The Canard hype continues to build as the April 16 opening date approaches, and bar manager Aaron Zieske is at the center. Everyone knows that Canard will have a killer wine list with Andy Fortgang at the helm, but the restaurant’s cocktail menu is no joke: Because neighboring sister restaurant Le Pigeon doesn’t have a full bar, Canard will, in certain ways, play that role for both restaurants.
Zieske, an alum of San Diego’s James-Beard-semifinalist Polite Provisions, wanted to create cocktails that pair with the restaurant’s whimsical menu and work from early in the morning (around 8 or 9 a.m.) to late a night (midnight). He’s partial to aperitifs and fortified wines, so he’ll play with things like calvados and apricot brandy for low-proof drinking. The former may make it into a boozy milkshake once the bar opens for lunch (Canard will open at 4 p.m. to start), paired with chef Gabriel Rucker’s house-made soft serve. He pairs the apricot brandy with a foie gras fat-washed bourbon for the Foie Turn, a nod to Rucker’s penchant for liver. For something a little lighter (but not much), the Breakfast of Champions is a dirty martini lover’s fever dream, with caper brine, celery bitters and, optionally, an oyster.
But this is Portland, so of course Canard will have plenty of brown liquor. Zieske lightens things up in the Touch and Go, brightening up bourbon with passionfruit and lime, as well as darker agents like Campari and Amaro Nonino. For those looking for scotch, Zieske combines blended scotch with a pineapple-rhubarb cordial as well as absinthe.
Canard will have two happy hours, from 4 to 5 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to midnight. During that time, expect half-off oysters and $5 aperitifs.
Check out the restaurant’s opening cocktail menu: