Carlyle’s closing cocktail menu

I may have to make some changes as we run low on ingredients, but here’s the intended cocktail menu for our final two weeks, including three new additions. This will go into effect tomorrow:

Aquavit Hot Toddy – Krogstad aquavit, Swedish punsch, lemon, star anise $8

Antigua Old-Fashioned – English Harbour rum, coffee-orange bitters, sugar $8

Smoky Margarita – Herradura reposado tequila, Cointreau, lime, lapsang souchong syrup $8

Portland Stinger – Branca Menta, bourbon, brandy, lemon, grenadine $9

Thyme in a Bottle — Bombay Sapphire, Farigoule thyme liqueur, lemon, maraschino $9

Erica’s Impulse –Brandy, allspice liqueur, lemon, simple syrup, orange bitters $8

H’ronmeer’s Flame – Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Ramazzotti, flamed orange zest $9

Witty Flip – Brandy, J. Witty chamomile liqueur, lemon, orange bitters, egg, nutmeg $10

Horatio – Krogstad aquavit, Cointreau, Fernet-Branca, orange bitters $9

Curse of Scotland — Ardbeg 10 year single malt Scotch, Drambuie, maraschino, lemon $10

Queen Bee – Vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon, honey syrup, sparkling wine. $9

On a Whim – Trust your bartender to make you something good

Last call at Carlyle

carlyle_coaster

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of being on the opening crew of several coffee shops and restaurants. Now it’s my turn to be on the closing crew. From Carlyle owner Bruce Goldberg:

Next month is Carlyle’s seventh anniversary. February also marks the end of our current lease. Both milestones are significant in that they factor into my decision to announce that Carlyle will serve it’s last meal on Sunday, February 14th.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the many loyal customers, employees, and friends who have made Carlyle special. Though saddened by the closing, I ’m comforted by wonderful memories, ,and the opportunity to have worked with some very talented people.

I hope that over the next two weeks you’ll make a point of joining us for dinner or a drink. In addition to some recent menu changes, Chef Martin will be presenting a special prix fixe dinner, offered on both February 13th and 14th, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and to serve as our farewell.

I’m eternally grateful to Bruce and to Neil, who first hired me there, for trusting me with their bar program. It’s been a fun ride and great platform for me as a mixologist. I think we succeeded in turning Carlyle into one of the best places in Portland to have a cocktail. Unfortunately we’ve faced an uphill battle running a destination restaurant in a tough location and a down economy, so this closing is understandable.

If you haven’t been into Carlyle yet, do stop in soon. And if you’re among the many friends I’ve made while working there I hope I’ll see you at least one more time before we close. Last call is Sunday night, February 14. Fernet is on the rail.

[Photo courtesy of the unbeatable Mayor of Carlyle, Ron Dollete.]

Organic Nation tonight at Carlyle

Tonight at Carlyle we’re offering a special menu of cocktails featuring one of my favorite local spirits producers, Organic Nation from Ashland, OR. I was first turned on to their gin in the Oregon Bartenders Guild summer mixology competition, where I used it in the watermelon-based Gallagher cocktail. Tonight we’ll be serving their gin and vodka in a few seasonal cocktails, both new and classic. (That’s right, this is a rare opportunity to see me willingly make vodka drinks!) Stop by from 5-7 to try them out.

And the winner of the gift card is…

… Vanessa, a.k.a. @themonkeysknow, who entered every way possible. Congratulations on winning a $50 Carlyle gift card. My prediction: She spends it all El Dudes.

We also have two runner up prizes from GoTime.com drawn randomly from this blog’s comments going to Mark from Cask Wine Brokers and Tony Thomas from Uniquely Portland.

Thanks to everyone who entered and to GoTime.com for putting on a fun contest. (Personally I was hoping this Mark would win at all. Now I’ll never get to see his patented crazy eyes.)

Win a $50 Carlyle gift card

Finally, a Liquidity Preference blog contest! If you’ve been wanting to come visit Carlyle, this might be your lucky week. We’re teaming up with GoTime.com, an extensive online guide to Portland’s many happy hours going on at any time, to give away a $50 gift card to the restaurant. Readers are invited to enter the drawing in any of the following ways:

1 Entry: leave a comment on GoTime’s blog post
1 Entry: Retweet any of GoTime’s tweets about this giveaway
2 Entries: Follow Carlyle on Twitter
3 Entries: leave a comment on this blog post
5 Entries: Sign up for the GoTime.com Newsletter where you’ll get notices about happy hours around town and future contests

We’ll be giving away a few other prizes from GoTime too. Feel free to rack up multiple entries between now and Thursday, then check back on Friday to see who wins.

I are serious bartender

Willamette Week’s 2009 restaurant guide also came out today, with Carlyle making the list of “Five Restaurants with Great Bars.” The drinks get a mention in the main review too:

Both the wine and cocktails are worthy of the food (except for maybe the “Obligatory Pink Vodka Drink” — see? They have a sense of humor, too.)

Purists will be glad to know the OPVD didn’t make the cut on our new, trimmer cocktail menu. We’re super serious now.

Restaurant of the Year went to Beaker and Flask. It’s a totally deserved honor and it couldn’t have gone to a nicer bunch of people. Congrats, guys!

Fernet night at Carlyle: All the drinks

Last night’s Fernet-Branca event filled the Carlyle bar with curious cocktailians and long-time Fernet drinkers. While only a few industry types went for straight shots, the drinks using Fernet as an ingredient were a big hit.

The first two cocktails on our special menu have been covered here before. The Shift Drink was created in honor of bartenders’ favorite after work shot and combines rye, ginger liqueur, lemon, and Fernet. Next up was the Horatio, using Portland’s own Krogstad aquavit, Cointreau, Fernet, and orange bitters. This drink isn’t for everyone but it was a consistent favorite among last night’s crowd.

The third drink on the menu reads like it could have been created a century ago, but it’s actually a recent invention from Jim Meehan at PDT in New York. Here’s the recipe for the Newark as given by Chuck Taggart at Looka!:

2 ounces Laird’s bonded apple brandy.
1 ounce Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth.
1/4 ounce Maraschino liqueur.
2 barspoons Fernet-Branca.

Combine with ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.

This is a brilliant classic-style cocktail, with the Fernet adding just a touch of bitterness to balance the other ingredients. Since I live under the regime of an archaic state liquor control board I had to settle for Laird’s lower proof applejack. This came out a little sweet in the recipe above so I adjusted the Carpano down to 3/4 ounces.

Our fourth drink took a break from Fernet to feature its minty cousin, Branca Menta. This is a cocktail my good friend Neil Kopplin and I came up with on the fly a few months ago, though most of the credit should really go to Neil. (Neil’s got a blog now, check it out here.) This Portland Stinger will definitely appear on our menu come the winter months:

1 oz Branca Menta
1 oz lemon juice
.75 oz grenadine
.5 oz bourbon
.5 oz cognac

Shake over ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

The last cocktail on the menu stirred up a lot of interest on Twitter: A Fernet ice cream float. Yes, really. One of the great things about working with an expert chef is that I can approach him with crazy ideas and he can make them happen. In this case, when I asked him if we could make a Fernet ice cream he already knew of a recipe. Fergus Henderson, inspired by his favorite curative cocktail, includes a “miracle in the form of ice cream” made with Fernet-Branca and crème de menthe in Beyond Nose to Tail: More Omniverous Recipes for the Curious Cook. (This sounds much better than the Fernet and garlic ice cream described in this book, don’t you think?)

Our first batch came out with very strong flavors. I loved it, as did many of the customers who tried it, though others found it a little overwhelming. Our batch for last night’s event was much milder. I have no idea why the two varied so much and I preferred the first, but the second still performed well in our Fernet Float:

1.5 oz bourbon
.75 oz Fernet-Branca
3/4 bottle of Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola (chilled)
scoop of Fernet-Branca and crème de menthe ice cream

Combine the first three ingredients in a tall glass and stir. Add the ice cream and serve with a straw and spoon.

We finished the night with another dessert item, this one a straight up sorbet. Fernet-Branca’s high alcohol content makes it a tough ingredient to work with when freezing. Our first batch tasted fantastic but was too alcoholic to solidify. This recipe works much better, but it will eventually separate so it doesn’t have a long shelf-life. What it lacks in convenience it makes up for in deliciousness:

30 oz orange juice
4 oz lemon juice
5 oz Fernet-Branca
1.5 oz ginger juice
14 oz superfine sugar

Whisk or blend everything together, spin in an ice cream maker, and freeze over night. (To make the ginger juice, chop ginger, add a little water, blend, and strain.) The sorbet is tasty and complex, with the Fernet and ginger spicing it up nicely. By cutting the alcohol a bit more I think one could possibly freeze this into popsicles too, which would surely be a hit at any bartenders’ picnic.

Thanks to everyone who came out last night for this event. I had a great time putting it together, and it will hopefully be the first of many evenings putting a favorite spirit in the spotlight.

Cocktails, pork, and French cuisine

Why do I make cocktails? I do it for the children. No, really, I do:

The Oregon Bartender’s Guild would like to invite you to a one-of-a-kind event. On Monday, July 27th at 5pm the Oregon Bartender’s Guild will be hosting their first Cocktail Competition for Charity at the Hobnob Grille, 3350 SE Morrison. This competition will confirm Oregon’s place amongst the avant-garde of cocktail culture by featuring the finest craft spirits being mixed by some of the best bartending talent from around our great state. Local masterminds of mixology will face off in a fierce competition of culinary creativity. We need your help in deciding who will go home with the title of Oregon’s Premier Mixologist. A ticket cost of $50 will include a multitude of cocktails, a light hors d’oeuvre and an evening of education, entertainment and culture. Proceeds will benefit Schoolhouse Supplies – The Free Store for Teachers, a locally run non-profit who helps teachers equip their students with the tools needed to succeed in the classroom – for free!

You can purchase tickets at the Hobnob Grill @ 3350 SE Morrison anytime from now till Monday, and the night of the event.

The format is as follows…
Alison Dykes- Liquid Vodka, Rogue Rum
Evan Zimmerman- Cascade Mountain Gin, Krogstad Aquavit
Bradley Dawson- Elemental Vodka, Old Tom Gin
Kinn Edwards- 12 Bridges Gin, Sub Rosa Saffron Vodka
Jacob Grier- Organic Nation Gin, Dolmen Honey Spirit
Sue Erickson- Martin Ryan Vodka, Snake River Stampede Whiskey

Competitors will be competing in two rounds. The first round is marked by more simple and clean spirits. Each cocktail will be served in a 2 to 3 oz portion for all 50 guest judges and one full cocktail for presentation. Each competitor will serve their cocktails one after the other. The spirits in the second round are more complex and “unusual.”

Of course the title of “Oregon’s Premier Mixologist” has a touch of hyperbole to it. Unless I win, in which case forget I said anything. Either way, I hope you’ll come out for the event.

Carlyle, the restaurant where I work, also has a few special events coming up soon. This Sunday our chef Jake Martin teams up with Morgan Brownlow of Tails and Trotters to offer a 10 course pork dinner. It’s expensive, but the menu looks amazing:

Charcuterie
First release of Tails and Trotters proscuitto,
Lardo wrapped country style pate with tenderloin garni,
Fromage de tete

Fritto of Squash Blossoms
Trotter ‘rilette’, Spanish style sausage, macerated legumes

Duo of Salads:
Salad of pig’s ears, watercress, shaved carrots, celery and pickled shallots

Grilled pig’s heart, pickled chanterelles, arugula, shaved ricotta salata

Pork Belly Two Ways:
Cured and wrapped around stone fruits, grilled, agro dolce sauce

Crisp confit, early corn, scapes, saba

Pork Coppa Steak
Cured and poached, shaved baby beets, sauce gribiche

Grilled Pork Flat Iron and Eye of Round
Tongue croquette, smoked pork jus, nasturtium butter

Two Pastas
Potato gnocchi, Guanciale, Walla Walla onions, heirloom tomato concasse

Ricotta tortellini, slow roasted shoulder ragout, parmigiano-reggiano

Petite Braised Short Rib
Carrot tapenade, sweet carrot emulsion
Crispy ‘Korean Style’ ribs
fennel pollen lacquer

Whole Loin ‘Porchetta’ Crispy Skin and All!
Pork fat fired potatoes, baby turnips

Tails and Trotters Leaf Lard Crostada
Stone fruits, bacon ice cream

Seriously, I don’t know if I can turn that down.

Finally, for four consecutive weeks in August we’re offering a series of kitchen dinners inspired by different aspects of French cuisine. It starts with Paris bistro fare, moves on to the foods of Provence and the Midi Pyrenees, and wraps up with an homage to haute cuisine circa 1950. I’ll be serving an aperitif before each meal. The full menus are available on our site.

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!