Two weekends ago, Thirst! Boston (self-described as an annual educational "gathering of bartenders, industry icons and beverage connoisseurs from Boston and beyond") held an event called "State Lines." The "ultimate New England bar crawl," State Lines brought some of the best bars and bartenders from Portland, ME and Providence, RI to Fairmont Copley Plaza. Four bars were selected to represent Portland: Sonny's, The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, Central Provisions, and Eventide Oyster Co.
Each bar was given a spirit with which to create three cocktails, ranging from Fernet Branca at Sonny's to Allen's Coffee Brandy at The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club. Along with 200-plus Thirst! attendees, a handful of all-stars from the bar and cocktail world were present, including Dave Wondrich (author of Imbibe and Punch, two indispensable cocktail resources), Charles Joly (2014 winner of Diageo World Class) and Joaquin Simo (owner/bartender at Pouring Ribbons in NYC).
Here's what a couple of the attendees and participants had to say about the event:
Sean Wilkinson, co-owner of local design firm Might & Main: "The Allen's Revolver from Portland Hunt + Alpine Club was a highlight (that and the killer Allen's knit hat I scored, pom pom and all). Central Provisions incorporated Pierre Ferrand into a well-balanced punch that was hard to stay away from. Eventide really ran the gamut with Brockman's Gin, a spirit I was unfamiliar with but which worked well under John R. Myers' expertise. I don't exactly remember the Fernet Branca drinks that Christina and Spencer were hawking from the Sonny's bar, which probably means they were awesome (and effective)."
Paige Gould, co-owner of Central Provisions: "I do have to say, the highlight of the whole day for us was when David Wondrich came over to our table, shook everyone's hands, and said he liked our punch! You don't get a chance to meet somebody like him every day."
Everyone involved felt like the event was a huge success, giving Portland cocktail programs due recognition by showcasing some of the best the city has to offer.