Lush vineyards and some of the world’s finest pinot noir make Oregon wine country one of the most renowned wine regions in the U.S. But when it comes to sipping delectable beverages crafted in Oregon, there are a number of other options that visitors should sample before leaving.
Start things off with a good cocktail by heading to Portland’s Hotel deLuxe. This Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel boasts the swanky Driftwood Room bar that features a fresh new menu of herbal cocktails starring ingredients that are harvested right from the hotel’s rooftop garden. Now that’s farm to table — or, perhaps garden to glass! Enjoy the dark wood ceiling and mirrored bar and order the American Buffalo, which includes muddled pineapple sage, one of the newest herbs to be added to the hotel’s rooftop collection. Want a throwback to childhood? Try the Lavender Lemonade and relive lemonade stands of your youth thanks to the delicate and sweet combination of Monopolowa vodka, Farigoule French thyme liqueur, fresh lemon juice and lavender simple syrup.
Oven and Shaker
Grab a bite to eat with a cocktail at Oven and Shaker bar and pizzeria in Portland’s always-lively Pearl District. Oven and Shaker is the result of a perfect culinary marriage between six-time James Beard nominated chef Cathy Whims, restaurateur Kurt Huffman and one of Portland’s finest cocktail artisans, Ryan Magarian. At the bar, you’ll find whimsical cocktails like the Louisiana Handshake, which combines Old Overholt whiskey, freshly pressed lemon juice, simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters, Angostura bitters and absinthe mist. Or, go for the Corleone, with seedless green grapes, Clear Creek Grappa di Sangiovese, lemon juice, simple syrup, Regan’s No. 6 Orange bitters and Aviation American Gin.
House Spirits Distillery
Speaking of Aviation, Magarian is the co-founder of Aviation American Gin along with Oregon craft spirit pioneer, House Spirits Distillery. (Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave this crisp, fresh gin a 97-point rating — five points higher than Bombay Sapphire.) House Spirits Distillery is one of a handful of innovative small distilleries making handcrafted, locally distilled spirits in a rather inconspicuous neighborhood in Southeast Portland that is fondly, and now famously, known as Distillery Row. Along Distillery Row you will find more than 20 unique liquors, ranging from vodkas and gins to absinthe and flavored liquors. In the bottle-lined walls of the House Spirits tasting room, you will appreciate a respect for tradition while sampling the Westward Oregon Straight Malt Whiskey or Volstead Vodka.
House Spirits is also partnering with Raven & Rose, a restaurant located in the historic Ladd Carriage House building in downtown Portland. The popular single-barrel spirits program at Raven & Rose features handpicked barrels from around the world as well as local distilleries; the establishment is currently featuring House Spirits Distillery’s Gamle Aquavit, bottled especially for the restaurant. Cocktails like The Hayes’ Maker and Peach Cobbler feature the Gamle Aquavit and highlight the at-first-sweet-but-ultimately-dry-and-peppery spirit.
BridgePort Brewing Company
Think you could leave the region and not experience the famed craft breweries Portland, and Oregon as a whole, is known for? With more craft brewers per capita in Portland than any other place on earth, pretty much everyone will find something to suit their tastes. One great place to start is Oregon’s oldest craft brewery, BridgePort Brewing Company, which is situated in an old industrial building that was converted into a hip multi-level hangout. With IPAs, red ale and a harvest ale currently on tap, guests will experience full and delicious hop flavors paired perfectly with floral, citrus or vanilla notes.
Full Sail Brewing Company
For your last drinking diversion, you’ll need to put the top down on the rental car and make the hour-long drive out to Hood River along the breathtaking Columbia River. See waterfalls, take a hike and end up at Full Sail Brewing Company. As the leaves start to change colors and autumn sneaks in, sip on the first amber ale brewed here in Oregon — the Full Sail Amber Ale. The medium-bodied selection has a floral and a slightly spicy finish — something to leave you on a high note as you vow to experience even more locally produced drinks and venues the next time you visit Oregon.