In the before times, Blank Slate was an intimate and somewhat off the beaten path date spot, but it has since transformed into a one-stop cocktail shop. Depending on how hands-on you’re feeling, they’ve got an option for you. Owner and bartender Kierre van de Veere has ten classic and signature cocktails to-go to choose from, but house made cocktail mixers with fresh squeezed juices are also on offer, as well as bottles of liqueurs and bitters if you wanna get really bare bones and DIY.
Inside the bar, van de Veere has set up a temporary bottle shop where tables used to line the wall. The gorgeous setup is illuminated by flickering candles and has everything you need to sharpen your bartending skills, from cocktail tools by Cocktail Kingdom right down to fancy cherries and an assortment of citrus. Cocktail Kingdom, van de Veere tells me, is what every professional bartender uses around town. The brand even has a collection by celebrated Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler.
“It’s been nice for those people that are now making drinks at home… having a jigger on hand, a lot of people don’t have one of those, or they only have one without all the measurements on it. So we just kind of have all the basics here for people,” she says. Even in my short chat with van de Veere, her love for her craft is abundantly clear. The bartender has been giving shaking and stirring tutorials to customers who pick up tools to build their collections. Best of all, van de Veere makes the highbrow craft feel accessible, and I sense that she’d be thrilled to point you in the right direction whether you’re at a loss for where to start or looking to level up.
Ever the writer, I chose the “Last Word,” a sophisticated fusion of Beefeater gin, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo, and lime. Fun facts: Green Chartreuse is the only liqueur in the world that has a completely natural green color. Only two French monks know the exact recipe and distillation process. Protect these monks at all costs, I say. The result is a complex herbal flavor quite unlike anything else I’ve ever tasted. It’s medicinal, but not in a gross way. With 130 plants going into the Chartreuse, this drink should count as one of my daily servings of vegetables, right? Or at least have some sort of green juice-like benefit??
Blank Slate has a very seasonal menu, so keep an eye out as we move into spring. A quick scroll back on their Instagram feed has me really bummed that I missed out on their seasonal pistachio eggnog, but van de Veere teased that she has some new mixers in the works, which I’m sure will be just as stylish and thoughtful as everything else she does. When the bar is in full operation, they cleverly switch up the menu with their monthly “Cocktails for Community” program; a dollar from each featured drink gets donated to a Montavilla non-profit. Like a good neighbor, Blank Slate is there.
Blank Slate, 7201 NE Glisan Suite C, (503) 206-4041, blankslatepdx.com