2020 Holiday Gift Guide: Celebrate With Craft Cocktails-To-Go

An overview of ways one can enjoy craft cocktails at home and on the go.
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While in person holiday parties may be put on ice during this coming holiday season, here’s some suggestions from a few select Oregon distilleries regarding ways one can get into the spirits at home.

1. Aria Portland Dry Gin

Aria Portland Dry Gin

Aria Portland Dry Gin‘s Driftwest Blueberry Yuzu Gin & Tonic Kit available onsite at their Portland based tasting room and through is a modern reimagined Gin & Tonic that uses “&” Tonic syrup and Drift West Water Kefir in place of more traditional tonic water. For those unfamiliar with Drift West Water Kefir, this is a probiotic beverage made by culturing water and organic cane sugar with kefir “grains”—a live culture, known as a SCOBY or a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts. For this drink they chose Drift Water’s Blueberry Yuzy flavor for a fizzy burst of flavor and color to create a visually stunning G&T that tastes as good as it looks.

Other Aria gin cocktail kits available include a Classic Gin & Tonic, Negroni, Pomegranate Gimlet, Passionfruit Collins, and Martini. These kits are available throughout the Greater Portland Metro area though @YourDoor delivery service with Aria gin available at select liquor stores in Oregon.

Also, Aria Gin is about to launch their version of a canned G&T with 12.5% ABV per 8.4 ounce can. Unlike many canned cocktails, these G&T is made with real Aria gin and not a malt based (malt-ernative) hard seltzer style product. They added pure cane sugar, citric acid, 100% natural quinine, salt, and all natural essences of classic citrus (Persian Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit), exotic citrus (Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass, Bergamont) and spices (Orris root, Allspice, Star Anise).

2. Freeland Spirits

Freeland Spirits

From women owned Freeland Spirits (Portland, OR) comes two lines of canned cocktails available in convenient 250 ml cans. Their newest can is a French 75 made (15.5% ABV) using their flagship gin and Chehalem Chardonnay wine. This can complements their original G&T can (10.4% ABV) which is paired with Portland Syrups’ Rose Tonic for a bright citrus sensation along with fresh herbs like juniper and roses.

They also offer cocktail kits such as their best selling Queen RBG (Rose, Bergamot, Ginger), a tribute to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg benefitting Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon and their holiday favorite Cranberry Whiskey Sour supporting SMART reading. Other local collaborations include companies like Kate's Ice Cream, Portland Bloody Mary, Portland Soda Works, and Pie Spot. Shipping is available throughout Oregon and in select stores in Washington State, California, New York, and Illinois.

3. 503 Distilling

503 Distilling

This Oregon City based distillery is launching a series of small batch, full strength classic cocktails delivered in a two-pack of 200 ml cans. First in this series is their Mt. Hood Old Fashioned, a 40 proof craft cocktail featuring a blend of 95% rye whiskey with bitters from The Bitter Housewife, Oregon filberts and Vermont maple syrup. This series joins their other canned cocktails which include The Wicked Mule, the Blood Orange Greyhound, La Vida Mocha, and Five-o-Tea. Shipping available within Oregon.

4. Westward Whiskey

Westward Whiskey

Single Malt whiskey aficionados can savor Westward’s award-winning single malt along with other Pacific Northwest delights with their Ultimate Taste of the Northwest Gift Set. This set includes Westward American Single Malt Whiskey (750 ml), Portland Syrup’s Westward Barrel-Aged Simple Syrup (8 oz), The Bitter Housewife Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters (3.4 oz), Freddy Guys Hazelnuts (7 oz), and Woodblock Malted Milk Bar (.88 oz). Other kits include their True Northwest Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit, Neat Gift Set, Multnomah Whiskey Library’s Westward 2-in-1 Cocktail Kit, and Hot Toddy Cocktail Kit. These kits can be shipped to Oregon and Washington, DC with Individual bottles of Westward shipped throughout the United States.

5. Quaintrelle

Quaintrelle

Quaintrelle

This Portland based restaurant offers holiday themed Cocktail Kits to go that include everything but the liquor. Their Hot Buttered Rum & Hot Toddy Kit makes 3 to 4 cocktails of each cocktail and include Quaintrelle’s original hot buttered rum mix, toddy syrup, citrus and garnish. And their Formulated Charm kit makes 3 to 4 low AVB cocktails, and includes apple cordial, vermouth, a split bottle of brut rosé, citrus, and garnish.

As the pandemic continues, Oregon bars and restaurants continue to seek out innovative ways to make their craft cocktails available to the public. Unfortunately while thirty-three states permit bars and restaurants to sell cocktails to go that include liquor, current Oregon law prohibits such sales. The inability to sell such products will force out of business many of the iconic establishments that put Oregon, and Portland in particular, on the map as an international destination for dining and drinking. In response, Matt Davidson, Co-owner and Founder of the Botanist House, began what he terms an act of civil disobedience by selling full cocktail kits so his customers can experience the craft cocktails that define his establishment. 

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