Townshend's

Critic’s note: This occasional entry is about stuff that I eat or drink that you should eat or drink, too. It may be about items that are locally made, or they may not be, but you’ll be able to find them in town. And you should.


SERVICE INDUSTRY FOLKS and other food hangers-on’s love of fernet is now totally cliché.

Its minty, bitter, anise-tinged taste is an insiders’ club for those with an adventurous palate—a digestif that sends the uninitiated rubes running back to their post-dinner decaf.

It’s high time that Portland, ye olde city of clubby food culture, made its own and stopped relying on Italy for its fix. And after years of recipe development, Townshend’s Tea Company’s distillery Thomas and Sons has put out a limited release.

It’s not as good as the original (nothing ever will be), but that’s not the point. It’s a fine homage, made with Douglas fir, birch bark, and Willamette hops. It’s got the welcome throat-tightening rush of herbs and spices, and while slightly more harsh than Fernet-Branca, it’s still a great way to wind down a meal. $34.95/bottle, available at Thomas and Sons’ tasting room (4211 SE Milwaukie) and in select liquor stores