A Portland Cocktail Week Primer

You don't have to be a professional barkeep to enjoy the offerings from this year's mixology festival.

By Nathan Tucker October 15, 2013

Put away your whiskey beer-backs, Bridgetown drinking folk: Portland Cocktail week descends on the Rose City from October 19–24 for its fourth annual gathering of industry professionals and mixology enthusiasts.

In addition to celebrating the art of the perfectly balanced cocktail, this year’s festival is all about education, introducing the Portland Bartender’s Institute to offer barkeeps from around the country extensive instruction in Majors like “Advanced Craft Cocktail Bartending” and “Bar Ownership.”

But don’t despair, amateur shakers and stirrers! There are plenty of Cocktail Week events open to the thirsty, curious public. Whether you want to mix the perfect Old Fashioned, learn all about bitters, or just go to a pig roast, Portland Cocktail Week has you covered. Check out the whole host of boozy events:

Saturday October 19

Shaken vs. Stirred: The Perfect Classical Cocktail with Basil Hayden
11 – 12:30 pm, Imperial, 410 SW Broadway. $30 per person
You know that person who just waltzes into a party and starts whipping up classy drinks for everyone? You could be that person. Unless you don’t like that person, in which case you can take the information gleaned from Imperial bar guru Brandon Wise at this seminar to point out how terribly unbalanced that show-off’s Manhattan is. Imperial’s award-winning chef Vitaly Paley offers some light food to keep you sharp enough to remember something. For reservations, please click here.

Women and Whisk(e)y
2-3:30, Biwa, 215 SE 9th, $30 per person
Just what it sounds like—this event is an opportunity for women to learn about a spirit historically considered a man’s drink. Includes light fare from Biwa. For reservations, please call Biwa at (503) 239-8830, or email [email protected].

Scotch Malt Whisky Blind Presented by Highland Par Single Malt Scotch Whisky
2-3:30, The Richmond Bar, 3203 SE Division St, $30 per person.
This class is an exhaustive introduction to the world of Scotch Malt Whisky, in which you will explore the sensory techniques used by master whisky makers to produce the finest single malt, and taste and smell 16-20 different Scotch Malt Whiskies blind. For tickets, email Martin Daraz.

Sunday October 20

Apéritif Cocktails 101: Elegant Fundamentals with Lady Lillet
11-12:30, St. Jack, 2039 SE Clinton St. $30 per person
Head to St. Jack for an early aperitif hour with Lady Lillet (Amanda Victoria), Imbibe Magazine Senior Editor Tracy Howard, and the restaurant’s barmaster John Salas. While snacking on pastries from the St. Jack’s patisserie, guests will create two aperitif style cocktails and learn about the history and future of this delicious drink. For reservations, email John Salas at [email protected].

I’ll Take Manhattans: The Story of Bitters
2-3:30, Multnomah Whiskey Library, 1124 SW Alder. $30 per person
The story of bitters doesn’t begin and end with that dusty old bottle of Angostura in your liquor cabinet. This class from bar legend Dale DeGroff gives attendees a historical overview of bitters and their ingredients, a tasting of five different varieties, and Manhattans with rye, bourbon, and bitters of your choice. Light bites provided by Multnomah Whiskey Library.

Swig & Swine
2–6, The Jupiter, 800 E Burnside, $30 per person
It’s a pig roast, people. What else do you really need to know? Ok, fine: the price of entry also gets you live music, plenty of deliciously boozy punch, and a t-shirt. Proceeds benefit Self Enhancement Inc. Charter School, a local nonprofit organization supporting at-risk urban youth.

Tuesday, October 22

An Evening of Cocktails with Cripple Creek
8-11 PM, Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Avenue
Cripple Creek puts on a live cocktail extravaganza, crafting beverages on stage that are passed to the audience in tasting portions. The New York group pairs their creations with music, lighting, and other sensory effects. Tickets available through the Star Theater’s website.

Cognac Park: An Evening of Desserts and Cognac
8-10 PM, Rookery Bar at Raven & Rose, 1331 SW Broadway
Special cognac cocktails will be available to purchase alongside complementary desserts from Raven & Rose chosen to pair with the spirit.

Wednesday, October 23

Portland Cocktail Week Whiskey Wednesday
7-10 PM, Rookery Bar at Raven & Rose, 1331 SW Broadway
This free event celebrates everyone’s favorite alliterative mid-week drinking excuse with special cocktails from Pernod Ricard

Thursday, October 24

Bacardi’s Portland Cocktail Week Bar Challenge
6-8 PM, Pure Space, 1315 NW Overton St. $30 per person
Starting early Thursday morning, four teams of eight student bartenders will race to construct a fully functional bar in just 10 hours, in a wacky Top Chef-esque finale to their studies. You’ll get to see their work and taste their creations when the bars are unveiled at 6 PM that night. Tickets available at the door.

USBG Closing Night Party
8-11 PM, Jupiter Hotel, 800 E Burnside, $25 per person
Members of the U.S. Bartending Guild from across the country—36 in total—will be on hand to mix drinks, representing their local pride with their cocktails. Tickets available at the door, proceeds benefit the USBG.

Saturday, October 26

Sea, Salt, and Tequila
3-6 PM, Rookery Bar at Raven & Rose, 1331 SW Broadway, $50 per person
Raven & Rose teams with Jacobsen Salt Co. to celebrate seafood, salt, and a new single-barrel highland agave tequila personally selected by bar director Dave Shenaut. Check out our preview of this sure-to-be-delicious event.

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