Each week this summer for six weeks, House Spirits Distillery will visit a different bar in Portland, OR to make cocktails highlighting their spirits as well as the food of the hosting venue. My folks were in town for the week and we thought this would be an excellent introduction to experience the quality of the craft distilling revolution taking place in Portland (see Distillery Row). House Spirits primary portfolio consists of Aviation Gin, Medoyeff Vodka, and Krogstad Aquavit. Of particular interest to PDX natives (and visitors) are the limited release, small batch, seasonal spirits offered in individually numbered 375 ml bottles. Their offerings have included a white dog whiskey, Palinka, and House Spirits Rum. There is also an exclusive selection of spirits destined for the Ace hotel in the near future (full list here)
We tried three of the five cocktails offered at the Aalto at last weeks RPM.
2 oz. Gin (Aviation)
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
3/4 oz lime juice
Dash bitters (angostura)
This was a great cover of an oft forgotten classic, the Pegu Club. This simple, yet complex cocktail was an excellent opportunity to showcase their Aviation Gin.
Imperial Gin Daisy:
1 1/2 oz. gin (Aviation)
3/4 oz. Grand Marnier
1/2 oz. lemon juice
Topped with brut champagne
My mom found this a bit sweet, though her preferences generally lie towards the less sweet. However, it seemed the general consensus that this was a bit sweet. The Grand Marnier or the champagne could have caused this, but it may just be a matter of preference.
1 3/4 oz. Krogstad Aquavit
1/2 lemon quartered
3 slices cucumber
1/2 oz. simple syrup
Muddle cucumber and lemon quarters. Shake with ice. Pour all ingredients over ice. Garnish with lemon wedge and cucumber slice.
This was the clear winner of the three. The aquavit and the cucumber were an unexpectedly delicious combination. I am not a aquavit lover, though it's milder anise flavor is quite different than straight liquorice, making it easier for me to palette. This combination gave me a new appreciation for the spirit, and will lead to more experimentation with the paring of cucumber and Aquavit (Pimm's Cup Addition?).
We are looking forward to attending the RPM event tonight at EaT Oyster Bar 3808 N Williams Ave Portland, OR. If you plan on attending, drop me a line @craftcocktails on twitter. Hope to see you there. For a list of cocktails offered at tonights tasting, look here.