I was hanging out in the Teardrop Lounge last Tuesday before, and after, going to witness the awesome R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE at Portland Center Stage. While enjoying a fine cocktail from Teardrop's new winter menu, I talked with part owner David Shenaut.
David and I talked a good deal about ice. I wondered if the amount, or type, of ice actually mattered in a cocktail. I mean, really? David assured me that the size and shape of ice could make a big difference, not just in how it chilled the drink but also in the dilution rate. Apparently, for example, a sphere of ice cools more efficiently, with very little dilution, than your average cube.
I know this seems like some serious cocktail micro-management, but the Teardrop strives for nothing less than complete perfection in their drinks. Which is why I love the place.
And of course the NY Times has the Teardrop Lounge on their radar. Yesterday, in an article about smoky cocktails (yum), writer Jonathan Miles expressed some wonderment at the Teardrop's smoked ice:
But smoked ice? That's how Daniel Shoemaker, an owner of the Teardrop Lounge in Portland, Ore., sneaks smoke into his drinks. A block of ice goes into a perforated pan set above another, unperforated pan inside a smoker. Three hours and a whole lot of cherrywood smoke later, the melted ice emerges as smoke-infused water in the bottom pan, which is refrozen into a block, then hand-cracked for cocktails. In September Mr. Shoemaker introduced his ice in an autumnal mixture of bourbon, lemon juice, sherry and roasted pecan syrup. "But it works really well in a Hemingway daiquiri," he added.
Note to self: Next time at Teardrop order Hemingway daiquiri with smoked ice... Okay, got it.
Aside from the Teardrop shout-out, the article is pretty interesting, if a bit behind the trend. I mean, Lance Mayhew's been smokin' booze for quite some time now. I remember a drink he served me last spring that tasted something like drinking a tall glass of lemonade next to a campfire. Very nice.
Ya know, sometimes I forget how lucky I am to live and write in such an amazing town.