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.
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.
“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!