheat beer, galliano, orange juice
sherry cobbler 7
manzanilla sherry, orange, sugar, nutmeg
sparkling wine cocktails 8
The Ice Cream Bar opened Jan. 21 in the Cole Valley neighborhood — an homage to the classic parlors of the 1930s, complete with vintage soda fountain and lunch counter seating. It has become an immediate sensation, packed with both families and the foodie crowd, savoring upscale house-made ice creams and exotic sodas (flavorings include pink peppercorn and tobacco). The shop also employs 14 full- and part-time workers.
But getting it opened wasn’t easy.
“Many times it almost didn’t happen,” said Juliet Pries, the owner, with a cheerful laugh.
Ms. Pries said it took two years to open the restaurant, due largely to the city’s morass of permits, procedures and approvals required to start a small business. While waiting for permission to operate, she still had to pay rent and other costs, going deeper into debt each passing month without knowing for sure if she would ever be allowed to open. [...]
Ms. Pries said she had to endure months of runaround and pay a lawyer to determine whether her location (a former grocery, vacant for years) was eligible to become a restaurant. There were permit fees of $20,000; a demand that she create a detailed map of all existing area businesses (the city didn’t have one); and an $11,000 charge just to turn on the water.
At the end of 2011, confectioner Amani Greer started spinning sugar into cotton candy at schools across the city, as well as on the streets of Alberta during Last Thursdays. Then, in February, she opened the doors to Candy Babel, a candy store dedicated to sweets from around the globe. Her goal, she says, is to provide those obscure treats that so many travelers have enjoyed on their sojourns abroad but couldn’t, until now, find stateside. Specializing in artisanal sweets (think chipotle-candied bacon strips or a Moroccan mint tea lollipop) and European confections, Greer plans to expand her candy scope and bring the city’s Vietnamese and Somali communities the candies they once enjoyed as children before resettling here. Greer also says she still plans on spinning clouds of Candy Babel’s more than 135 flavors of organic, kosher cotton candy. Current hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily, except on Tuesday when the store is dark.
Last week The Weekly Standard ran a story by former Oregonian Mark Hemingway titled “Insufferable Portland,” a lengthy screed against the new “capital of cool.” Though sneering at times, it’s worth reading. The city’s much-lauded public transit, for example, deserves a much more critical look than it often receives locally. And he’s right that this is a tough place to move to if you’re young, educated, and looking for a traditional professional career; I’ve watched many friends become justifiably frustrated by the lack of job prospects. However Hemingway fails to appreciate some of the virtues of the artisanal economy that flourishes here:
While it’s hard not to root for entrepreneurial initiative wherever you find it, in Portland it carries a whiff of desperation. I submit that the real reason Portland has a thriving artisanal economy is that the regular economy is in the dumps. Portland’s hipsters are starting craft businesses in their garages and opening restaurants not merely because they “reject passive consumption” but because they can’t find jobs, the kind that offer upward mobility. If there’s a more rational reason why a small city like Portland has 671 food trucks, I’d love to hear it.
Given the lack of critical attention to the city, I guess it falls to me to state the obvious: Portland is quietly closing in on San Francisco as the American city that has most conspicuously taken leave of its senses.
And yet smart, creative people keep voting with their feet in favor of Portland. Why? It can’t be just about the beer.
Hemingway quotes from “Portlandia” that Portland is “where young people go to retire.” It’s one of the most incisive lines from the show, but they don’t necessarily mean the kind of retirement where you sit on the porch all day and do nothing. It’s the kind where, after decades of working an unsatisfying job, you finally have time to pursue your passions. Or at least it can be. Again from the show:
“I gave up clowning years ago.”
“Well in Portland you don’t have to.”
I recently read Tim Harford’s new book Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, and was struck by how well the ideas he lays out apply to Portland. Harford lists three Palchinsky Principles named after Peter Palchinsky, an engineer executed by the Soviet government for questioning their top-down methods of planning:
1. Seek out new ideas and try new things.
2. When trying something new, do it on a scale where failure is survivable.
3. Seek out feedback and learn from your mistakes as you go along.
One of the best things Portland has going for it is its embrace of the first and second principles. “Keep Portland Weird” say the bumper stickers. “Buy local.” This isn’t always insufferable hipness. The virtue of these attitudes is that if you’re an entrepreneur or an artist, you can try something different and people will at least give you a hearing.
Granted, many of these ideas will suck. That’s where principle two comes in. Whatever its flaws, Portland’s love of small, boutique start-ups makes failure survivable. A failed food cart is a smaller loss than a failed brick-and-mortar restaurant. This lowers the barriers to entry for people without access to a lot of capital. It’s a great way to test ideas and identify talent. The successes can expand into more traditional businesses.
A great example of this is Pok Pok, a Thai restaurant that began as a take-out shack in front of chef Andy Ricker’s house in southeast Portland in 2005. Today Ricker is a James Beard Award-winning chef with multiple restaurants in Portland and New York. Other entrepreneurs echo this success on a smaller scale, moving to brick-and-mortars, expanding their cart empire, or signing book deals.
This low-risk aspect of Portland is what attracted me to it when I moved here from the East Coast a few years ago. The food and drink scenes in San Francisco and Seattle were equally attractive, but the costs of moving to either of them without a job or a specific plan for finding one were daunting. In Portland, failure was survivable: It took me six months to become employed full-time, but the dynamic culture has allowed me to do creative work and almost (though not quite yet) turn it into a profitable career while living pretty comfortably. This required some degree of luck, but it’s hard to imagine things working out quite so well in San Francisco.
This is the upside of Portland’s unique culture and what other cities could do well to emulate (as opposed to, say, our streetcar projects, which are glamorous wastes of money). I may or may not stay here much longer, pursuing larger paychecks and sunnier winters in a bigger city. But as a place to spend a few years of my twenties developing talent and drinking fantastic beer, I’ve found Portland eminently sufferable.
[Photo of Nong's Khao Man Gai, one of my favorite Portland food carts, which has now expanded to three locations. Courtesy of Flickr user camknows.]
I’m back from a week on the road (Chicago, New Orleans, Baltimore, and DC) and while I was gone some fun stuff happened, the most fun being this FOX 12 news segment about the Bone Luge. Stephanie Kralevich came into Metrovino to find out what this Bone Luge craze is all about. See also cameo appearances by Metrovino’s owner Todd Steele and local curmudgeon John the Bastard.
In other Bone Luge news, e*starLA gives it a try and declares it delicious, Ludivine continues to spread the love to the uninitiated in Oklahoma City, and JBird in New York will give you the tequila for free with your order of marrow.
In this month’s Los Angeles Times Magazine, Camper English writes about bars making smoky cocktails. The Smokejumper from Metrovino made the list. Fittingly, that’s a drink I came up with while at a friend’s place in LA.
Finally, the Washingtonian wrote up our Bols event in DC, where we hosted the launch of our Stillwater Ales collaboration at the amazing Jack Rose. The Kopstootje should continue to be available next week at one my favorite DC restaurants, Brasserie Beck, where they also made my day by putting the Harvey Weissbanger on the cocktail menu.
Apparently there is some kind of sporting event happening this Sunday. Thrillist Portland invited Jeff McCarthy from TenTop/Kitchen Cru, Janis Martin from Tanuki, and me and the Brewing Up Cocktails team to contribute a few recipes for readers’ Super Bowl gatherings. We all managed to make things just a little bit weird: a fermented beef sausage from Janis, Doritios encrusted wings from Jeff, and a gin, IPA, and Galliano punch from us. Any host that makes all three of these is guaranteed to have a memorable party.
Visit Thrillist for all three recipes. Here’s the punch:
2 12 oz bottles IPA or pale ale, chilled
6 oz gin
6 oz orange liqueur
3 oz lime juice
2 oz Galliano
1/2 cucumber, sliced
Combine ingredients in a punch bowl, add ice, and serve. Some dilution is beneficial here so if you’re using a large ice block consider adding a few smaller cubes as well. We didn’t want to call for specific brands in the Thrillist post, but in my own testing I used Damrak for the gin, Mandarine Napoleon for the orange liqueur, and Full Sail IPA for the beer. I like this combination but feel free to make substitutions.
This Bone Luge thing is getting out of control! The new issue of New York Magazine ranks the Bone Luge on its weekly Approval Matrix, declaring it slightly highbrow and mostly despicable.
K103 reporter Felicia Heaton has a friendlier take on the topic. She stopped into Metrovino for her first taste of marrow and followed it up with a madeira Bone Luge, declaring both delicious. Watch the video below and click over to K103 for the full story.
2012 is becoming the year of the Bone Luge even faster than I’d anticipated. The official Bone Luge Tumblr blog is taking submissions. Metrovino has Bone Luge pairing suggestions on the menu. In Denver, Tim Tebow fever has led to T-Boning, taking a Manhattan cocktail down a bone while assuming the Tebow position. And today Tasting Table picked up the story, introducing the Bone Luge to a sometimes skeptical world.
For the record, credit for taking the very first Bone Luge that I’m aware of goes to Danny Ronen on a night when he and I were enjoying copious amounts of tequila at Laurelhurst Market. It started as a joke, spread to the dining room via Twitter, and is now hitting the big time.
Ultimately, the Bone Luge is about increasing happiness in the world. Read the manifesto here. Above: Things get even sillier at Irvington Bierstube with the crab leg luge, paired with a late harvest riesling.
It’s that time of year again: Brewing Up Cocktails returns this Saturday, December 10, for our second annual Holiday Edition. This time we’re serving our biggest menu of beer cocktails ever, including three of them served hot to warm you up on a winter night. We’re bringing back a classic wassail, the ever popular and nearly impossible to find Hot Scotchy, and the brand new Hot Choklat made with rum, Galliano Ristretto, and a heated up glass of the incredibly rich Southern Tier Choklat stout. We’ll also feature a couple favorites from bartenders outside of Portland: the Euclidean 75 from Denver’s Ryan Conklin and the Tradewinds Punch from Washington, DC’s Jon Harris. All that and an ugly holiday sweater contest too.
The event is Saturday from 6-9 pm at The Hop and Vine. Don’t miss it!
A couple months ago I was contacted by Nick Zukin, local restaurateur and founder of the PortlandFood.org web forum, about a new Mexican place he had in the works. His Mi Mero Mole opened last week selling tacos de guisado, a style of taco less familiar in the US than the grilled meats found at most taquerias. Here’s how he explains it in a Portland Monthly interview:
I was familiar with tacos de guisado—or at least guisados—prior to my trips to Mexico City. Guisados or guisos are Mexican stews and stir-fries. Many large Mexican supermarkets and carnicerias (Mexican butchers and meat markets) will carry some in the United States, and a decent number of taquerias have one or two. One of my favorite places in PDX, Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon out on the edge of Gresham, specializes in them. But it wasn’t until I went to Mexico City that I realized the variety of guisados available or realized how strong a tradition there was for places devoted to them.
Guisados feature more prominently in Mexico City than any other place I’ve been in Mexico. I think it’s because guisados are really home cooking-style dishes. The people in DF, like other very urban cities, probably don’t cook at home as often and so these fondas and puestos serving a variety of home cooking probably sprung up. I rarely have seen a street stand elsewhere, even in large cities like Puebla and Guadalajara, selling tacos de guisados like they do in Mexico City. Some of my favorite stands in DF sell a dozen or more choices. Other than Super Cocina in San Diego, I don’t know of any place in the United States that really offers the type of variety you would see in Mexico City.
One of the things that will set Mi Mero Mole apart, even from really good places like de Leon, will be the variety. I already have several dozen recipes developed and expect to rotate through* 50 to 100 different guisados* in the first year. I’m focusing on dishes that are common in Mexico that you don’t see here enough and interesting dishes that you would really only find in Mexico—and a lot of those dishes are vegetarian and vegan.
This was a new style of taco for me, and having now tried about a dozen of the guisados I am a fan. I’m even ordering some of the vegetarian dishes, which if you know me at all is a pretty solid endorsement.
Mi Mero Mole is all about the tacos, but the place does have a liquor license, which is where I came in. Nick asked me to help select the spirits and create a few cocktails. We were guided by two considerations on this. One was that all of the cocktails would be made with only agave or sugar cane based spirits. The second was that the drinks should all be relatively easy to execute, so that they can be made quickly by multi-tasking staff.
Among the drinks we came up with are the Maldonado Punch, a refreshing mixture of tequila, hibiscus, grapefruit, and other ingredients; El Chingroni, our take on the Negroni with tequila, Aperol, and sweet vermouth; and the Plantain Margarita, which substitutes spiced plantain syrup for the orange liqueur. However my favorite drink on the menu is a last-minute addition we came up with, the Señor Brown:
1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
Sidral Mundet sour apple soda
Build in an ice-filled pint glass, stir gently, and serve. Sidral Mundet makes a really tasty sour apple soda that mixes well with the smoky mezcal. The assertiveness of the spirit and the sweetness of the soda balance each other nicely. Plus you have to like a bright green cocktail that actually tastes good.
Mi Mero Mole is at 5026 SE Division in Portland, Ore. It’s open Tuesday-Thursday from 5-9, Friday-Saturday 5-10. Go check it out.
[Photo courtesy of Allison Jones, who writes up a full opening report at Portland Monthly and makes the Señor Brown look ten times better than I could have done with my own camera.]