High Spirits

Spint’s Alehouse

By John Chandler May 14, 2010 Published in the June 2010 issue of Portland Monthly

The Ice Queen cocktail gets a few drops of cheerywood tincture.


LIKE ALL GREAT PARTNERS—Hall and Oates, Cheech and Chong—Ted Charak and Alyssa Gregg understand something special about harmony. The duo created an instant classic with the Teardrop Lounge when it opened in the Pearl District in 2007. So when news arrived last year that they’d reunited, with Charak composing the cocktail menu for Spints Alehouse, Gregg’s new venture, Portland’s mixology enthusiasts rejoiced.

Not surprisingly, this Eurocentric pub is serving specialty drinks worth lingering over. The bartenders at Spints showcase distinctive mixers in offbeat combinations that elevate the central spirit to new heights. The Ice Queen, for example, with its frothy blend of No. 209 gin and egg whites, is reminiscent of a gin fizz, but yellow chartreuse, grapefruit juice, and a few carefully measured drops of handcrafted cherrywood tincture give it a sweet, warming boost. Chipotle-smoked pear juice mixed with thyme liqueur and Bulleit bourbon delivers a piquant punch of tangy fruit in the aptly named Thyme to Smoke cocktail. And a house-made root beer schnapps will surely stir up sweet childhood memories of Hires root beer barrels.

But, true to its name, Spints is an alehouse. Alongside its rustic German menu of schnitzel and pretzels heaped with toppings like blood sausage and chili, Spints offers a lovingly curated list of brews that boasts more than a dozen local and regional beers on tap—plus a veritable European brewery tour by the bottle. The Duchesse de Bourgogne (a magnificent Belgian red ale with sour cherry notes) is an especially dazzling diversion. But be warned: paying as much as $10 for a pint might be tough for the Hamm’s crowd to swallow.

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