All drinks are new at the hotel bar Jeffrey Morgenthaler and Benjamin Amberg, Pacific Standard
Once a band – Radiohead, say, or Sleater-Kinney – reaches a certain point in their career, not only are they ready to stop playing most of the old songs, but fans who just want more of the same can get it from bands they’ve influenced. The same goes for Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler.
At Pacific Standard, the new spot for Morgenthaler and longtime colleague Benjamin “Banjo” Amberg, you won’t find barrel-aged Negroni, ice grasshopper, or any of the other drinks the pair are known for. to their former positions. , Clyde Common and Pepe the Moko. Of course, it’s not entirely by choice. These Ace Hotel establishments have both been victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But now Morgenthaler and Amberg are across the river, creating their own dream version of the hotel bar that’s also aimed at locals, this time in Kex. While Clyde was separate from the Ace lobby, Pacific Standard is essentially the Kex lobby. And there is always a photo booth. As Morgenthaler says, “It’s not not Common of Clyde. But it’s not Clyde Common either.
Biggest differences: Morgenthaler and Amberg are now owners rather than managers. They were able to design their own menu of bar-specific dishes, without any of those pesky chefs interfering, including bites like Walla Walla onion dip, Castroville artichoke with umami mayo, oysters from Willapa Bay and steak fries. And the cocktails are all new, including a myriad of low- and non-alcoholic options (and the alcohol by volume for each printed on the menu).
Of course, there are still drinks you’ve heard of: an espresso martini, for example, with a limit of two per person due not to its overly resistant vodka, but rather caffeine. And you can always order an old favorite from Clyde Common – or any classic cocktail – and Morgenthaler’s Bourbon Renewal is available in its Nikasi canned version.
“I don’t run out of drink ideas,” Morgenthaler says. “So it’s good to have a completely blank canvas and not say, ‘Well, we have to save those four locations. “”
Morgenthaler breaks down four of Pacific Standard’s strengths:
Negroni Rosé ($12)
Gordon’s Gin, Luxardo Bitter Bianco, Yzaguirre Rosé Vermouth, sea salt, lemon zest.
“We’re kind of known for everything we’ve done to the Negroni over the years,” Morgenthaler says. “So why not try something else, while leaving this stuff behind?”
This summery cocktail is essentially a white Negroni turned pink, with Spanish vermouth and Luxardo’s bianco version of Campari-style bitter aperitif. The sea salt rounds out the flavors and also tames the bitterness…even if it’s not that bitter to begin with.
“It’s very sweet,” Morgenthaler says. “It shouldn’t taste exactly like a Negroni. It should taste like a rosé version of a Negroni. Just like a pinot noir rosé is a lighter version of pinot noir.
Tiger Balm ($11)
Non-alcoholic house spirits, Wilderton Luster, pineapple, lime.
Morgenthaler came up with his own N/A concoction – made with vinegar, tea, bay leaves and other herbs – not just for flavor, but because local producer Wilderton’s Citrus and Flower Luster would be too much. expensive as a sole basis.
“All those [commercially distilled N/A products] cost about $35 for a fifth, which at 2 ounces is a $14 cocktail,” he says. “I just have a real dilemma charging $14 for a soft drink. As good as these things are, at the end of the day they’re still, like flavored water.
While the name Tiger Balm screams “medicinal rub,” the drink is more tropical than spicy. It’s pineapple forward and comes on nugget ice, with the zero-proof spirit adding an earthy note.
The Bloody Mary all day ($10)
Icelandic vodka, homemade Bloody Mary mix, pickle.
“[O]Once the sun goes down, you can’t drink a Bloody Mary in public,” Morgenthaler wrote in his 2018 book. drink distilled. “Only guys with lower back tattoos do that.”
But he also wrote that drinking rules are fun to break. So, with Pacific Standard currently only opening at 3 p.m. (that will eventually change), and with the Bloody Mary feeling like a necessary hotel cocktail, Morgenthaler decided to offer “a lighter, more refreshing alternative “that you could drink on your own, or even during dinner.
This spicier version starts with Reyka vodka and a small can of Campbell’s tomato juice, plus a blend including Worcestershire, Tabasco and black pepper. “The vodka and tomato juice are consistent, so if you want to lighten it up, you have to do everything in that mix. It drinks more like a Caesar, or what they call a tomato juice cocktail, not heavy, like tomato soup.
Palm Desert Date Shake ($12)
Cinnamon-agave date syrup, Tillamook vanilla ice cream, Lustau brandy, Pedro Ximénez sherry, whipped cream.
Tucked away on the dessert menu (complete with an Oregon berry crumble and Morgenthaler’s famous chocolate chip cookies) is this sort of sequel to Pépé le Moko’s Ice Cream Grasshopper, inspired by the holiday ritual. favorite of any visitor to California’s Coachella Valley. It’s decadent but not alcoholic, with the brandy and sherry – both of which are derived from raisins – adding extra layers of nutty and dried fruit flavor.
BEVERAGE: Pacific Standard, 100 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 971-346-2992, kexhotels.com/eat-drink/pacificstandard. 3 p.m. to midnight daily.