The annual celebration of artisan spirits, Toast, returns next week, featuring 120 spirits from across the Pacific Northwest, the US, and from around the globe. Expect whiskey, rum, gin, vodka, tequila, brandy, liqueurs and absinthe and anything else in between; Portland will be well represented by the likes of Aria, Bull Run, Aviation and Stone Barn, plus Bradley’s Tonics and Raft Botanicals. (In general, it would have been nice to have seen more mixer drinks represented, as bitters, botanicals, tonics and vermouth are undergoing as interesting a revival as spirits are.)

There will be limited release spirits, including those from the Oregon Starka Project, a collaboration between Big Bottom Distilling, Bull Run Distilling and Indio Spirits riffing on the Russian tradition of burying a barrel of vodka when a child is born and unearthing it on their wedding day. Aria’s Ryan Csanky will also be concocting six specials cocktails, available for purchase, allowing the customer to choose which Oregon spirit is used in the drink. Five local chefs will be providing small bites to help keep you on an even keel—Elias Cairo (Olympic Provisions), Johanna Ware (Smallwares), Scott Dolich (The Bent Brick), Matthew Fields (Stella Taco PDX) and Kevin Schantz (RingSide Grill).
Toast 2015, Leftbank Annex, 101 N Weidler, March 7, 4-10 pm, tickets $45 (including samples and bites), VIP $60 (also includes two cocktails from the cash bar, access to the VIP lounge, and entry to the distillers after party), $15 non-drinking admission; all available here