Friday, December 19, 2008

Repeal Day II: The 'Recon Crew -- Part One

If Jeffery Morgenthaler didn't have enough to do what with keeping the fine folks of Eugene well supplied with excellent drinks, he's also the original champion of the greatest holiday in the world ever -- Repeal day. This grand celebratory occasion first came to my attention last year, and while I like to think I did an ok job at celebrating it, I felt I could do better. With Ed not having to work this time around, I knew we could put together something that would be much more appropriate for the day. We decided that a cocktail crawl, one of epic scope, would be just the ticket. The ticket to where we neither knew nor cared.

Slanted Door

As I was heading up towards the Ferry Building, I got a text from Ed indicating that he was running late. It seemed wrong for me to have my first Repeal Day drink sans Ed, but really, my hands were tied. Scanning the list was an exercise in excess -- There were just too many delectable looking drinks to choose from. I kept getting drawn towards the Agricole Rhum Punch (Rhum Agricole, lime, cane syrup, Pimento Dram, and Angostura) and decided to give it a go.

Damn my eyes if this wasn't a great drink. It managed to be both earthy and light, with a neigh on miraculous balance between sweet and sour. Sitting at the far end of the bar, sipping this cocktail while watching freighters drift into view was an excellent way to start the day. It didn't take long before I stopped checking the clock to see how much longer I would have to wait for Ed to show up. It also soothed the pain of the conversation that sparked up next to me about drinks, and why there's no reason to go to Slanted Door for drinks, because one can get a drink anywhere. But I digress.

Eventually Ed arrived, but by that time there were no seats at the bar, and that simply would not do, so we decided to move on. Fortunately for Ed and his thirst problem, our next stop was just down the block.


Ed and I have met lead Boulevard barman Steve on several occasions, but had never had an opportunity to get down there to give his concoctions a whirl. Fortunately, it was but a brief amble away from Slanted Door. Steve had yet to show up as his shift was still impending, but that is not such a thing to stop us, so we snatched up a menu and took a look. Having not been able to scope out their drink menu on-line I wasn't sure what to expect, but we found a fine looking selection. I went for the Rye Smile (Old Overholt, Luxardo, lemon juice, peach bitters topped off with ginger beer) as I'm a sucker for Rye, Luxardo, and ginger beer. Also, I'm a sucker for pretty much anything. Some say it's a problem, I say it's a solution. Ed had a bit tougher time choosing his drink, but finally settled on the Black Briar -- An interesting concoction made simply of blackberry and pasilla puree, and Woodford with a twist.

The woman who made our drinks (whose name we didn't get because we are terrible people) was deft of hand, and soon delivered unto us two tasty looking libations. The Rye Smile was quite good, with the spice of the Rye and ginger beer working nicely with the sweetness of the Luxardo. Ed's drink very nice as well -- The blackberry was a great foil for the spice from the pepper, but wasn't so much as to overwhelm the notes from the bourbon. Steve showed up as we were finishing off our drinks, and it would have been just plain rude were we to not have more drinks.

As I was scanning the menu, Steve offered to whip Ed up something all off the menu, and the business. Smart man that he is, Ed acquiesced and was soon proffered a New Amsterdam (Bols Genever, apricot liqueur, Amontillado Sherry, Velvet Falernum, and Regan's Orange Bitters). This was an interesting one -- The malt from the Genever hit strong at first, then faded quickly leaving a nutty finish from the Amontillado. It wasn't thrilling me, but after having some time to rest in the glass, those main flavor profiles began to blend into a more pleasing shape. I couldn't bring myself to leave the menu, and went for the Man From Athens, Maker's Mark, Carpano Antica, orange juice, and caramelized peach syrup. I liked this expression of the "West Coast" drink trend of bartenders raiding the kitchen. The syrup added a really nice burnt/sweet note to the overall drink.

We could have stuck around for another, but we had a holiday to celebrate.

Clock Bar

It would have been extremely bad form for us to have left the always ebullient Marco Dionysus out in the cold during our festivities. So it was that we headed up to the Clock Bar. When we arrived, we were feeling very much in the mood for some classics. Ed gravitated to his favorite, the Hemingway Daiquiri (Rum, grapefruit juice, Maraschino, and lime juice),and I sated my need for a Last Word (Gin, Green Chartreuse, lime juice, and Maraschino) lust. Both were exactly what we were looking for. For round two, Ed went for a Wibble -- A heady combination of Plymouth Sloe Gin, Gin, grapefruit, lemon juice, and Creme de Mure -- This has been one of our favorites on the menu for some time. It may be a bit of an obvious statement, but there is something magical about the combination of Gin and Sloe, and the Creme de Mure deepens the mixed fruit flavors of the Sloe. I went for a Pegu (Gin, Curacao, lime juice, Angostura and orange bitters) as a nod to the drink that made the magic happen for me.

I didn't take any photos, and blame Marco's rendition of Shakespeare in the guise of Bugs Bunny. It was a magical performance.

Unfortunately we couldn't stay for the whole performance, as we had to move on to the chaos that was sure to be Cantina.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Helper Monkey

So, um, yeah. The picture isn't that great, but there are a lot of glasses there. Who knew the phrase, "Yeah, fuck it, I'm excited now." could lead to so much delicious chaos.

If you're planning on hitting up Cantina for their Repeal Day festivities tomorrow (Ed and I will be everywhere), and were wondering what the offerings might be like, I'll go ahead and give them the thumbs up.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.