Brewing Up Cocktails

For those of you who may have missed this years Cocktail Camp, and the informative Beer Cocktails seminar given by Ezra Johnson-Greenough and Jacob Grier, you still have a chance to sample some very innovative beer cocktails in their next installation of Brewing Up Cocktails this Easter Sunday 4/24 from 5-8 pm at Spints Alehousewhich will feature a menu of all "flip" cocktails.

Flip cocktails include a whole raw egg in each drink and have been made and enjoyed since the 17th century. The whole egg adds a rich creaminess and luscious mouthfeel that pairs well with a variety of spirits and beers for unqiue and classic libations. Ezra and Jacob have paired up with Eugene, OR based Oakshire Brewing to provide the beers (including Heart Shaped Box, Moose & Squirrel, Espresso Stout, Schwarz, and Imperial Stout), as well as farm fresh eggs from the brewery's own chickens for this event. The beers will be matched with a variety of spirits ranging from apple brandy and Arbeg Scotch, to dark rums and port wine. The event is a great opportunity for those unfamiliar with beer cocktails and/or flip cocktails, and we hope to see you there!

In the meantime, you can mix up the "Ale-Avit", one of Jacob Grier's featured cocktails from Portland Cocktail Camp.


1 oz Krogstad Aquavit (House Spirits)
.25 oz fresh lemon juice
Chartreuse rinse
Upright Five

Serve in a wine glass. Rinse glass with Chartreuse, discarding the excess. Add the lemon juice and aquavit. Top with 5-6 oz Upright Fiveor other hoppy ale and stir gently. 

Pink Slipper- 1.5 oz @HouseSpirits Aquavit, .75 oz lemon juice, .5 oz orange liqueur, dash Peychaud's bitters, lemon zest

1.5 oz. Aquavit (Krogstad)
.75 oz. lemon juice
.5 oz. orange liqueur (Patron Citronge)
Dash Peychaud's bitters
Lemon zest

Shake over ice. Double-strain into chilled cocktail glass. Express lemon oils over cocktail and garnish.

This is a Pegu Club style cocktail, where the gin is swapped for aquavit, the lime for lemon, and the Angostura for Peychaud's. While clearly an entirely different flavor profile, those who enjoy sour cocktails, caraway, and star anise may just find a new favorite. It has taken me awhile to open up to Aquavit, but each subsequent drink results in a greater fondness, and craving for the spirit. This Portland offering from House Spirits has provided many local bartenders with a excellent (relatively) new spirit to create their own signature cocktails, examples of which can be found here, as well as places where you can drink them in PDX if you aren't the DIY type, though it may be safe to say that's most likely a contradiction in terms!

RPM @EaT @HouseSpirits

The weather was perfect and the house was packed inside and out of EaT. We arrived towards the last hour of the event and almost shed a tear as we were walking up one of the waitresses called out "86 kiwi". I knew this meant I would miss out on the Jaded Kiwi (hand presses skinless kiwi, Aviation Gin, Green Chartreuse, fresh lemon juice, Fee Brothers Peach Bitters, soda), one of the more interesting sounding drinks I was looking forward to trying. However we still sampled some truly excellent cocktails.

Pepper Delicious #2:

Krogstad Aquavit
Handpressed bell pepper
Fresh Oregon Peppermint
Citrus (orange and lemon)

Arielle really enjoyed this drink. As with the cucumber from The Pressgurka Smash of last week's RPM, the red pepper was a (pleasantly) surprising pairing for the Aquavit. The nose was a peppery mint, followed by a vegetal/citrus sip. The swallow was mostly caraway spice, and the tartness of the citrus helped to accentuate the flavors of the red pepper and made great use of local, seasonal produce.


1 oz. Krogstad Aquavit
1 oz. Dry Sherry
1 oz. Cynar
1 Dash Fee Brothers Peach Bitters
Lemon twist

Stir with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass(es)*

This drink is the brainchild of Robert Hess, who considered it one of his "most successful cocktails". I loved it, and as Mr. Hess considered it, "a negroni with more obscure ingredients", it was right up my alley. Nutty amontillado, star anise forward. Cynar on the swallow. Simply delicious.

*The bartender ran out of large cocktail glasses and had stirred up what looked to be enough to fill two large cocktail glasses. However, there were no cocktail glasses to be found, he improvised, and we were the lucky benefactors of this happy accident.

#RPM @AaltoLounge- @HouseSpirits Distillery

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.
Pegu Club:

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.


Pressgurka Smash:

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.