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What the Eater Portland Team Has Been Drinking This Month

From Japanese gin to pour-over coffee

A hand holds a fuchsia cocktail with a spring of mint and little square ice cubes
A cocktail made with Hibisbloom vanilla-infused hibiscus concentrate

While stuck at home, many of the Eater Portland contributors have been ordering takeout, tackling cooking projects, or hitting the farmer’s market. But beyond the world of food, the Eater team is also digging into the home bar, playing around with local spirits or ordering takeout cocktails from Vancouver restaurants. These are the drinks the Eater team have been knocking back this month:

I know a little about Japanese whiskey but recently realized I don’t know much at all about Japanese gin. So, I did that thing where you give a loved one a present in order to reap the benefits yourself. I did a little research since giving a bottle of liquor as a gift requires it to be a little special without necessarily being wildly cost-prohibitive. That’s where Ki No Bi Kyoto dry gin came in. Based on a simple OLCC search, I discovered just a handful of liquor stores carried it within 10 miles of my home, one surprisingly located in that half-abandoned strip mall on 122nd Ave. and Glisan St. where the Pig ‘n Pancake is. It was fate. This gin is made from a rice spirit base and is pleasantly citrusy from yuzu. Of course, there’s an herbal juniper note, but Ki No Bi gin is also earthier than a typical London dry gin, possibly from the sansho pepper, so it adds character to a classic martini (which was how I drank it).” -Krista Garcia, Eater Portland contributor

Thankfully, the State of Washington is allowing restaurants to sell pre-mixed cocktails. The last few sunny days have put me in a margarita state of mind, and I’ve been sampling from different places in Vancouver every night. My favorites so far are the mezcal margarita from Little Conejo, the industry margarita from Rally Pizza, and the house margarita from Woody’s Tacos. They’re all a bit different. I like the smokiness of the Banhez Espadin mezcal in Little Conejo mezcal margaritas. Rally Pizza’s industry margarita is one of my favorite drinks during normal times. Bringing home a mason jar of this cocktail culture take on the margarita with a splash of Cocchi Americano brings back memories of life before COVID-19. Woody’s Tacos’ house drink tastes like the margaritas I had in Mexico — fresh lime juice, simple syrup, spiked with a generous pour of tequila.” -Rachel Pinsky, Eater Portland’s Vancouver correspondent

My new favorite drink mixer is Hibisbloom’s vanilla infused hibiscus concentrate, especially when it’s mixed with gin botanicals and fizzy lavender kombucha. I may not have crystal-clear ice cubes for the perfect cocktail, but this floral and summery concoction with a rich red-violet hue is a happy hour winner at my house.” -Waz Wu, Eater Portland contributor

“I’m going for quick and easy cocktails made within a minute. With that in mind, what could be simpler than a gin and tonic? Jaz Spirits Cold Tree Gin, with its surprising honey-hued color and smokey, citrus flavor, is my current go-to. Let me assure you, that this is not your traditional 20th century, juniper-y gins. An ice cube, two glugs of gin topped with a generous splash of tonic and a little squeeze of lime, and voila, it’s happy hour at my house.” -Joy Church, Eater Portland contributor and “Joy of Drinking” podcast host

Have I been drinking a ton of wine in the last month? I mean, sure. I’ve particularly loved bottles of skin-contact wines picked out by Jane Smith at Dame, including Reka Koncz’s Ora and Maloof’s Scrambled Sticks. But more than wine, I’ve been drinking a ton of coffee. I start every morning with a cup of Deadstock’s wicked-fruity Fresh Prince roast. I like my coffee like I like my wine: with a good amount of acid. If I actually make it to the cafe, I go even farther, acid-wise, and get one of those LeBronald Palmers— coffee + lemonade + tea. Don’t know how it works, but it does.” -Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater Portland editor

“I got my start in writing by focusing on Portland bars and their cocktails, so these last few months have been odd for me. I miss Portland bars. But I’ve been extremely grateful for the wine deliveries from wine bars like 45 North, Southeast Wine Collective, and Shift Drinks. For instance, I finally got to try Day Wines’ Tears of Vulcan, which, in my opinion, answers the central question of its maker Brianne Day’s Eater article asking whether she should even be making wine—for me, it’s a strong ‘yes.’ Otherwise, I’ve greatly appreciated the state allowing local distilleries to delivery to homes. It’s given me gin and tonics from Freeland Spirits, negronis from Aria Gin via At Your Door, and new single malts to try from Westward Whiskey. Finally, the bottled low-proof cocktails from Botanist and Someday have been amazing.” -Alex Frane, Eater Portland guest editor