PDX and Freestyle Mixology

August 30, 2012

Mixology is alive and well in Portland, Oregon.  Known as PDX (for the Airport Code) PDX is a place of great local ingredients and passionate mixologists who ply their wares upon an appreciative audience. 

At OX in PDX they specialize in cocktails that speak to the adventurous cocktailian in all of us.

I was invited by Sheri Wetherell to participate in the International Food Bloggers Conference as a creative freestyle mixologist.  What I discovered in PDX defied all my preconceived notions of cocktailian culture.  The cocktail culture in PDX is like none other in the country. 

Cocktails are flavor driven utilizing a plethora of locally sourced spirits and ingredients.  My session was graciously sponsored by Zaya Rum, House Spirits, Tenneyson Absinthe, Royal Rose Simple Syrups and Bitter End Bitters.  I brought my Mavea pitcher with me for the water element for my creations- done freestyle!

But what does freestyle cocktails mean?  Freestyle means discovering flavor-without consulting others for consensus.  I use my chef-trained sensibility for flavor and my vivid imagination for new combinations. 

Portland is a marvelous city to explore.  It is in many ways a time-capsule for cocktail culture!

Free House is one of the cocktail lounges that I enjoyed most of all.  Sure there are many fabulous cocktail bars in town, but Free House exemplifies the passion for flavor that I find most beguiling.

My friend Lance Mayhew introduced me to Free House.  It's his neighborhood bar.  I'd spend more than enough of my disposable income at Free House.  Between Charcuterie from Olympic Provisions and the fabulous cocktail list, I could seriously find myself in a constant state of psychic tension. 

There are many photo opportunities in PDX.  How come I only stayed four days?

Visually, PDX is a striking place.  Especially the cocktails!

I just wandered around taking pictures until my feet got tired.. Then I walked some more!

If you think the cocktail culture is vibrant in PDX, the beer culture is equally so, if not more vibrant!

I traveled the city with a thirst unmatched in recent memory!

Between the diversity of food trucks and the abundance of micro-breweries, I did pretty well with very few dollars.

Coffee is everything in PDX.  Stumptown is not the only player, but I swear their Mocha may well be the best I've ever enjoyed anywhere!

Why do I torture myself with lousy coffee when I can get brilliance in PDX?

Back to my presentation.

Zaya Rum, Bitter End Bitters, Royal Rose Simple Syrup

Appetizer of fresh Riccota cheese at OX

At Bruce Shaw's "Harvard Common Press" Cocktail Party at Mother's in PDX

There is discovery everywhere you look...

Do I miss PDX?  Absolutely.  This city is a keeper. 

All photography by Warren Bobrow with my Leica M8. 

Klaus and a well crafted PDX cocktail. 

Foodista is holding the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle next year.  I cannot wait!  Klaus cannot wait!