It’s that horrible time of year when the rain moves in permanently without paying rent; when every supermarket cloaks itself in generic clove scent and eau de fake pumpkin latte like a Jersey Boy left home alone with a bottle of Axe Body Spray.
Nevertheless, a remedy beckons—as it does every year—from Portland’s craft cocktail scene. Here are five elixirs to banish that Cascadian Grey kind of blue.
Three-on-the-Tree at Interurban (4057 N Mississippi Ave)
A Voltron of liqueurs, this strange brew lies at the intersection of sweet and sour. Blessed with Czech herbal spirit, Becherovka, and Four Roses Bourbon, the Three-on-the-Tree is punctuated by Southern-inspired in-house Switzle—a vinegar, water, and ginger mixture that could be described as 19th-century Gatorade. Goes best with an adventurous spirit or a weary soul.
Dzhon Daly at Kachka (720 SE Grand Ave)
While its name alone deserves a golf clap, this stout cocktail is a tiny bear hug from Eastern Europe, replete with house-infused buckwheat brandy, in-house-brewed Russian black tea and Belarusian honey bitters. Sip it slowly and let the brandy do the work. Jives great on a sub-40-degree day.
Peter and the Wolf at the Box Social (3971 North Williams Ave)
Designed for the nostalgic drinker, Peter and the Wolf will transport you back in time to holiday parties at Aunt Edna’s duplex. But this time around, you’ll have peppermint schnapps powering up the hot chocolate. Topped with blow-torched mini-marshmallows and a gingersnap cookie, this drink pairs wonderfully with spontaneous strolls and wistful thinking.
The Hawthorne Lantern at Teardrop Lounge (1015 Northwest Everett St)
Driven by Irishman Founder’s Reserve Whiskey and held up by candied pecans, cranberries and a wisp of sage, the Hawthorne Lantern is basically Thanksgiving in a cocktail glass. Best served with friends, laughter, and the rain falling harmlessly outside your window.
Ginger Hot Toddy at Random Order (1800 NE Alberta St)
I know, I know. Hot Toddies are, like, sooooo last year. But Random Order serves an archetypal toddy to which all others should be compared. It’s simple, delicious, and strong. Ingredients: house-infused ginger whiskey, lemon, ginger, clove, honey, and hot water. Side note: This is a bakery and they do have pie.