A Brief Taxonomy of Portland’s To-Go Cocktail Containers

Over the last two months, the container a cocktail comes in has become almost as much a part of a business’s branding as the drink itself.

When Oregon finally approved sales of takeout cocktails last December, it threw a lifeline to desperate bars and restaurants who'd spent the pandemic clamoring to sell mixed alcoholic beverages to go. But the swift, sudden rule change left many of them with another quandary: What do you put them in?

Over the last two months, the container a cocktail comes in has become almost as much a part of a business's branding as the drink itself. Here, we present a brief survey of some of the most common receptacles you'll find around Portland—along with a few of the least common.

The Mason Jar

"Donnie's uses 16 and 32 oz Mason jars as they are—or at least used to be—easy to procure and are reusable. As more and more businesses got into the to-go beverage game, they have become increasingly difficult to locate. We purchase them from Bi-Mart—I have driven to Hillsboro, Vancouver, Gresham and Woodburn to purchase them depending on which location has them in stock." — Benjamin Artaiz, Donnie Vegas (donnie.vegas)

See also: Rally Pizza (rallypizza.com).

The Tiny Glass Bottle

"While plastic packaging is omnipresent, we really wanted to house our mobile drinks in something less expendable that wouldn't end up in a landfill after use. We found these small glass bottles which make handsome vessels for the drinks, plus they can be repurposed after use. They make us feel like we're running a boozy apothecary." — Ezra Ace Caraeff, The Old Gold (drinkinoregon.com)

See also: Blank Slate (blankslatepdx.com)

The Can

"I knew Mason jars wouldn't be affordable and were becoming increasingly hard to find. The pouches and plastic bottles weren't aesthetically pleasing, and I didn't feel like they gave the security that our community deserves. With the LittleHands/StiffDrinks and WedgeHead cocktail collaboration, they are sealed for safety and freshness, they travel easily and are recyclable. Not to mention the labels are beautiful." — KaCee Solis-Robertson, WedgeHead (wedgeheadpdx.com)

See also: Tulip Shop Tavern (tulipshoptavern.com)

The Plastic Cup

"Our decision on to-go cups boiled down to size, cost and availability. There has been a severe shortage of Mason jars these last few months and we've had a hard time keeping ourselves in stock for on-premise use. This meant offering them to-go for one-time use just didn't make sense. Our signature cocktails are bigger than most, so the cute and fun medicine bottles and pouches that I've been enjoying from other bars and restaurants also wouldn't cut it. That really left us with large plastic to-go cups. It's not the most elegant vessel, but it gets the job done and people enjoy walking them out in carriers like a fist full of Big Gulps." — Paul Francis, Swift Lounge (swiftloungepdx.com)

See also: Buddy's Lounge (buddys-lounge. business.site)

The Faux-Juice Bottle

"We get our bottles online from Good Start Packaging. We chose these particular bottles because they are made from the most recyclable plastic on the market. They also come with lids that seal, which is very important for to-go drinks. We thought about using glass, but the square footage storage would require is crazy." — Eric Nelson, Eem (eempdx.com)

The Fancy Bottle

"We selected these tiny, 6-ish oz Champagne bottles because they're handsome, and we're a wine-focused restaurant. Additionally, we feel glass is more mindful of the environment, and feels better in one's hand as our cocktails are mixed, chilled and ready-to-drink straight from the bottle. And on a personal note, I think a strong move is using them around the house as bud vases." — Natalia Toral, Nostrana (nostrana.com)

See also: Expatriate (expatriatepdx.com)

The Pouch

"We do Mason jars for beer growlers to go but they've been in and out of stock, so for cocktails we had to go a different route. These pouches we just sourced from a couple of different places on the internet—we bought them as soon as the state to-go rules changed to try to avoid more supply-chain issues. Mainly they're just supposed to be fun, like a Capri-Sun for adults. Plus they open wide enough to use a spoon for our slushie drinks—even more fun!" — Justin Youngers, Binks (binkster.com)

See also: Deadshot via Ping (pingportland.com)

The Color-Changing Cup

"We are packaging our to-go cocktails in tamper evident bottles we source from Uline per state regulation, and also send the color-changing cups as a thank you for the support from our customers. Growing up in New Orleans the style cup is a traditional Mardi Gras throw that is unique in design to the parade, and sometimes even a specific float in the parade. I've always wanted to have one of these made for Palomar and color-changing felt the most appropriate with our cocktail menu of frozen and blended drinks, along with drinks on crushed ice. The wildfires cut the use of our rooftop short after just doing a large reorder, so when cocktails to-go was finally approved it was a perfect fit to send them out with orders." — Ricky Gomez, Palomar (barpalomar.com)

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