FOR ITS THIRD consecutive year, Portland Cocktail Week is bringing over 500 people from the bartending community together for a week of seminars, tastings, and afterparties to threaten even the most seasoned livers. Since springing to life in 2010 (thanks to Lindsey Johnson and David Shenaut, former president of the Oregon Bartenders' Guild), the event has doubled in attendance and is a great excuse to (a) drink and (b) promote Portland's thriving bar and restaurant scene across the country.
I trust few endorsements above those of the great men and women who pour me whiskey, and with members of every single chapter of the United States Bartenders' Guild coming to Portland for Cocktail Week, it serves as stellar promotion for local industry. These bartenders will be guest-tending around town all week, which gives you a great excuse to get out and try cocktails from visiting pros in the comfort of your own neighborhood. Thirty bars around town have promised a $7 cocktail for the Portland Cocktail Week Bar Crawl—many of which appropriately showcase our selection of local spirits—so stop in during those five days and try them out.
While our local bartending community is saving most of the week's boozy fun for themselves, they're letting the general public in for a few great events. Here are some highlights of this year's Cocktail Week for the non-industry cocktail aficionados:
On the Town with Dale DeGroff: In a storytelling-style night at Living Room Theaters, renowned New York mixologist and James Beard Award-winning author Dale DeGroff will be singing and speaking the history of American cocktails (and mixing at least a few of them for his lucky audience to savor). And at $35 (in advance), it's less than you might normally pay for a night out—so there's no excuse not to enjoy fun and drinks from one of the most influential individuals in the history of craft cocktail culture. Proceeds benefit the Museum of the American Cocktail, a nonprofit organization based in New Orleans.
Living Room Theaters, 341 SW 10th, Mon Oct 22, 6 pm, $35-40, tickets at
Portland vs. Seattle Bartenders Soccer: Watch some of the best bartenders around town play a game of soccer against their peers from Seattle—and cheer them on while enjoying booze from sponsors Novo Fogo. I know I'll get a kick out of seeing these classy mixologists scream "Goooooal," while I sip punch and yell at our Northern neighbors. And the best part: It's free.
Portland Futsal, 3401 SE 17th, Thurs Oct 25, 11 am, free
Pig and Punch Party: After leading a group of volunteers at the Leadership and Entrepreneurship Public Charter High School on East Burnside, the Bon Vivants (a San Francisco-based events and bartending team) and Imbibe magazine will host a celebratory gathering involving all you can infer from the event's name. Thirty bucks gets you access to the party, the punch, the roasted pigs (note: very plural), and a T-shirt, and it benefits the LEP charter school.
YU, 800 SE 10th, Thurs Oct 25, 11 am-5 pm, $30
America: Red, White, and Booze: The biggest event of the week will be the closing party at the Jupiter Hotel—a patriotic party that promises cocktails from 34 different states under one roof mixed by their own representatives. Admission is $40 for food as well as more drinks than you should finish, which is considerably cheaper than drinking at even one of the visiting bartenders' out-of-state establishments. Did I mention they're expecting over 500 in attendance for the week? This will probably be a damn good party. Also, we've got free tickets for the winning: email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org with "MERICA" in the subject line by noon on Tuesday, October 23, and we'll randomly select one lucky winner to receive two tickets to Portland Cocktail Week's flagship party.
Jupiter Hotel, 800 E Burnside, Thurs Oct 25, 8 pm-midnight, $40
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Stay tuned to Blogtown for future details, interviews, free tickets, coverage of afterparties, recaps, and even more fun. These licensed pourers really know how to celebrate their profession, so you can look forward to an unparalleled atmosphere of tipsy and downright contagious comraderie.