Spring has sprung, and with it, many fun events to attend. When the sun comes out, Portland does too, in full force. I’m looking forward to what the coming months have to offer, but this weekend was particularly exciting.
On Thursday I was fortunate to attend the re-launch of the Heathman Hotel’s cocktail menu. The Heathman is a historic institute in Portland (and yes, the famed hotel in 50 Shades of Grey). Its well-known “High Tea” is insanely good, and I was extremely excited to see what the night had in store.
Kathy Casey has been a pioneer in bringing both Pacific Northwest cuisine and female chefs to national prominence. She has been coined the original Bar Chef, and with good reason. It seems like she and the Heathman are a very good match On Thursday, she introduced us to a full list of delicious cocktails made with local, natural, delicious ingredients.
Prior to the event, I was naturally most curious about the “Bubbly Elixirs”– concocted with Argyle sparkling wines. Both proved light and refreshing– one with a berry spin, and one with more citrus tones. The Provence was probably my favorite drink of the night– Grey Goose vodka, Il Tramonto Limoncello, lemon elixir, lavendar bitters, and Argyle sparkling wine. Pairing sparkling wines with food and desserts is fun when they’re in they’re most natural form, but I love to see the creativity that can go into mixology.
- Tea Court Lounge Punch- Bacardi Select Rum, Courvoisier VS Cognac Pomegranate, Guava, Orange & Lemon Juices, Fonte Earl Grey Tea Spiced Syrup, Angostura Foam
- Vineyard Margarita- Milagro Reposado Tequila, Combier D’Orange, Fresh Lime, Organic Agave Nectar, Fresh Rosemary, Topped with a float of Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir
- Luxury Spiced Vermouth Manhattan- Templeton Rye Whiskey, House-Spiced Infused Red Vermouth, Liquid Kitchen Gold Era Bitters, stirred and served up with a Spirited Cherry and 23K Gold
On Saturday the fun continued at ENSO Urban Winery, a longtime favorite of mine. ENSO sources its grapes from vineyards in Washington, Oregon and California, and makes its wine locally in SE Portland. I fell in love with their Pinot Noir two years ago, and continue to be surprised and delighted with their ever evolving line-up.
But one thing was missing…
Enter BUBBLES (aptly named), a delicate cross between a Champagne and a Vino Verde. Softer bubbles and very floral notes. They fermented the Pinot Gris in the tank and finished it in the bottle. This one has been a long time coming and sparkling wines are definitely the most challenging to pull-off so as a devout fan of ENSO– job well-freaking done.
BUBBLES is a little sweet, higher acidity, notes of pineapple and lemon. I enjoyed freshly shucked oysters with my first glass, which was the perfect snack for a warm Spring night.
No cupcakes this week…look for Sweet Potato and Marshmellow Cream with a Blanc de Noir, next week.