A cocktail’s name can be a deciding factor in selecting one menu item over another, especially for adventurous drinkers. How do bartenders come up with creative yet memorable names to describe their creations? Bartenders pull inspiration from their lives, popular culture, entertainment, history and more.
For one Portland bar, Raven & Rose, the history of the establishment’s building provides not only memorable naming conventions, but a taste of the past for imbibers.
Most of the cocktail names on the menu at Raven & Rose are a nod to a historical aspect of the Ladd Carriage House, the 1800s-erected historical building where the bar and restaurant are located. Take the Tilton Sour. It’s named for Charles E. Tilton, the business partner of Portland’s mayor, William Ladd in the 1850s. The duo formed the Ladd-Tilton Bank, which was the first U.S. bank north of San Francisco.
“We have changed the whiskey several times over the past four years for this cocktail and we really love showcasing the spirit,” says David Shenaut, Raven & Rose’s bar director. “As always, we take a classic and try to make the very best version of it that we can and then we like to name it after someone that is connected to the building’s history so we can make it a part of our story.”
The Tilton Sour is a take on the classic whiskey sour and currently made with Buffalo Trace WL Weller whiskey, plus fresh lemon, cane and egg white. Make it at home with this recipe provided by Raven & Rose.
By David Shenaut of Raven & Rose
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces your favorite PNW whiskey
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup (1:1 made with evaporated cane sugar)
3/4 ounce egg white
Garnish: Angostura bitters, speared cherry
Place the whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Without adding ice, seal the shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Add ice, seal again, and shake for 7-10 seconds more to chill. Fit a fine-mesh strainer over the top of the shaker and pour the cocktail through into a coupe glass. Garnish with several dots of bitters and a speared cherry.