Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cupcakes and Local Liquor

Saturday was just as awesome as I thought it would be! Jonathan and I left the apartment later than I'd hoped. I was SO hungry! Our plan was to eat at Cartopia, go pick up our discounted Distillery Row passports from Spoke Coffee, and then walk around to all the distilleries to try their liquors.

I was so happy to get food from Whiffies again! Nothing comes between me and my fried pies. I had planned on getting a pie and then maybe something else from another cart, but nothing else sounded as good as the two pies I was really wanting, so I got both and called it good. 

I got a pizza pie (top) and a BBQ pork with mozzarella, which was like heaven in fried dough.

We went to New Deal first. I knew the most about New Deal, which is not to say I really "knew" anything about them except that I'd had their New Deal Vodka and that it was darn good. What I didn't realize is that every single one of their liquors is delicious. The New Deal Vodka (this was the first time I'd had it plain and not part of a mixed drink) was SO smooth. It didn't taste bitter, acrid, or alcohol-y at all. It's fancy vodka at a not-fancy price. They put botanicals in it which smoothes out the "vodka" flavor. I could totally picture myself drinking this on its own, much like how I did in Russia a few years ago.

The Portland 88 Vodka was a bit more "stereotypical" vodka flavored in that it was a little more Bam! Booze flavor! But it was still so smooth and drinkable. (I have been drinking cheap local vodka over the summer and, while I am happy to drink it, this was some pretty good stuff!)

Gin #1 was SO GOOD OMG. It was a straight juniper flavor and was really sassy. Gin #3 had more botanicals in it and was more "oily." It was reaaaaally good, but I preferred the straight juniper flavor of Gin #1.

The cocoa liqueur made me want to do a little dance. They use Theo chocolate from Seattle in it and it is so, so freaking good. I wanted to steal a bottle and bring it home to make White Russians with. It tastes like the smoothest, most best chocolate liqueur ever. So good.

Hot Monkey I was initially hesitant about because Jonathan had told me that it was pretty spicy, but the girl served it to us mixed with one part liquor to three parts pineapple juice and it was SO GOOD. I would totally buy it and bring it home and make little spicy pineapple drinks.

The ginger and coffee liqueurs were also suuuuuper yummy. The ginger I could see going very quickly in our household. It's really the perfect ginger flavor. And don't even get me started on the coffee liqueur. Oh. Man.

I wish we would have gotten the name of the girl who was giving us the tasting because she was super awesome and I would love to email New Deal and let them know that she rocked and answered all of our questions, was really nice, etc. She was super helpful and knowledgeable!

 One of the distillers was also on site and gave us a tour! We got to smell what will eventually because some New Deal rum! This was a giant vat of sugar and molasses and it smelled heavenly. Then he lead us over to the vodka stills and even let me try some of the super hyped up vodka they had going! I think he said it was the same proof as Everclear, but since it was being distilled in small batches and in New Deal's way that it was way better? It tasted like pure alcohol, but in a very drinkable and pure way. Does that even make sense? It was both really alcohol-y but not that bad. I don't feel like my explanation is giving it the true justice it deserves. Just know I liked it.

Thanks, New Deal! We love you! I wish I could have left with a bottle (or two) of everything we tried! Tasting craft liqueurs was awesome! The quality is so much better than what I am used to. (Ahem, because I am a cheap drinker.)

We went to House Spirits' holiday party next and tried all sorts of yummy stuff here. They had a bunch of businesses there with samples of cheeses, drinking vinegars, sodas, coffees, salamis (don't get me started on the awesome salami we tried), and more! Everything was good. I was happy.

After House Spirits we went to Deco Distilling which I didn't realize was all rum, one of my least favorite things to drink. However, everything we tried was actually really good and surprisingly drinkable to me. Their Silver Rum was the best rum I've ever tried. Not something I would still seek out (nothing against them, it's allllll me) but if it were in a drink that was offered to me I would drink it and enjoy it. Definitely check out their caramel sauce and Holiday Spiced Liqueur!

We tried to go to Integrity next, but they closed at 5 and we were there at probably ten minutes after. Darn! I love their yummy absinthe and was looking forward to trying their Lovejoy Hazelnut vodka. I've had their Lovejoy vodka before and it was good! We'll just have to go back.

We headed to Cupcake Jones after doing the tour. We probably walked almost two miles in the course of severals hours. It was a lovely day for a walk and it was crisp and sunny. It felt good, but then it was also nice to get into a warm vehicle! As we crossed over the Burnside Bridge I saw that they lit up the reindeer nose on the deer. This makes me happy every year. :o)

Yummy birthday cupcakes! I had the vanilla one on the left and Jonathan had the chocolate. It was a tough decision! Everything Cupcake Jones makes is basically amazing. I love them!

All in all, it was a wonderful birthday celebration day! I love being 29. :o)

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