The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2017

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june 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  57 The Rookery Bar occupies the former hayloft of a historic 1883 carriage house built by one of Portland's found- ing fathers—William Sargent Ladd. The expansive bar, atop the Raven & Rose was inspired by the sort of whiskey bar that you might have visited back then, explains Operations Manager/Bartender David Shenaut. "We want to support the local stuff," says Shenaut, "but it needs to be delicious. We pay attention to the where and why behind every bottle. Every bottle counts when you only have room for 100 on your backbar." Rounding up a thirst-quenching afternoon, we visit clarklewis restaurant, a hiply lowercase farm-to- table establishment in the Eastside Industrial District. Here both the menu and many of the cocktails are based on local produce from the Farmers Market. Eastside's Top Sellers Here is how Mel Heim assesses the company best-selling products. Portland Potato Vodka "This is our fastest growing SKU right now. To me it's all about the ingredients. There are only two: potatoes and water. The starchiness creates a very low-octane flavor. It's minerally and ferments out in a differ- ent way than grain. It's a very clean taste. We use the water from Bull Run reservoir, from the base of Mt. Hood. It's surface water that flows down the mountain on a bed of basalt rock." Burnside 4 Year Barrel Aged Bourbon "We choose from excellent finished goods and do our own blending, which also allows the flexibility to play with different ages. Four years is the minimum, and recent barrels are closer to nine. This is our namesake, it's what we are known for, it's high proof and it's really the South-meets- West treatment. Again Bull Run water is a key ingredient. It's aged in new American oak barrels. They are a tight-grain oak, with spicy flavors (char, barbecue, clove) and some more subtle stuff like honeycomb and vanilla." Burnside Oregon Oaked Bourbon "This is the premium version. It starts in new American oak; then we take that wonderful, complex finished good and age it again in Oregon oak as a finishing cask. The flavors are on the dessert side—you're now adding large amounts of tannins, caramel, maple, honeycomb, vanilla, toffee . . . it's so good!" Below Deck Coffee Rum "A top seller and customer favorite. We start with our premium silver rum base and then I source ground Fair Trade organic Guatemalan coffee from Portland Roasting. We do our own cold press on it, and add it to the rum directly. The key is finding that balance. We add about four grams of raw sugar per liter so it's not very sweet, unlike most others that are cloyingly sweet. This is a simple, balanced, exquisite flavor." PHOTO: LEAH NASH can be very risky. Any time you open the door to a new category you can be the original but . . . somebody's going to do it better, and somebody's going to do it worse. The challenge is picking the innovative trends that will stick." Portland's extensive, exploratory bar scene is a great place to see what some of the better mixologists are up to—which is exactly what we did next, as the following custom cocktails confirm. PHOTO: LEAH NASH PHOTO: LEAH NASH PHOTO: LEAH NASH The Rookery Bar's David Shenaut says "every bottle counts when you only have room for 100." Bartender Lucy Brennan from clarklewis recreates a concoction she calls Farm to Glass. The Mile High by Zak Moreno, The Rookery Bar, Portland ◗ 1 oz. Barrel Hitch Oregon Oak American Whiskey ◗ ¾ oz. Aperol ◗ ¾ oz. Amaro Nonino ◗ Squeeze lemon juice Shake and top with a splash of Prosecco; then garnish with a lemon peel bird. Farm to Glass by Lucy Brennan, clarklewis, Portland ◗ 1½ oz. Four Times Distilled Portland Potato Vodka ◗ Fresh citrus ◗ 1 oz. fresh mix (this changes every day—today it's blended orange, blood orange, radish and celery purée) Pour over ice and top with Prosecco. Garnish with orange.

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