One of the latest additions to Portland’s Foster-Powell neighborhood, 5 & Dime opened in March as a much-needed cocktail source in the up-and-coming district. Starring a blockbuster duo behind its bar and operation, co-owners and bartenders Colin Carroll and Alex “Goose” Gelser both come from upscale cocktail joints but aim to keep their own shop approachable, casual and at a lower price tag.
“After working in high-end cocktail [bars] for some time, we were put off by the feeling of exclusivity that generally comes with it,” Carroll says. “We found ourselves constantly hanging out in neighborhood bars that were extremely fun or cool, but lacked the backbone of a strong drink program… Through our pricing, knowledge and experience, we feel like we can be some of the few people to bridge the gap of neighborhood haunt and cocktail haven.”
The menu also keeps it light with some healthy humor going into the production of the drinks. For example, when the two were crafting cocktails in collaboration with Oregon music festival Pickathon last year, they named a drink “L.E.A.N.” in honor of their love of rap music and as a nod to the codeine-cough syrup and Sprite drink many rappers reference.
“The main difference being we’re not feeding anyone drugs, and we’re using high-end ingredients,” Carroll jokes about the cocktail. “The whole idea was, ‘Let’s make a purple drink’ and then we built it around that simple idea.”
Carroll shares the recipe for Low Key, a cocktail and story also from a Pickathon collaboration, where the drink was matched with food from Portland chef Han Hwang. “That day was so much fun, and the cocktail encapsulates everything we believe in when developing drinks,” he says. “It really represents our views on simply made drinks with a complex component to it.”
Three ingredients — one being a house-made cordial that Carroll also provides the recipe for — make up this chill bourbon refresher, just in time to quench your thirst this hot weekend.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces bourbon
1¼ ounces honey/herb/lemon cordial (recipe follows)
2-3 ounces soda, to taste
Pour the bourbon and cordial into a mixing tin with ice, stirring to combine. Pour through a strainer into a Collins glass with fresh ice and top with soda.
Yields about 2 cups
2 sprigs tarragon
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs sage
2 sprigs rosemary
1 cup pea flowers
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup honey
Wrap the herbs and pea flowers in a sachet. Combine lemon juice and honey in a medium saucepan and heat until the mixture reaches a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the herb sachet. Steep until cool, about 1 hour. Remove sachet and strain.