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Sep 30, 2007 05:02 PM

Great Cocktails in PDX

I know it's wine country, but I'm on the hunt for bars that make great cocktails, particularly ones that use seasonal fruit and/or fruit-infused liquors. Unlike a wine list, a cocktail is a dynamic, spontaneous creation made to order, as if it were any other dish on the food menu. But imagination and creativity shouldn't mask out a bartender's ability to make the classics like a gimlet or a sidecar. I'll be staying downtown for the next week, and while I've got a pretty good idea as to which restaurants I'll visiting, I also want to see places where mixology get the same craftsmanship and artisanal approach as the food. I don't mind if it's a bar in a restaurant/hotel, a stand-alone watering hole, or even a bar at a restaurant where the food isn't very good. Any suggestions?

Also, any tips as to where to find a selection of whiskeys (including scotch and bourbon) would be great. My all time favorites are Balvenie and Glenmorangie, but lately I've been drinking a lot of Wathens.

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  1. Lovely Hula Hands has a wonderful menu *and* drink list.

    1. Teardrop Lounge. You have described their craftsmanship and artistry to a tee.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Leonardo

        Awesome. My reference point here in Los Angeles is The Hungry Cat in Hollywood. It's one of the few places I've ever seen that has a seasonal cocktail menu. Why, just the other night I was served a margarita served with fresno-chili infused simple syrup. And they're currently also offering their take on an orange julius (with vodka): they even added a touch of egg white to provide the drink that frothy consistency. One of their signature drinks is a cucumber martini: nothing highlights the piquant flavor in gin quite like a juiced cucumber.

        I look forward to checking out everyone's suggestions, and I know that I'll be eating (and drinking) well.

      2. I'm sure others will have ideas, but Park Kitchen has a very nice bar menu, had a pitch perfect Manhattan last time there. Re: Whiskey, can't go wrong with Pok Pok, some of the best Thai food in the Northwest to go along with a great whiskey menu, really. Just had dinner at Clyde Commons and they seem to also have a strong selection of whiskeys both American and Scotch.

        1. Obviously Mint on N Russell is a reference point in Portland. I've been meaning to check out Clyde Common. Rumor has it they make their own tonic?

          For my taste, one of the best cocktails is this: Go to Tea Zone/Camellia Lounge. Order the Makers Mark with infused vanilla tea on the rocks topped off with water. If this sounds good to you, you'll be in for a treat!

          1. Went to Clyde Common tonight. Pretty good food but great drinks. This is definitely my kind of place; I can't wait to try out the other suggestions. Thanks, Portlanders.

            (By the way, thanks to that NYT article, Clyde Common was *slammed* on Monday.)

            Clyde Common
            1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205