Note: First Looks give previews of new drinks and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
"Tommy Klus is a walking encyclopedia of full of cocktail and spirits knowledge," says bartender Will Ray of Portland's recently-opened Fish Sauce. "When I met him, I felt like a newborn baby, even with six years of experience." The two first met when Ray was apprenticing at KASK and they're now shaking up American classic cocktails with a hint of Asian influence at the new Northwest Portland Vietnamese restaurant. "Tommy wanted the drinks to be refreshing and light—they should complement the complex flavors found in Vietnamese cuisine," says Ray.
Owner Ben Bui and Klus bonded over their passions for small-batch products, fresh quality ingredients, and home-made mixers fueled by insatiable curiosity for new and exotic flavor combinations. Behind the bar at Fish Sauce, you'll find a bounty of house-made syrups including a gunpowder tea simple syrup and the sweet, tart juice from pickles made by Bui's mother. The drinks incorporate sour tamarind, sweet pineapple, pickled kumquats, and jalapeno charred in Combier orange liqueur.
About the Author: Greg Harned lives in Portland, OR, where he enjoys cocktails, drinking and general mischief-making in candlelit speakeasies, swanky cocktail lounges and dingy dive bars. He manages Portland Craft Cocktails where he writes about his various exploits. You can follow him on Twitter @craftcocktails.