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Portland libations

Fuel your Portland adventures with booze

The Gold Mine delights as a swanky sipper that won’t break the bank at the Richmond Bar in Portland. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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When you need to get away, but not so far away that a plane ticket is required, Portland is a great destination for a day trip or weekend. It's just far enough to feel detached from the humdrum of the daily grind but only a couple hours away. Plus, there's a little something for everyone, whether its retail, sightseeing, outdoor adventures or the like. My personal favorite indulgence is the rich culinary scene in Portland, specifically those of the craft cocktail variety. It has an abundance of walkable neighborhoods that teem with a delectable variety and hot spots that serve up a mean cocktail, and by "mean," I mean niiiiiiice.  Here are a few of my favorite spots to sip.

Portland boasts a broad selection of exotic fare, but Pok Pok easily tops my personal list. The menu features Thai cuisine, full flavors and its world-famous Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings, all paired with a delightful libations selection. Interesting, approachable and refreshing beverages include the Salted Plum Vodka Collins and Southside. A number of other cocktails feature the house-made drinking vinegars like The Heat Ray (tequila, Thai chili, fresh lime and Som celery drinking vinegar) or Lord Bergamot (Smith Teas bergamot tea-infused vodka, orange liqueur, honey drinking vinegar and soda on the rocks). 3226 SE Division St., Portland,

Just across the street from Pok Pok, you'll spy The Richmond Bar. The vibe is hip and casual speakeasy. The bartenders take pride in their craft but aren't pretentious, while the cocktails carry fun monikers like the Comeback Kid (strawberry-infused rum, lime and simple), the savory Sassafras (tequila, mezcal, cynar, root beer and simple) or the Gold Mine (which goes down easy with rye whiskey, cocchi torino, spiced pineapple syrup, lemon and a red wine float). The food menu is comfort food with a twist like poutine, lamb meatball subs and mac and cheese. During our summer season, the patio is a delight, and the prices are pretty pocketbook friendly. 3203 SE Division St., Portland,

The Bithouse Saloon boasts historic roots and a moody ambiance. There's dark wood, bare brick and a vintage appeal from the light fixtures to the wood flooring. The drinks get creative with classic sippers including a Moscow Mule among the 28 libations on tap, a frozen Penicillin, and one of the best damned Old Fashioneds I've had the pleasure of imbibing.  If you're feeling like something a little more esoteric, get adventurous with Odin's Gold (Aquavit, Drambuie, cayenne honey, buttermilk, a whole egg and soda) or the Calaboose Cocktail (Hennessey, barrel-aged root beer bitters, vanilla, absinthe and lemon oil). 727 SE Grand Ave., Portland,

The Burnside Brewing vision states that the founders take an alchemist approach to enhance the craft brew and culinary experience, and in my experience, this rings true. As a brewery, the craft is delightful with representations of your favorites in its Isomer IPA and Sakura Gose Sour, but it's also funky fresh with seasonal brews like the Keg Nog Barleywine or Permafrost Winter Ale. And if you're not a lover of the hops, a full bar with a delectable selection of seasonal craft cocktails is available, like the Verde Toddy (tequila, honey, simple syrup and green tea with a lime twist) or the French Press (refreshing with St. Germain, soda water and lime). 701 E. Burnside St., Portland,

The key to discovering truly tasty cocktails is to ask bartenders where one goes to tie one on after a long shift of slinging drinks. Several of my fellow boozeslingers recommended the Rum Club, which has a funky fresh vibe, fabulous wallpaper, vintage glassware and colorful paper umbrellas afloat. There is a tropical air about it all thanks to a rum-heavy libation list that puts a spotlight on compelling liquor partners. Sip on a Rum Club Daiquiri (anejo rum, lime, maraschino, demerara, bitters and absinthe), or try the aptly named Fuzzy Logic (aged white rum, Stiggins pineapple rum, Punt e Mes, lemon and pineapple juices, chicory syrup and a frothy egg white). 720 SE Sandy Blvd., Portland,

Finally, go underground and visit the uber cozy Pepe Le Moko. The space is elegant in a post-apocalyptic fallout kind of way. As you step down the stairs to the basement bar, a halo of light surrounds the barkeeps as they shake and stir boozy concoctions. Go tacky and funky 50s housewife in a bunker with a Blue Hawaiian or Grasshopper or opt for perfectly executed classy sippers like Manhattans, Martinis and Negronis. 407 SW Tenth Ave., Portland,

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