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Cocktails at Kask in Portland, OR

El Diablo- Mark McMinn has week working on perfecting the Diablo cocktail since he first learned how to make it at Patterson House. His latest rendition at KASK calls for Pueblo Viejo Blanco tequila, Combier cassis liqueur, house-made ginger syrup, and a splash of soda.

El Diablo- Mark McMinn has week working on perfecting the Diablo cocktail since he first learned how to make it at Patterson House. His latest rendition at KASK calls for Pueblo Viejo Blanco tequila, Combier cassis liqueur, house-made ginger syrup, and a splash of soda.

This article was originally published in my column on Serious Eats:Drink-Portland. 

At KASK in Portland, the spirits in each drink are not unique for the sake of being unique, nor obscure merely for hipster-cred. The team at KASK is passionate about finding the best quality and creating simple (generally 5 ingredients or less), yet remarkably tasty cocktails that Bar Manager/Beverage Director Tommy "Tweed" Klus says are "approachable, with a hint of geekiness".

 

The Leather Canary- This original cocktail from Nathan Gerdes smooths the transition from cooler weather with bitter, bright and sweet flavors playing in harmony. The cocktail is comprised of Old Overholt Whiskey, Gran Classico, Combier Pamplemousse, Punt E Mes, and a grapefruit twist.

The Leather Canary- This original cocktail from Nathan Gerdes smooths the transition from cooler weather with bitter, bright and sweet flavors playing in harmony. The cocktail is comprised of Old Overholt Whiskey, Gran Classico, Combier Pamplemousse, Punt E Mes, and a grapefruit twist.

Lead Bartender Mark McMinn said his background working as a barista for 10 years led him to pay close attention to detail. "I like introducing people to new spirits; it's fun to watch their minds expand", said McMinn. He used to judge recipes by how he thought they might taste based on the ingredient list, but years of experience have taught him to taste everything before making a judgment call. "Knowing that anything can be made well is one of the most exciting parts of the job", said McMinn, "...but you need to know how everything—good or bad—tastes first."

Bootstrap Buck- Tommy Tweed created this cocktail for the opening menu at KASK. The blend of Cruzan Blackstrap rum, lime, demerara sugar syrup, Fentiman's ginger beer, and freshly grated nutmeg has been a favorite ever since.

Bootstrap Buck- Tommy Tweed created this cocktail for the opening menu at KASK. The blend of Cruzan Blackstrap rum, lime, demerara sugar syrup, Fentiman's ginger beer, and freshly grated nutmeg has been a favorite ever since.

The newest addition to the KASK team is Nathan Gerdes, who previously ran the bar program at H50 Bistro. Gerdes began his bartending journey by mixing up Screwdrivers and White Russians for his high school friends. An unrelenting inquisitiveness (and sweltering kitchen) drove Gerdes, a former pasta chef, out of the kitchen and into the bar to learn and hone his skills, and to do what he loves best—socializing and conversing with others.

 

Moscow Mule- What do these bartenders really want to drink in the summer time? A classic, refreshing Moscow Mule. At KASK, they use locally distilled Medoyeff vodka, lime, house made ginger syrup, and the spicy Fentiman's ginger beer.

Moscow Mule- What do these bartenders really want to drink in the summer time? A classic, refreshing Moscow Mule. At KASK, they use locally distilled Medoyeff vodka, lime, house made ginger syrup, and the spicy Fentiman's ginger beer.

The White Lady cocktail is a classic—a silky, luscious yet crisp cocktail made with Small's gin, lemon, Combier liqueur, and one egg white.

The White Lady cocktail is a classic—a silky, luscious yet crisp cocktail made with Small's gin, lemon, Combier liqueur, and one egg white.

Mark McMinn

Mark McMinn

Tommy Tweed

Tommy Tweed

Strawberry Shrub Pisco Sour

Strawberry-Shrub-Pisco-Sour

Strawberry season just came into full swing in Portland, making it the perfect time to mix up strawberry jams, syrups and cocktails. One of our favorite ways of preserving the harvest is to make a "shrub", also known as a drinking vinegar. This will keep the fresh fruit flavor and also add a tart zing to your drinks. The Pisco Sour is one of our favorite cocktails, and the pisco plays very nicely with the strawberry shrub. Macchu Pisco is an ideal mixing pisco, as it's made from 100% Quebranta grapes (non-aromatic variety), making it the perfect backbone for cocktails. Try the Strawberry Shrub Pisco Sour, or mix up your own variation and let us know what you come up with. 

Strawberry Shrub Pisco Sour

1.5 oz Macchu Pisco pisco

.75 oz Strawberry shrub

.75 oz. Lemon juice

1 egg white

Fresh cracked black pepper

Garnish with fresh strawberry

 

Strawberry Shrub:

1 container of strawberries

1 cup of sugar

Slice strawberries and remove green stem. Cover in sugar and place in fridge overnight. Stir once of twice to keep sugar from collecting on the bottom. Add 1 cup of vinegar. Strain through cheesecloth. 

 

Elder Donkey

Elder Donkey

For many drinkers, Tequila has earned a bad reputation from memories of bad Margaritas and one too many shots at the bar. Sparkle Donkey Tequila is hoping to make new memories for tequila drinkers that don't result in a massive hangover. The Elder Donkey cocktail shows the lighter side of tequila, mixed with the floral St. Germain, and tart pink grapefruit juice, making for a delightful light summer sipper. 

Elder Donkey

2 parts Sparkle Donkey Reposado

1 part St. Germain

Fill glass grapefruit juice.

Enjoy!

 

Cocktails at Justice Snows in Aspen, Colorado

Joshua Peter-Smith, lead bartender at Justice Snows in Aspen, CO knows how to mix a cocktail. With flavors that are oft-inspired by local ingredients in their simplest form, to culinary creations designed specifically for the creative cocktails that grace the lengthy menu, they serve to invite not intimidate new and seasoned drinkers alike. Check out the recipes below for a sampling of the his latest works and classic cocktail favorites.

The Scottish Traveler Cocktail

The Scottish Traveler

1.5 oz Caorunn Scottish Gin

.5 oz Meletti Anisette

1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

.5 oz Juniper Simple Syrup

2 inches of Muddled Celery

1/8th of muddle Apple

Shake with vigor, double fine strain over rocks in a single old fashion glass, with a fennel salt rim.  Garnish with apple slices, and celery tops. 

Clover Club Cocktail

 Clover Club

2 oz of No.3 Dry Gin

1 oz Lemon Juice

6 muddled Raspberries

.75oz Simple Syrup

1oz Egg White

Shake with vigor, double fine strain into coupe glass.  Garnish and zest with lemon peel.  

By Any Other Name Cocktail

By Any Other Name

1.25 oz Junipero Gin

.75 oz G.E. Massenez Poire Williams Brandy

.75 oz Rose Petal Infused Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur

.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

.75 oz. Fresh Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

.75 oz Egg white

Shake with vigor, double fine strain into cocktail glass, garnish with a rose petal.  

Bijou Cocktail

 Bijou

1.5 oz Tanquerey Ten Gin

.75 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth

.75 oz Green Chartreuse

2 dashes of Bitter Truth Orange Bitter

Combine all in mixing glass, stir gently with ice 40 times. Strain into small coupe, garnish with cherry.

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