At Victoria Bar, one of the latest highlights up on Albina in North Portland, they held a happy hour to celebrate our glorious summer one last time before the inevitable deluge of winter descends.
With the assistance of Nathan Burdette of Collectif 1806, Lisa Victoria Hare stood behind her eponymous bar and made several outstanding summer refreshers with Rémy-Martin Cognac, Cointreau, The Botanist Islay Gin, and Mount Gay Black Barrel Barbados Rum.
Summer was ushered out in style with these delicious cocktails.
The Fire Swamp is tart and invigorating, loaded with herbal botanicals from The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, cucumber, Jalapeno, lemon, Aphrodite Bitters and Spanish cava. Served up in a coupe glass garnished with a thick slice of cucumber, it’s a pretty little cocktail, and in the mouth it wakes up the taste buds nicely.
Bartenders love to play around with smoke and heat—–pepper heat, that is—because both present a difficult challenge to balance. There’s a fine line between not enough and too much, and that line is easy to cross. The Fire Swamp pulls it off just right, with the lightest whiff of jalapeno heat balanced out with fresh clean cucumber, allowing the audacious, assertive botanicals of the Islay gin to hold forth.
Veering off into a different direction entirely, Lisa mixed up a charming rum cocktail with Mount Gay Black Barrel Barbados rum, sherry, lemon, house-made grenadine and Angostura Bitters. The deep, dark molasses aromas mixed with vanilla-spice from the barrels with the typical mellow smoothness of Barbados, sweetened slightly with the nutty sherry complexities and supported by the tart/sweet lemon and grenadine. It’s an attractive and tasty islands-style summer punch in a tall frosty glass, best made by the pitcherful on a summer day, because otherwise the demand will exceed the supply.
An odd name but a gorgeous drink, combining Rémy-Martin Fine Champagne VSOP Cognac, Cointreau liqueur, Hibiscus blossom (also known as Jamaica, quite popular in the Caribbean and Mexico) and melon. The brilliant color of hibiscus, darkened a bit by the luscious vanilla-scented cognac, attracted the eye; one whiff of the rich, lightly sweet fruity-floral concoction teased the palate; and it was not long before the bottom of the glass suddenly appeared, with the plea of “Please, may I have another?”
Thanks to Victoria Bar, Nathan Burdette and Collectif 1806 for the celebration of summer.
Can we welcome in autumn now?