Obscure Holiday Cocktail Party V

Last weekend the some members of the Portland food blogger crew got together to for the 5th annual Obscure Holiday Cocktail Party. As in past years, each of the 6 entries were custom paired with cheeses selected by Shannon Tallman, CPP.

My entry this year was the (mostly) locally sourced Want Knot:

1 oz. Maine Craft Distilling Alchemy Gin
1 1/3 oz. Cochi Americano Blanco
1 oz. White Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Honey Syrup (1 part Japanese Knotwood Honey from The Honey Exchange, 2 parts water)
1/2 tsp. Beast Feast Maine Ghost Pepper Infused Maple Syrup (available at Vena’s Fizz House)
4 drops Coastal Root Cocktail Bitters
1 Orange Twist

Check out these articles from The Blueberry Files, Vrai-lean-uh, and Map & Menu for more recipes and details on the party.

Sergio Ramos, Tequila Sommelier

The Bangor Daily News has published an article about Sergio Ramos, the certified tequila sommelier and managing partner at Zapoteca.

The beverage formerly inspiring the cry “let’s do shots” is now a top-shelf contender. In a corner restaurant in Portland, one man is doing his part to bring tequila to its richly deserved prominence.

“I’m a defender of the spirit,” said Sergio Ramos, who notes he is one of only four tequila sommeliers in the country.

Allen’s Coffee Brandy

The Morning News has published an article about Maine’s top-selling spirit, Allen’s Coffee Brandy.

Portland (and the state beyond it) may have bars full of local taps; its brewers guild may be growing so fast that it actually needed to hire an executive director. And the state may even be moving past the micro-brew renaissance toward craft liquors made of nothing but Maine potatoes, but if there’s any drink that holds Maine’s heart, it’s Allen’s, a liquor made in Massachusetts.

El Rayo Bartender in GQ

henrysaphireEl Rayo’s Henry Jost participated earlier this year in the Bombay Saphire Most Imaginative Bartender competition. Jost (2nd from the left in this segment of the image) and the other 45 bartenders from the competition are featured in a 4-page tableau in the December issue of GQ.

Jost’s entry in the competition was the High Port which is made with “fresh honeydew juice, fresh lemonade infused with three botanicals, juniper berry, coriander seed and orris root; Cocchi Americano Apertif; and Bombay Sapphire gin”.

El Rayo’s holding a release party for Jost on Tuesday, 6-8pm at El Rayo Cantina.

New England Distilling Tour

ned_logooPeter Peter Portland Eater has posted a report on his recent experience touring New England Distilling.

I enjoyed learning about the grains, molasses, and yeast that contribute to the culmination of great spirits, but after staring at the beautiful barrels of unbottled booze, I was definitely ready to try the products. New England Distilling has two products currently – Ingenium Dry Gin and Eight Bells Rum – with an as-of-yet-unnamed rye whiskey on the way this month. We proceeded to the front counter ready to try a couple sips of the rum and gin but were told we could also try the new rye before it came out in stores.

BDN: Portland Hunt & Alpine

The Bangor Daily News has published an article about the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club.

The sleek cocktail lounge on Market Street has been shaking up the downtown drink scene since September. With craft spirits from across the country and state, owner Andrew Volk said he hopes to do for cocktails what the Port City has done for beer and food.

“We want to focus on one thing we do well and give local distilleries a stage,” said Volk, who has bartended his way across the country, including a high-profile gig at Clyde Common in Portland, Ore.

Craft Distilling in Maine

Mainebiz has published an article about Maine’s small but growing spirits industry.

Luke Davidson sounds like a man whose head is spinning, a product of learning a lot about business in a little time. When Davidson opened the doors to Maine Craft Distilling in Portland this July, he didn’t expect the large crowds that flocked to his East Bayside business to taste the distillery’s craft batches of rum and vodka. The crowd surge created a number of logistical challenges, and it was all he could do to keep a supply of clean glasses and purchase bags handy.

Shrub Cocktails & Casco Bay Organics

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an article about shrubs and shrub-based cocktails (see article for recipes),

Shrubs an old-fashioned drinks that date to Colonial times, but they are on their way back, thanks to the folks behind the bar who are discovering that a shrub’s bright, slightly tart, complex flavors make for a stand-out cocktail. Bartenders are doing lots of experimenting by replacing the fruit in the shrub with vegetables and herbs, trying out different kinds of vinegar, and otherwise tweaking the classic shrub formula.

and an article about Casco Bay Organics.

Time-crunched healthy eaters have a new way to get their hands on fresh fruits and vegetables. In April, Casco Bay Organics, a southern Maine grocery home delivery service, launched with a full array of organic and locally-sourced produce.