Today is World Bartender Day. It’s time to give thanks to the casual smile that’s always slinging drinks. To the person on the other side of the bar who throws and stirs and shakes their way into our hearts with their libations. To the ones who show us attentiveness. To the ones who we appreciate and respect. It’s time to honor our bartenders and the craft which we so thoroughly enjoy.
We’ve put together a list of 14 perfectly crafted cocktails made by Portland bartenders at the bars we love the most.
- Gamestop @ Lulu
If you’re looking for a date night spot, a well-made cocktail, a broad selection of spirits, with some great personalities behind the bar, LuLu is your place. Try their GameStop (you risky investment, you), with Toki Japanese Blended Whiskey, Ancho Verde (a poblano liqueur), Chareau, lime, and Fire Water Bitters. You won’t have to know what *To The Moon means to enjoy this drink. (*When investors think stocks are going to explode – operative word “think,” meaning it’s better to invest using a good strategy instead of a dream.)
726 SE Grand Ave.
Portland, OR 97214
- The Floating World @ Teardrop Lounge
Pioneering the cocktail renaissance since 2007, Teardrop Cocktail Lounge offers lovingly made libations by quite handsome bartenders. Nab a seat at the big oval bar and order up The Floating World, made with Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Lustau Rose vermouth, cranberry, black garlic bitters, and Kimino Ume plum soda. It’s a specialty drink that offers up a crispy start with a soft savory finish and you probably can’t stop at just one…..
Teardrop Cocktail Lounge
1015 NW Everett St.
- Domingo Suenos @ Verde Cocina
Verde Cocina is a favorite eat/drink spot in Portland whether you go to Hillsdale or En la Perla. We love the new upstairs at Hillsdale. It’s like being inside of a sweet whisper. We recommend their specialty cocktail, the Domingo Suenos. Made with Mezcal Union Tequila, Ancho Reyes Verde, fresh cucumber that infuses freshness into everything, agave, fresh lime and sal de gusano (salt). This is cheer in a glass.
6446 SW Capitol Hwy
Portland, OR, 97239
• En la Perla
1131 NW Hoyt St
Portland, OR, 97214
- Sun Don’t Shine @ Multnomah Whisk(e)y Library
Buy a hall pass for $25 which will give you a one day membership to come and enjoy the Library at Multnomah Whisk(e)y Library and see what all the buzz is about. Order a Sun Don’t Shine and you’ll want to become a member. This cocktail is made by mixing a 10 year old Talisker scotch and a 9 year old Knob Creek bourbon, then adding Gran Classico, Sfumato, Tempus Fugit Cacao and Benedictine. We are talking warmth all the way down to your toes – where the sun don’t rarely shine – even in Portland!
Multnomah Whisk(e)y Library
1124 SW Alder St.
Portland, OR 97205
- Big Trouble in Little Cynar @ Vintage Cocktail Lounge
Vintage Cocktail Lounge is a chill spot where you’ll find excellent bartenders who love what they do. Including mixing up a Big Trouble in Little Cynar: Maker’s Mark bourbon, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Cynar, teapot bitters, then an orange peel, sugar cube, and a big ice cube. Come in a novice of bitters and whisky and leave a seasoned pro.
Vintage Cocktail Lounge
7907 SE Stark St.
Portland, OR 97215
- Mother’s Kiss @ Paydirt
Paydirt is an old-favorite bar in the Zipper building with a big, big, big patio, Fernet on draft, and far too many whiskeys (thank you, Jesus!). The bartenders are brilliant crafters who can turn any drink into magic. Don’t let the Mother’s Kiss fool you. It might sound like a sweet-as-the-bartenders are, dreamy drink, and, okay, it is (and what’s wrong with that?!), but you’ll still want to have a designated driver taking you home. Hot Chocolate and Frangelico, mixed with (the kicker) Allspice Dram, Mole Bitters, Whipped Cream, Crushed Almonds, are served up hot. On the third sip, we’re pretty sure you’ll be asking it to marry you.
2724 NE Pacific St.
Portland, OR 97217
- Hellfire @ Raven’s Manor
Raven’s Manor is about as Portland a bar as you can get. It radiates macabre in every one of its cocktails. Some boil, steam, bubble, while others change colors or even combust. Order up the Hellfire, a fiery stream of Grand Marnier, muddled blood orange, with bitters, a Luxardo cherry, and topped with Buffalo Trace Bourbon. This is a very twisted, extraordinarily tasty take on ye Old Fashioned.
235 SW 1st Ave.
Portland, OR 97204
- Fast Car by Tracy Chapman @ Pink Rabbit
Some have called it the Pink Rabbit the best bar in Portland. We certainly rank it right up there at the top 5 best bars in Rose City. The service is friendly and attentive without being intrusive. Think pink lights, pink walls, velvet blue seating and super friendly bartenders. You’ll want to try the Fast Car by Tracy Chapman because Pueblo Viejo Anejo Tequila and Mezcal alone are just a great match. But then pour in Cocchi Americano, Cascadia, Saffron, and grapefruit? Yeah, baby, “You got a fast car.”
232 NW 12th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209
- 23 Skidoo @ Bible Club
The bar at the Bible Club is a portal to another time – prohibition time, that is. This speakeasy has a carefully curated collection of the finest spirits and libations. Highly recommended: The 23 Skidoo. Mezcal mixed with Campari, lemon, ginger syrup, and Fire water. You’ll be able to toast the expression, “23 Skidoo,” which means a hasty departure or taking advantage of a propitious opportunity to leave. In prohibition times, it meant “over” or “gone,” which in this context roughly means “it’s over for you.”
6716 SE 16th St.
Portland, OR 97202
- Big Pink @ Psychic Bar
“Stopped by Psychic Bar on a whim and fell in love … or maybe they hypnotized me. I’ll never know,” is a Yelp review (which we had to agree with, thus, we snagged it). While you’re busy being hypnotized, order the Big Pink, Ilegal Mezcal mixed with pink Negroni, Campari, Pampleau (hello you beautiful Portland-crafted grapefruit apéritif wine), guava, pine sap liqueur, blanc vermouth and saline. You won’t need a psychic to read your tea leaves. All signs point to yes.
3560 N Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR 97227
- Murdered by Pirates @ Victoria Bar
This backbar at Victoria Bar is lined with cubed walls filled with spirits, and maybe the most tatted up bartenders in Stumptown. If you can’t find a specialty cocktail you love here, then you’d probably best stick with beer. Ask them to craft you their specialty: bourbon and scotch mixed with an espresso liqueur and that spicy, sugary, limey tasting Velvet Falernum, and, yes, just toss in a dram of Laphroaig Mist and top the whole shebang off with tiki bitters. One sip and you’ll know you’ve been served a Murdered by Pirates!
4835 N. Albina Ave.
Portland, OR 97217
- Goddamn Margarita @ Alto Lounge
A deer head hangs above Alto Lounge’s Scandinavian-designed backbar, and happy customers chat it up over these exquisitely mixed-cocktails (some with fruit peels twisted oh-so-perfectly). You’re going to want to try the Goddamn Margarita because, hello, blackberry liqueur (which one of these clever bartenders came up with that Margarita gorgeousness)? A Serrano-infused Tequila, is poured in with the blackberry, then the lime, and pink salt around the rim and Bob’s Your Uncle.
3356 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR, 97214
- Mango Spice or Mom’s Lemon Drop @ Mother’s Bistro & Bar
For those who need a side order of comfort food, to go with a good time day-sipping date with the BFFs, Mother’s Bistro & Bar is your go-to spot. Try the Mango Spice (jalapeño-infused vodka, mango purée, pineapple juice, up, sugar rim) or Mom’s Lemon Drop (lemon-infused vodka, lemon juice, up, sugar rim) and get your chat fun on.
Mother’s Bistro & Bar
121 SW 3rd Ave,
Portland, OR, 97204
- Mr. Jay @ Pope House
On Friday and Saturday, the Pope House speak-easy opens (right below the Pope House Bourbon Lounge). Watching the bartenders mix the experimental cocktails is almost as much fun as drinking the Mr. Jay, made with Rye, oak-aged and wine-based Cardamaro, lemon, turbinado brown sugar, an egg white, and whiskey barrel-aged bitters. Piano nearby, check.
2075 NW Glisan Street
Portland, OR 97209Photo credit: Verde Cocina