A much as people in Portland love their cocktails, Portland Cocktail Week doesn't exactly have the vibe of citywide inclusiveness—their motto, after all, is "for bartenders, by bartenders." And no harm, no foul; They have plenty to keep them busy without the prying eyes and dumb questions of tourists. If anything it's becoming more of a professionally-oriented convention—just check out the number of career-building courses that make up the new Portland Bartender Institute that anchors the series.

However, there are some classes that are open to the public. (They're listed as "Consumer Classes"—try not to be offended.) And, you can always apply for a festival pass as an enthusiast, if you plan to crash more than a couple of the "After School" parties.

For the more casual interest, a couple highlights include Sunday's opening night "Swig n Swine" at the Jupiter Hotel, a daytime pig BBQ with lots of punch and live music, and the closing party next Thursday (Oct 24), where representatives from across the nation will be pouring out their best signature cocktails—also at the Jupiter. Just prior to that is a unique event that acts as the "finals" for the Bartender Institute's students, in which they are tasked with creating a fully functioning bar in just 10 hours, with the public invited to come try out their handiwork. (That one's at Pure Space.)

On the educational side, this is a good week to brush up on your home bar tending know how: For $30 a pop, you can learn everything from the hands-on basics of craft cocktails to the finer points of single malt whisky, all about apéritifs and bitters, or—my pick—"Women & Whiskies" with Josh Meyer of the Imaginary Authors line of scents, exploring "the relationship between whisk(e)y, fragrance and aroma." Sorry dudes—that one's ladies only. New rule: all are welcome! Hit the site for all the details on PDXCW, of which there are many.

  • Portland Cocktail Week