Portland Cocktail Week

Last time, on Art of Drink…..Darcy had spent a night out with Rocky visiting some cool places in Seattle. The following day (Wednesday) was an easy morning followed by a ride with Rocky to Portland, for Portland Cocktail Week and the Distillers Festival. An already fun week was capped off with a top notch group of bartenders and industry people.

After doing time in Victoria and Seattle, the week of drinking was catching up to me, but one must soldier on in this industry. I did manage a much needed 10 hours of sleep in Seattle, which gave me my second wind for Portland.

Day 1
After checking in to the Hotel DeLuxe I headed down to the bar and discovered fellow blogger Sean-Mike sitting there. I ordered a White Dog Old Fashioned and killed some time before heading to the Mixoloseum Drink.Write reception. One always needs a stiff drink before hanging with this group.

The Drink.Write reception was the usual mix of laughs and good conversation over cocktails made with Mandarin Napoleon. Afterwards, we hit Beaker and Flask and then Tear Drop Lounge. At some late hour in the night I made my way back to the hotel and crashed.

Day 2 (Thursday)
This was the first day of sessions. The day started off with Matt Robold and Lindsey Johnson discussing how to grow ones blog. A good session, but one of the running jokes was that it isn’t good enough to just drink, one needs to write to have a successful website.

A group of us hit Clyde Common for lunch and then went back for another round of sessions. A bottle of Fernet was passed around to keep spirits high. After the sessions it was a live Mixoloseum TDN where a well stocked bar was menaced by creative mixology types, trying to create the next wonder cocktail.
After that, the group split into parts and I ended up at Tear Drop Lounge for a second night. Erick Castro was presiding over the bar and doing a great job. While enjoying my first drink I knocked the glass over and broke it. Slightly embarrassed I held myself together by thinking about a more embarrassing moment in my history, where I dumped a tray of cocktails on a guest. Eric was great though, and his calm demeanor was much appreciated.

After another round, without incident, John the Bastard arrived at Tear Drop with orders to get us to the LUPEC event. After a little haggling, we agreed and proceeded to travel through Portland in a car fit only for tiny circus clowns.

After arriving and chatting with a number of people, embarrassing moment No.2 of the night happened. A camera crew was doing spot interviews and decided to pick me. I agreed and then realized that I didn’t know anything about the LUPEC event. I was about as sharp as an ice ball. After the event I went back to my room and crashed once again.

Day 3 (Day 7 from start of trip)
By this point getting out of bed was taking some effort, but I was up early enough to find Voodoo donuts in the CSOWG conference room. The first session was the legalities of blogging and the new US rules on disclosure. Being a freedom loving Canadian, we don’t have restrictive clauses for bloggers, so you’ll never know my motives behind my posts and that’s what makes Canadians evil, I guess.

At 11AM Ryan Magarian picked Sean-Mike and I up for a quick tour of Portland coffee shops and a tour of House Spirits Distillery. Ryan was once described to me by Gaz Regan as “you know, that guy who’s so good looking you just want to punch him”. Gaz isn’t the punching type, he was just weaving words.

Lunch was another Voodoo donut. Why? Because they were there. The next session was by Blair Reynolds and Jeffrey Morgenthaler on homemade ingredients. Then it came time for my two cents.

Camper and I presented the “;Where do we go from here?” session for the cocktail bloggers. Sadly, the vast majority of bloggers failed to attend. Camper had some great information on ways to make a blog a going concern monetarily wise. I actually scrapped what I had written about and decided to speak about some of the things I heard the previous day and rant a little on how the cocktail bloggers of stagnated lately. I’ll have more on that in another post.

After that session, we all made our way to Clyde Common for drinks and a few bites to eat. By this time I was exhausted but stuck around. Aside from Morganthaler whipping up drinks I had the pleasure of speaking with many of the cast of characters in this travelling cocktail circus (Robert Hess, Audrey Saunder, Ed Hamilton, Mindy, Neyah White etc.). By 10PM (I think) my body was giving up on me, so I checked out, knowing that another drink might lead to more glassware tipping.

I’ll be posting some more detailed posts on some of the subject matter in the future because just writing this post makes me tired. But thank you Victoria, Seattle and Portland for a great week and a special thanks goes to Rocky for getting me around Seattle and to Portland. Every one says Rocky is a great guy and I concur.