My final day in Portland was a wild restaurant hopping adventure which had me visiting five restaurants before being dropped off at the airport for my flight bound for Vancouver. With an hour to spare before having to zoom out of PDX, Matthew made a quick decision (which I’m thankful for) to visit one of the cities hidden gems, the Multnomah Whiskey Library.
The owner coyly chirps, “The Multnomah Whiskey Library holds an exhaustive collection representing all major, and lesser, styles of distilled spirits known to the modern world.” A visit to MWL is a wee sippy sloshed hour of escapism, falling back in time to enjoy an authentic prohibition era ambiance. The interior is staunchly masculine with studly bartenders wearing formal vests and waxed whiskers. Tableside Cocktail Service is a specialty of The Library, as are tastings, pairing dinners, and other educational events. It’s clear the team behind MWL are keen to expand Portland’s appreciation for the brown spirit.
I grabbed a seat at the bar with Matthew, gazing across the space forces a jaw drop as bartenders scale brass ladders to suss out the over 1600 boozy bottles that are stored here. Some 900-1000 bottles of whiskey are on site at any time, showcasing some of the most famed vintages from Scotland and Ireland as well as homegrown tipples from Texas, Kentucky and Oregon.
The focus here is on classic cocktails so we quickly cheers to Old Fashioned and Manhattan. I clutched the bottom of my bar stool in an attempt to remain upright, my vision blurring as we enjoyed a celebration of local offerings via Oregon Whiskey Tasting. Between sips we enjoyed a light bite, a wonderfully gamey Elk Tartare featuring smoked egg, radish and candied horseradish scooped up with crispy oregano lavash.
Sips n Nibbles:
henry mckenna single barrel, angosutra + peychauds bitters, demerara sugar, orange
ritten house rye, library sweet vermouth, angostura bitters, amorina cherry
Oregon Whiskey Tasting
westward malt, house spirits, portland
black maple hill bourbon, stein distillery, joseph
straight bourbon finished in port casks, big bottom, hillsboro
mccarthy’s peated single malt, clear creek distillery, portland
smoked egg, radish, candied horseradish, oregano lavash