Welcome to the ongoing installment of our travel series, where Cocktail Builder hops around the country to find the hottest cocktails from newly opened bars. (After all, who better to provide a little libation inspiration than some of the most sought-after bartenders in the nation?) Not only are we bringing you info on where to go and what to order, but we’re even giving you recipes to create these cocktails from the comfort of your very own home.
Our next stop: Portland, home of some of the best damn food in the country… and the cocktails to go with it.
When Victoria opened its doors roughly a year ago, millennials couldn’t have been more excited. After all, the entire cocktail menu is named after characters or plot devices featured in one of the most beloved movies from millennial childhood: The Princess Bride. Lovers of the film can order up a Storming the Castle or The Six-Fingered Man, but we recommend the Inigo Montoya. The tequila-and-lime cocktail gets an updated twist, thanks to the addition of wine-based spirit Cardamaro (similar to earthy Cynar, but lighter) and the spicy yet citrusy notes of cardamom bitters. See recipe
Despite its place in American history, we don’t often see pisco featured on many U.S. cocktails menus. So when we stumbled upon the Green Muse at mussel bar La Moule, we knew we’d found something special. Bartender Tommy Klus (formerly of the Multnomah Whiskey Library) expertly pairs the South American brandy with lime juice and anise-flavored pastis for a combo that’s fruity, herbal, and fresh. The addition of sparkling wine makes this a bright and refreshing drink that’s perfect for afternoon sipping. Order one up (or make one at home), served alongside Pacific Northwest mussels. See recipe
Named 2015 Portland Restaurant of the Year, it’s no surprise that Imperial has a food menu that doesn’t disappoint. Equally impressive, however, is its cocktail list that focuses on complex and potent concoctions. We’re particularly big fans of their take on the Vieux Carré, a classic New Orleans recipe with whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, and Benedictine. At most bars, a Vieux Carré will set you back roughly 12 bucks, but at Imperial this cocktail is served on tap for a mere $8. Even better? Head to the location for happy hour, when the Vieux Carré is an unheard-of $5. See recipe
Photo credit: Courtesy of Victoria