We Oregonians love scrappy individualism, DIY know-how and a strong sense of community. Oh, and a good drink. Oregon’s distillers capture all of that and then some. In 2007, many of the state’s craft distilleries banded together as the Oregon Distillers Guild (the nation’s first), offering spirit lovers the chance to try handcrafted, small batch vodka, whiskey, brandy, gin, liqueurs and more around Oregon. To date, the guild has about 32 members.
To help you plan a tasting trip, the guild has a handy website called the Oregon Distillery Trail. There you can find out which distilleries have tastings rooms and tours and get to know a bit more about each of them.
Patrick Bernards, co-founder of Bull Run Distilling Company and past president of the Oregon Distillers Guild, says the summer season is a great time to tour the state’s craft spirit makers. “Take a look at our map and plan your trip. All of us love having people come in and love giving tours,” he says. Bernards reminds folks to bring a designated driver so you can imbibe safely.
For more great craft spirits in the fall, don’t miss Portland Cocktail Week, when bartenders and amateur spirit enthusiasts from around the nation converge for a week of educational workshops, tastings and field trips. In the spring, raise a glass at Toast, North America’s largest public craft spirits tasting with more than 50 producers and 120 spirits.
For a taste of Oregon spirits at home, try the Northwest Old Fashioned from Bull Run Distilling Company:
• 2 oz. Temperance Trader Bourbon
• 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
• 1/4 oz. simple syrup
• 1 slice of pear
• 1 slice of orange
• 2 pitted Bing cherries
• Splash of club soda
Muddle the sugar, bitters, orange slice, one Bing cherry and the pear slice in the bottom of a shaker. Add the bourbon and shake with ice. Strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice, and add a splash of club soda. Garnish with the remaining cherry.