Autumn Leaves at Clyde Common
Jim Beam rye, Clear Creek apple brandy, sweet vermouth, Strega, cinnamon tincture, and orange peel. The perfect drink for a rainy day. Which is pretty much every day until the Fourth of July. The flavors reminded us of orange zest on a bite of pecan pie (while you sit by a warm, smoky fire.) Delicious.
Clyde Common: 1014 SW Stark Street, Portland OR 97217; clydecommon.com
Tasters at Cascade Brewing Barrel House
We were floored by Cascade's Spiced Blond Quad, aged in Pinot Noir barrels and spiced with coriander, bitter orange peel, and star anise, before being blended with their delicious apricot ale. This is a beer for cocktail lovers: smooth and aromatic, gently sour and incredibly complex. The Sang Rouge was another delight, deep and tart, with hints of brown sugar. Cascade doesn't do tasting trays, but they'll pour you a taste of anything on tap for $2.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House: 939 SE Belmont, Portland OR 97214; cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com
Cocktails at the Teardrop Lounge
Another Time, Another Place: ($9) a gorgeous combination of Ransom Spirits' Whippersnapper whiskey, Aperol, Nardini Amaro, black peppercorns, orange and mole bitters, and maple syrup. The maple brought out the vanilla and oak flavors of the whiskey without pushing it too far into sweetness. Fantastic.
Hot Buttered Rum with Foie Butter ($14) combines Ron Abuelo rum, house foie butter, hot apple cider. Hard to resist something so decadent, and this one was out-of-control. Rich, sweet, with a whiff of caramel apple and a delicate musk. This is a drink more suitable for fuzzy slippers and warm robes than going-out-clothes.
Teardrop Lounge: 1015 NW Everett Street, Portland OR 97209; teardroplounge.com
St Elizabeth Sour and The Villager at Park Kitchen
Bar manager Adam Robinson (previously of Momofuku Ssam Bar in NYC) mixes up a mean drink. His St Elizabeth Sour was one of the most delicious gin-based drinks I've had in recent memory. He mists the glass with allspice dram before pouring in the cocktail, a blend of Beefeater gin, Aperol, fresh ginger syrup, and lemon. It's intense, tart and fresh, with the allspice aroma bringing it all together.
We also tried a Villager, made with Jim Beam Rye, bitters, lime, and smoked Dr. Pepper. Robinson gets Dr. Pepper syrup, which the kitchen smokes over hazelnut shells for half an hour. The drink is sweet and bubbly up front, with delicate smoky richness on the finish. Drinks were $5 each since it was happy hour—a ridiculously good deal.
Park Kitchen: 422 NW 8th Avenue, Portland OR 97209; parkkitchen.com
Taster Tray at Deschutes Brewpub
We stopped by Descutes' Portland pub to taste their recently-released Dissident, a sour brown ale made with brett and lactobacillus, and fermented with whole Washington State cherries. It was smooth and sour but not crazy-puckery, with a bit more alcohol than we'd like. (If you have a bottle, cellar it awhile; it's not quite ready to drink.)
Chocolate lovers will enjoy the super-potent Black Butte Porter XXII, a bourbony imperial porter made with chocolate and cocoa, Seville orange zest, and pasilla negra chile peppers. It's an aggressively roasty beer with lovely chocolate and fruity espresso notes.
Deschutes Brewpub: 210 NW 11th Avenue, Portland OR 97209; deschutesbrewery.com
The Wild At Heart at June
An aromatic blend of tequila, Barolo Chinato, Campari, and Orange Triplum. Smooth and citrusy, with a nice bitter edge. Even better than the cocktail was our the artichoke appetizer, decadently dressed in garlicky aioli and topped with tempura artichoke stems.
June: 2215 East Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97214
Macchiato at Spella Caffe
This microroaster has closed their coffee cart and opened up a standing-room only shop on 5th Avenue. And the espresso is mighty fine.
Spella Caffe: 520 SW 5th Avenue, Portland OR 97204; spellacaffe.com