The Eugene Cocktail Summit

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Sometimes living in Eugene, Oregon means that you have a smaller circle of people who share similar interests as yourself. Driving an hour and a half to Portland is always an option, but sometimes you just wish you could play at home.

A select few of us local cocktail enthusiasts gathered today to experiment with obscure seasonal produce, dabble in an enormous library of rare liquors, and eat some wonderful cocktail-hour-inspired bites. It was a reawakening for me in a sense, as I spent the day remembering things that I had forgotten.

For instance, I had forgotten how much I love scallop ceviche. But then our wonderful chef for the day added a grapefruit gelée to the dish and I realized that I’d never tried anything so delicious.

Scallop Ceviche with Grapefruit Gelée

The discussion was spirited (pun totally intended) as we deliberated over bottles and measurements. I really enjoy discussing the merits and differences of bourbon and rye while drinking scotch and holding a bottle of tequila.

Ryan and Jeff

We discovered that watermelon juice is much harder to create cocktails with than we could have possibly imagined (Herbsainte and vodka with watermelon juice – what was I thinking??) but we also learned that seaberries are both available to us here and quite versatile to mix cocktails with.

I love endive, smoked salmon, and creme fraiche. I had just neglected to try them all at the same time. Now I like them all three times more. Muthafucka, this palate is clean!

Smoked Salmon on Endive Croutes

We played with housemade organic blackberry syrup and all smacked our foreheads in shame when we collectively remembered that bourbon loves to be mixed with fruit. We also remembered that ginger beer can take a bourbon and fruit mixture and reinforce the drink’s structure and balance. I’m going to make a point of not forgetting this again.

Ginger Blackberry Smash

Pea purée in phyllo cups can make a perfect little nosh. About ten times I was reminded of this.

Pea Purée in Phyllo Cups

Ryan reminded us how fun it is to lance a champagne bottle [video, press to play]:

Unfortunately, I remembered that it was getting late and all of this research would have to be continued at another date. Be sure to check out what we found out you can do with seaberries!

8 Replies to “The Eugene Cocktail Summit”

  • fenke says:

    I love the pyllo ‘cupcakes’- the look and (I can imagine) the great taste!

  • Brian says:

    You might want to try pisco with the watermelon juice – I was pretty happy with a pisco/cava/watermelon/lime cocktail I made for a party last year.

  • Jeffrey says:

    Great idea, Brian. I think pisco might have been the one liquor we didn’t actually have on hand that day! I’ll pass it along to the team, though.

  • kathryn says:

    First, non-cocktail related, is the Mary Weiss in the background of the video. Props to that if you filmed it yourself. Second, should you ever find yourself in Portland, the Clyde Common bar downstairs of the new Ace Hotel is up and serving some very tasty cocktails. Crowd favorite was the kick in the pants – wild turkey, cold pressed coffee, splash of nocello shaken. served on the rocks with some condensed milk on top.

  • Jeffrey says:

    Thank you! I’m glad someone noticed…

    I got to see Charlie from Clyde Common in action at the Distillers Festival the prior weekend and have been anxious to get up there and try out the bar!

  • Lance Mayhew says:

    I use Tuaca with Watermelon juice occasionally. I find that Watermelon juice is thin, so most of the usual suspects just don’t work well with it.

  • Jeff Frane says:

    Your “researchers” and I were at Clyde Common sampling food and cocktails just this Saturday, in fact. Ask Jenaya about the very peppery cocktail she had. The rest of us were snuffling up Manhattans made with Jim Beam Rye (peppery in a different way).

    And you must remind Ryan that his is not a “library” of booze but a “collection.” There are deep, important reasons for this.

  • Connie Hurley says:

    I have been looking for a recipe for Mint Julep made in a coffee can. Would you happen to know??? Thank you

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