October 25th, 2010 4:00 pm | by RUTH BROWN Food & Drink |

Portland Cocktail Week: Shake-off at the PDX Cocktail Invitational

cocktailBluehour's Art Tierce at the PDX Cocktail Invitational

Portland Cocktail Week and the Great American Distillers Festival wrapped up on Sunday, with both events culminating in the finals of the PDX Cocktail Invitational at the Tiffany Center. Top local and visiting bartenders battled it out with signature creations in heats on Saturday, with judges whittling the field down to just four: Ali Tahsini from San Francisco's Bourbon and Branch, Trevor Easter from San Francisco's Rickhouse, and Tommy Klus and Art Tierce from Portland's Bluehour.

Pre-Prohibition chic was the order of the day, with more flatcaps, suspenders and vests than an episode of Deadwood. The four mixologists each chose a box of mystery ingredients and had 15 minutes to produce an original creation. Both local lads received plenty of vocal support from the crowd, but it was Tahsini who took the $1000 grand prize, for a Bell-Pepper Sour, using corn whiskey and home-made agave syrup.

aliAli Tahsini performs a guest shift at the Driftwood Room

This was the first Portland Cocktail Week, with an estimated 400 bartenders and booze fans attending over the four day event. Although presenters and guests came from all over the country and the world, there was a strong focus on local liquors and luminaries, with familiar names like Aviation Gin, Water Ave Coffee, Imbue Vermouth and Trader Tiki's featuring alongside some of the biggest names in craft cocktailing, with many visiting bartenders applauding the creativity and community they found amongst Portland's best bars and restaurants.

iceSeattle bartender Jim Romdall hand-carves ice balls

"It was fantastic; we had some amazing people in town," said David Shenaut, President of the Oregon Bartender's Guild. "The distillers, the bartenders who came from New York, Chicago, L.A., Seattle, San Francisco, Boston—just having those people in our community to see what Portland is all about, that's a complete success. We're already talking about how we're going to plan it next year and how we can make it better."
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