Winkin, Blinkin and Nod in Portland

Portland is a drinking city. Choose your potation from hundreds of coffee roasters, dozens of micro breweries, and now SIX distilleries! And that does not even scratch the surface on pub choices (endless). We hit Moon & Sixpence for the reputed perfect draught of Guinness. No disappointment there. Creamy and tender, the essence of “moother’s milk”. The treat was finding a local 6 piece ensemble performing in a circle when we arrived at 4:00. Apparently a Saturday tradition. Two guitars, an ukulele, mandolin, accordion and hand snare. Three of the players sang songs from the 30s as tBoW sipped his Guinness in the down-home glow. Darts in the back. I’m in a Turkish bar, a Moroccan Souk, a Parisian Bistro. Check it out for an unexpected treat.

Matthew Vanwinkle – owner and distiller – is opening up the New Deal Distillery at Sunday noon. tBoW is his first visitor. Opened in 2004, New Deal is one of five distilleries in Rip City. Instead of opening another microbrewery he chose to make vodka, rum, gin and liqueurs. He is presently producing about 40 cases a month. Matthew provides an easy-t-grasp description of the distilling process. Encouraging my curiosity I ask if multiple distillations which are typically touted as distinguishing up-to-a-hundred-dollar premium vodkas like Beluga Gold from the Costco brands like Belvedere and Grey Goose makes a difference. He answers “no”. After three distillations you are not really getting a more pure liquid. Trophy hunting spans all libations.

There is a tasting bar for discrete sipping. So much to learn.

New Deal Vodka $30: Seamless, clean flavors. Distilled neutral. Makes the perfect silky smooth martini. We purchase. You have to purchase on-site because that is the only place to acquire this stuff. No shipping out of state. Bought it. 80 proof

Portland 88 Vodka $20: Distinctive nose. More flavorful. Dirty sweet you’re my girl. Love these prices. 88 proof.

Mud Puddle $30 – His chocolate infused spirit (not a liqueur). What a nose! Dark chocolate flavors. Maybe too much. 60 proof.

New Deal Coffee Liqueur $30 – Big strong coffee flavors. Grain based. Infused with locally roasted coffee. Matt wants to do a series of liqueurs with other local coffee roasters. Portland is so chummy! 25%

J Witty Chamomile Liqueur $30: I hope you read this far. This is one of the most unique drinks I can recall. Delicately flavored, perfectly balanced. The definition of night cap. Bought it! Should have picked up three more. I have never even heard of such a drink. 25%

PORTLAND. RIP CITY. PDX. American Renaissance with Pride. Blazers are out of the playoffs but only one premium player away from the Finals. In the Best-Towns-For-Fun-League Portland is already near the top.

1 Comment

  1. Wavatar
    Dr. Dionysus says:

    Knew a guy years ago who owned a liquor distribution company. At the time, I was playing around with Chinese herb tinctures, so I was interested in different quality vodkas.

    He believed that the cheapest was as good as the most expensive, and the only difference was packaging (and presumably perception in the marketplace because higher prices induce the perception of added quality).

    I went to Rite Aid and bought a jug o’ vodka and got started.

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