After our wonderful dinner and drinks at Beaker & Flask, we headed back to downtown Portland, where I dropped off my (very understanding) girlfriend at Powell's Books while I headed around the corner to the Teardrop Lounge. This cocktailian temple is sleek and highly-designed, with a circular bar with a teardrop-shaped island (and suspended shelf above it, which seemed to function as something of an additional speed rail.) The place was pretty quiet when I was there, and the menu (I can't link to it here because of silly Flash design, but click to that main site, then "menus", then "cocktails") was fascinating. Rarely do I see a menu where I immediately want to try more than half of the drinks, and this one was full of really creative, interesting-sounding libations.
I chose the "Impossible Dream", which apparently was the brain child of one David Shenaut and consists of Small's gin, Brew Dr. white rose kombucha, lime, the Rothman & Winter apricot liqueur, and gomme syrup. I couldn't picture it, and was especially curious about the presence of kombucha in the mix. Its fermented astringency worked really well well with the creamy-sweet liqueur, and the herbal gin brought it all together. Small's Gin is local to Portland, and is produced by Ransom, who also produced the Gewurztraminer grappa that David Shenaut had me taste at Beaker & Flask and which I enjoyed so much. (They also make a great and unusual Old Tom gim.) Small's is heavy on the cardamom in addition to the usual juniper and other botanicals. The Brew Dr. kombucha is also local to Portland.
After just the one drink -- I really wanted to stay longer, but my time was running short -- I was happy to get a Twitter message from Blair Reynolds (aka Trader Tiki) letting me know he was behind the stick at Thatch in Northeast Portland. So off I zoomed to check it out. Thatch has an unassuming exterior set in a commercial strip, but feels like a tiki paradise once you're in; you cross a small footbridge over a rock-lined pool to get to the bar, which is liberally festooned with tiki decor and its namesake thatch. It was fun to meet Blair, whose enthusiasm and depth of knowledge fairly bubble out of him. At his suggestion -- since I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about the Tiki kingdom -- he fixed me a Three Dots and a Dash, which was fantastically good: a little sweet, a a little tangy, a little spicy, and a little bit funky too.
After shooting the breeze for a while, I decided to head back to Powell's to collect my girlfriend from the briar patch, since we had to fly home the next day. I said my goodbyes to Portland -- I greatly enjoyed my all-too-brief visit to this very livable city that boasts some excellent drinking opportunities. Can't wait to come back soon.
(Thanks to all who made me great drinks and pointed me in the right directions, especially David Shenaut, Blair Reynolds, Lindsey Johnson, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, and Ricky & Brian at Teardrop.)