Weekend before last, I had the fantastic and boozy opportunity to attend Toast Portland at the Left Bank Annex (near the Moda Center). Toast has been plugging along serving up handcrafted liquor for a few years now, but this was my first year hearing about it and attending it. Ben and I are not ones to turn down an opportunity to sample unlimited local spirits and charcuterie snacks, and so we gladly took the sunny, Saturday afternoon to walk over to the East side, taste, and mingle for a few hours.
I was impressed by the vast array of primarily Oregon (some Washington) liquors and we stopped at just about every single distillery's booth (out of over 40 present). We tried everything from local absinthe, to a ton of bourbons, some amazing concentrated syrups/bitters/tonics, and fantastic unique spirits like tea-based alcohol. It's crazy to get the majority of PNW distillers in one room and look at the extensive local creations! I'm a big fan of making all of our cocktails from local spirits and we've found that the quality of our cocktails has greatly improved from sourcing our ingredients locally. That's probably a bit Portland of me, but I definitely encourage you to check out your own local liquor scene. There are fantastic things being done out there!
Some highlights of Toast? Townshend Tea's distilled spirits were amazing - a smoked, sweet, and spiced tea alcohol that would be amazing as a mixer and was surprisingly delicious to sip! I was really impressed by their foray into alcohol after a successful tea and kombucha business. The world needs more tea!