Bar Star

The results are in! You, our fair readers, have voted Clyde Common’s Jeffrey Morgenthaler your Bartender of the Year.

January 14, 2011 Published in the February 2011 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Ray Gordon

Here, he riffs on Portland’s drinking scene and shakes up the perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail.

What distinguishes the rose city’s drinking crowd? The fact that we have a really sophisticated and educated clientele. People take drinking seriously here.

Who’s your favorite local bartender? Mike Robertson at the Driftwood Room. He was one of the first bartenders to welcome me to Portland. He’s a great host and a great bartender.

How can Portland step up its bartending game? There’s a lot of emphasis on people wanting to make up their own drinks these days. It’d be nicer if people paid more attention to learning the classic drinks. Anybody can dream up fancy new cocktails, but they can’t make you a good whiskey sour.

What’s your cocktail of choice? Piña colada. No, that’s a lie! Gin and tonic.

What Valentine’s Day cocktail cliché should be avoided at all costs? Drinks with sugared rims.

How did you choose your perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail? I was thinking about very traditional romantic drinks, and those always involve sparkling wine. But I wanted something a little different. And I remembered a drink I had in New York at a great tequila bar called Mayahuel, where my friend Phil Ward is a bartender. It’s earthy, complex, and slightly bitter. And it’s pink! But a good pink … it’s a kind of butch pink.

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