For professionals, Portland Cocktail Week offers the opportunity to learn in serene and often alcohol-free classrooms. For fans of cocktails, it offers the opportunity to party like a Rockefeller thanks to copious brand promotions involving high-end booze. Plus, many of the nation's best bartenders will be present to transform said boozes into mixology masterpieces. As a thirsty member of the general public, you have two easy options that won't break the bank for Portland Cocktail Week: Sunday's (October 18) Swig n' Swine and Thursday's (October 22) National Bartender Showcase.
If you're looking for high-end cocktails, skip Swig n' Swine: It serves punch out of eight trash cans. More importantly, it's about mingling; raising money for the local Self Improvement, Inc. Charter School; and eating food prepared by Coquine's Katy Millard, Renata's Matt Sigler, and Let Um Eat's Karl Holl. Get $30 tickets here (or face $40 at the door).
Taking place in the Pearl, the National Bartenders Showcase on the other hand showcases 46 expert bartenders from around the nation. It is sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey, Old Forester, St. George Spirits, WhistlePig Rye, and Woodford Reserve, and you can expect plenty of complex signature drinks. Entry costs $20 at the door.
But there is one more option... one that is free but requires dedication. You can register for a Festival Pass and gain first-come, first-serve entry to select events, including select classes, such as Advanced Bartending, and select After School Activities. But you have to sign up for the festival pass asap before registration closes.
Cocktail nerds will likely enjoy the classes, and the After School Activities are notoriously wild, with afterparties at the new House Spirits Distillery and more. This year's standouts include the Friday's (October 23) International Snow Leopard Brunch, which will test just how far brunch cocktails can go, and Cocktails and Dreams, which promises "bar poetry," Long Island Ice Teas, and more.