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I done been schooled

Last Sunday I attended a seminar on cocktails presented by the Oregon Bartenders Guild. This is a group led by some of the most interesting and serious bartenders in Portland (and Eugene). The program was hosted at the Carlyle, a wonderful bistro pretty much under the westside 405. I had a gorgeous walk over to it from Old Town.

This program was titled “Lost in Translation”, being concerned with two lines of classic cocktails that have been abused and mis-shapen over the decades: the Sidecar and the Old Fashioned. It was more how-to oriented than the January session (a seminar on gin, in which we tasted 3 Oregon-produced gins and enjoyed an overview of the history of gin and talks from the distillers of each).

The major cocktail line we followed was that of the Sidecar. Jeffrey Morganthaler gave the history of the drink: its origin during WWI in Paris, the metonym of its name. We started with a Sidecar, mixed on Remy Martin VSOP, with Cointreau and lemon juice.

The Sidecar embodies the primal formula of 2 strong to 1 sweet to 1 sour. This is a formula that can be observed in many cocktails that change the individual elements.

  • Apple Cart — Applejack, Cointreau, lemon juice
  • Margarita — tequila, Cointreau, lime juice
  • Kamikaze — vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice
  • Maiden’s Prayer — gin & rum, Cointreau, lemon juice
  • Hope Chest — gin & rum, maraschino (Maraska), lemon juice

Margaritas were served next. Neil Kopplin gave some of the several stories of the origin of the Margarita. And he served two examples, both on Herradura silver tequila. One was the straing 2:1:1 with had a salted rim, the other added a ¼ oz simple syrup to soften it a little.

We then moved to the Daiquiri, which replaces the triple sec in the primal formula with simple syrup. These were mixed on Ron Metusalem Rum. Greg Hoitsma gave a description of the production of rum with comparison to cachaça.

  • Daiquiri — rum, simple syrup, lime juice
  • Lemon Drop — vodka, simple syrup, lemon juice

The program continued from there to a seminar on the Old Fashioned, but I’ll post about that tomorrow night.