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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Portland Cocktail Week opening reception rocks Portland

Bartender Kevin gives his opinion
of the "The Barry Wall" cocktail
Portland Cocktail Week opened with a boisterous reception in the Emerald Ballroom at Portland’s Tiffany Center.  "the Radical revolution" performed music that featured popular songs from the eighties. The music was very good and very loud. Early in the evening the vibe was more freshman sock hop than senior prom as the band played, but few people danced.  Later, as the cocktails flowed and the crowd warmed up, dancers began to fill the floor.

In keeping with the high school theme of the cocktail week, the room was outfitted like a school gym.  The pennants, however, were for Pernod Ricard brands (sponsor of the event) like Absolut and Altos (a new Tequila) rather than for teams like the Wildcats or Utes.  There was one major difference; there were drink stations all around the perimeter of the gym: it was never like that in high school!

The drink stations at a cocktail week function are normally staffed by one or two bartenders who make one or two drinks that showcase the sponsor’s brands.  Tonight was no different; there were new cocktails calling for Jameson’s Whiskey, Olmeca Altos Tequila, Absolut Vodka, Pernod Absinthe, and Beefeater 24 and Plymouth Gins. The best drink of the night was The Barry Wall (see photo), made from Beefeater 24, Carpano Antica, Orange Curaçao, and Orange Bitters.

Ginger appears to be holding its own as the go-to cocktail ingredient this year.  Several cocktails used ginger or ginger syrup or ginger beer. Jameson's had a whiskey cocktail with ginger syrup and a lime wedge. Altogether, Pernod presented three drinks with either ginger syrup or ginger beer.  One might say that the party was fueled by hot music and hot ginger.

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