Note: This is the second in a series of posts about Portland’s craft spirits movement.
Clear Creek may have a head start of almost 20 years, but relative newcomer House Spirits Distillery is rapidly making a name for itself. Brewers Lee Medoff and Christian Krogstad established House Spirits in 2002, producing the Russian-style Medoyeff Vodka. Next came Aviation Gin, with its distinctive flavor profile, redolent of lavender flowers. Aviation was created to be mixed into cocktails (unlike many of the craft spirits, which are best appreciated on their own). The House boys got it right, because, following its 2006 introduction, Aviation rapidly took its place behind almost every Portland bar, and continues to star in many signature drinks around town.
House Spirits is definitely worth a visit. At its inner-southeast location (easily accessed from downtown via the #4 bus), you can tour the distillery, try samples and shop at the Apothecary Tasting Room. There you’ll find the full lineup of House Spirits liquors (Medoyeff Vodka, Aviation Gin, Krogstad Aquavit), Marteau Verte Classique Absinthe (also produced here) and limited-edition products (aka “experiments”) from the Apothecary Line — recent offerings include ouzo and rum, as well as a selection of bar supplies. The shop is open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and tours are offered every Saturday.
You can taste a selection of House Spirits-based cocktails at the distillery’s weekly RPM (Recession-Proof Mixology) happy hours, held at different bars every Wednesday evening. The House Spirits crew step behind the bar and mix up drinks both classic and cutting-edge, all for just $5 a pop. RPM is a great way to try some new cocktails and check out a wide range of Portland bars and restaurants.
Next week: Best bars for local spirits