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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

2 Pumpkin Cocktails for Halloween from two of NY's Finest Bartenders

Recipe by Jim Meehan of PDT

Great Pumpkin

2 ounces Pumpkin Ale (I chose Elysian "The Great Pumpkin")

1 ounce Lairds Apple Brandy

1 ounce Sazerac Rye Whiskey

1/2 ounce of Maple Syrup (Grade B)

1 Whole Egg

Nutmeg

Add ale, apple brandy, rye whiskey, maple syrup to a cocktail shaker and gently swirl the shaker for 30 seconds to decarbonate the beer. Add the egg and shake for 45-60 seconds without ice. Add ice and shake for 15-20 seconds. Double-strain into collins glass and garnish with grated nutmeg. 

 

Recipe by Jessica Gonzalez of Death & Co.

Vampire Blues

1.5 ounce Bourbon Whiskey (I used rye in the video, feel free to use your favorite whiskey)

.5 ounce East India Solera Sherry 

.5 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice

.5 ounce Simple Syrup

1 teaspoon Pumpkin Butter

2 dashes Angostura Bitters (I used Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters in the video)

Cinnamon Stick

Add all ingredients except cinnamon stick to mixing glass filled with ice. Shake for 15-30 seconds. Strain into Old Fashioned glass over large ice cube. Garnish with cinnamon stick. 


3 Cocktail Recipes for Variations of the Manhattan

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KATU was nice enough to invite me back to their morning show to mix up a few more cocktails. This time around we are starting with the classic Manhattan, and then mixing two simple and delicious variations, a White Manhattan and a Black Manhattan. The beauty of the Manhattan is both it's simplicity and it's versitility. The base ingredients of the Manhattan are whiskey (traditionally rye), sweet vermouth, and bitters (typically Angostura). 

Classic Manhattan

2 ounces whisky (Maker's Mark 46

1 ounce Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)

2 dashes of Bitters (Angostura)

Add all ingredients to cocktail mixing glass filled with ice. Stir for 30-45 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with brandied cherry or orange zest (optional).

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The White Manhattan is a fun variation swapping the aged whiskey out for moonshine (unaged whiskey) and Dolin's white, but sweet version of their vermouth, Dolin Blanc. 

White Manhattan

2 oz. White Whiskey (Corsair Artisan)

1 oz. Dolin Blanc

2 Dashes of Bitters (Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters)

 Add all ingredients to cocktail mixing glass filled with ice. Stir for 30-45 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with brandied cherry or orange zest (optional).

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The Black Manhattan swaps out the sweet vermouth for a sweet herbal liqueur called Averna, which has a vanilla-like sweetness and warming finish that pairs perfectly with whiskey. 

Black Manhattan

2 oz. Whiskey (Maker's 46)

1 oz. Averna

2 Dashes of Bitters (Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters)

 Add all ingredients to cocktail mixing glass filled with ice. Stir for 30-45 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with brandied cherry or orange zest (optional).

What is your idea of the perfect Manahattan?

Check out my video from this morning's show!

Remember the Maine

Remember the Maine:

2 oz. Rye Whiskey (High West Double Rye)
.75 oz sweet vermouth (Vya)
2 barspoons Cheery Heering 
.5 barspoon absinthe (Amerique 1912)
orange zest

This is a cocktail that everyone should try at least once in their life. It's a bit like a dolled up Manhattan, with absinthe filling in as the bitters and the cherry heering adding a touch of sweetness for a perfect balance and additional depth. Amerique 1912 Absinthe Verte is one of two absinthes offered by Great Lakes Distillery and is an excellent, highly aromatic chioce. We will have cocktails featuring their other abinsthe (as well as a Kirschwasser) in future posts. The High West Double Rye whiskey is proving to be one of our favorite rye's, makes exceptional Manhattan's, and it performs equally well in this drink. We first read about the cocktail on Oh Gosh, but it's invention is attributed to Charles H. Baker and it's history can be read in further detail at the Oh Gosh web page here.

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