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Susan and Ted Axelrod

Susan and Ted are a writer and photographer team who met while working for a magazine — Susan reviewing restaurants and writing food features, Ted photographing them. When Ted left the magazine for a freelance career, they launched their blog, Spoon & Shutter in 2010 as a way to keep doing what they love, together. After many years in Northern New Jersey, they are thrilled to be living in Maine, where Ted's clients occasionally include restaurants and food businesses. When they're not working, cooking, rehabbing their old farmhouse or hanging out with their two cool dogs – Ella and Dixie – they're having a blast exploring this spectacular state. To reach Susan, email saxelrod [at] or follow her on Twitter: @susansaxelrod To reach Ted, email ted [at] or follow him on Twitter @TedAxelRodPhoto .

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Spoon & Shutter with Susan and Ted Axelrod
Posted: February 20, 2014

Imbibe 75 party at Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

Clockwise from top left: The January/February 2014 issue of Imbibe Magazine; the “Summer in Oulu” coffee cocktail; Rising Tide’s Calcutta Cutter, an imperial IPA; Tandem Coffee Roaster’s logo.

Collaboration was on the cocktail menu for last night’s “Imbibe 75” party at Portland Hunt & Alpine Club. To celebrate the inclusion of Portland in Imbibe magazine’s “top picks for the people, places and flavors that will help shape the way we all drink in the year ahead,” bartender and PH&AC co-owner Andrew Volk created special coffee cocktails and beer drinks from the Portland brewers and coffee roasters named, along with the cocktail bar, in Imbibe’s round-up.

The owners of Rising Tide Brewing, Bunker Brewing, Speckled Ax and Tandem Coffee Roasters were also in the house to raise a toast to the kind of entrepreneurial partnership that makes Portland such a spectacular place to live and work.

From left: Heather and Nathan Sanborn of Rising Tide Brewing; Chresten Sorensen of Bunker Brewing with a Bunker Machine pilsner and side of Fernet Branca – the “Brewer’s Choice”; Matt Bolinder of Speckled Ax and Kathleen Pratt of Tandem with her son, Claude. Kathleen’s husband Will was busy roasting coffee at their shop in East Bayside.

The “El Machino”: Bunker Machine pilsner; black-pepper infused tequila; lime

Clockwise from left: Kathleen Pratt of Tandem Coffee Roasters with her son, Claude; Briana Volk, left of Portland Hunt & Alpine Club chats with Kathleen Pratt; customers Chris Claudio of Winxnet, left, and Sam Beal of Big Brothers Big Sisters enjoy a Rising Tide beer; Chresten Sorensen of Bunker Brewing, left, with Matt Bolinder of Speckled Ax at the bar.

I didn’t try all of the drinks — opting instead for one of Andrew’s more traditional cocktails — the gin-based Lunar Phases — while Ted sampled a barrel-aged Negroni. But those we tasted were nicely done.

The “Summer in Oulu”

“Summer in Oulu,” for example, featured coffee from Speckled Ax, ice, aquavit (made in house at PH&AC because aquavit is not available in Maine, Andrew explained), Fernet Branca, cardamom and softly whipped cream — a complex, slightly bitter (but not in a bad way) drink that simultaneously provided a caffeine buzz and punch of booze.

“El Machino” combined Bunker Machine pilsner, black pepper-infused tequila and lime over ice for a refreshing libation that was absolutely something I would drink again, especially on a hot summer day. For another thirst quenching beer cocktail — “Italian Mark” — Rising Tide’s Daymark beer was mixed with Branca Menta and lemon.

Mixing coffee with liquor has, of course, been around since your grandfather’s potent Irish coffee. Beer cocktails, however, are a newer thing and judging by those I experienced last night, should start showing up more frequently in creative cocktail bars like Portland Hunt & Alpine Club. Let the collaboration continue!

Bartender Andrew Volk grates nutmeg over a “Summer in Oulu” coffee drink.

Matt Bolinder of Speckled Ax brews his wood-roasted coffee

Heather Sanborn of Rising Tide Brewing with an “Italian Mark” cocktail featuring Rising Tide’s Daymark.

Bartender John Meyers behind the bar.

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