Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cutting Edge Cocktails? Right Here, Of Course!

Once again, the Grey Lady has caught on to what we Northwesterners already know. In a story in today's Dining section, titled "Let 100 (O.K., 8) Bartending Philosophies Bloom," out of a list of two dozen cutting edge bars, three are in Oregon and two are in Seattle.

Not that I'm feeling smug or anything, but when the leading newspaper in the U.S. says that more than twenty percent of the coolest bars in the country are right here, well, you gotta wonder what's wrong with the rest of the nation, don't you?

To get specific, it lauds Jeffrey Morgenthaler of the Bel Ami Lounge in Eugene for a gin and tonic made with his own recipe for agave-sweetened quinine syrup. In Portland, Daniel Shoemaker at the Teardrop Lounge, who crafts his own vermouth, falernum, blueberry shrub (a kind of cordial) and 15 bitters (quite the ambitious guy, I'd say) is listed with Kevin Ludwig of Clyde Common, who rebuilt the Negroni around Krogstad aquavit from House Spirits.

In Seattle, the two finalists are Murray Stenson at the Zig Zag Cafe (photo, top), who is apparently infusing tea into his gin, and Jamie Boudreau at Tini Bigs for his iterations on the classic martini.

It should be noted that Portland is also hailed for the nine craft distilleries within its city limits, and that Lee Medoff and Christian Krogstad are called out for their efforts at House Spirits (see Clyde Common, above). And in the Food Stuff column in the same section, Florence Fabricant raves Rogue Spirit's Spruce Gin (photo, left).

Which begs the question: When's the rest of the country going to catch up?

Top photo by Stuart Isett for The New York Times. Spruce gin by Tony Cenicola for The New York Times.

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