This Saturday, like most, calls for a cocktail. And the eight craft distilleries known as Portland’s Distillery Row — plus three from the NW Distiller’s District — have dedicated their monthly Cocktail Crawl in the city’s Central Eastside neighborhood to the classic party punch. On Saturday, September 15, each distillery will be placing its own spin on punch for guests to sample and “crawl” to the next joint for its original take on the drink.
Comprised of House Spirits Distillery, New Deal Distillery, Wild Roots Vodka, Vinn Distillery, Thomas & Sons Distillery, Stone Barn Brandyworks, Eastside Distilling and Rolling River Spirits — with the NW Distiller’s District tasting rooms including Bull Run Distillery, Freeland Spirits and Aria Gin — Distillery Row was founded in 2009 as a non-profit trade association. The monthly Cocktail Crawls officially kicked into gear earlier this year.
“We have this pretty tight organization that thrives and prides itself off of encouraging visitors to visit all of the different distilleries, not just go to ones they know but explore the wide range of products, processes and personalities behind them all,” says Michael Heavener, the Row’s president. “We’ve been doing that for 10 years now and the crawl is an extension of that… We do it to unify this into a special occasion, a once-a-month classic cocktail and the charity involved.”
For this weekend’s affair, Planned Parenthood is the beneficiary. Each month, one of the 11 distilleries selects its own charity, reserving June for Negroni Week benefiting the Oregon Food Bank.
Heavener says the experience is unlike any other in the distillery realm, offering the consumer something new that showcases the spirit and what it can do. Guests are encouraged to compare and contrast the different drinks from each distillery, allowing them to learn different ways to utilize a classic cocktail at home.
“I look back [when] we just sampled [spirits] straight and it seemed fun and educational but now I just picture people with little cups sipping vodka – I can’t believe we turned that into a thing,” Heavener says. “Now it’s much more of an experience, it’s an evolution of how distilleries have been considered. Instead of a booze factory, it’s a destination for drinking.”
Three of the distilleries give us sneak a peek as to what they are pouring this weekend with recipes here.
Hibiscus in the Rain
Recipe courtesy of Bull Run Distillery
Makes 1 cocktail
1 1/2 ounces strawberry lemonade
1 ounce Bull Run Straight Bourbon
1/2 ounce Portland Soda Works Hibiscus Cardamom syrup
2-3 ounces ginger beer
Pour all ingredients into a glass and fill with ice. Top with 2-3 ounces of ginger beer.
The One-Two Punch
Autumn is Coming
Recipe courtesy of Stone Barn Brandyworks
8 ounces Stone Barn apricot liqueur
12 ounces Camellia Grove Rooibos Kombucha
4 ounces Punt de Mes
4 ounces Averna amaro
4 ounces lemon juice
2 ounces cardomom simple syrup
Pour all ingredients into a punch bowl and stir. Serve with ice.