On November 29, 2022
The holiday season arrived and we’re making our list and checking it twice for all the craft distillers we know and love. As an alcohol branding company based in Portland, we have direct access to some of the highest-rated distilleries in the nation. They make for incredible gifts this time of year.
Thanks to our familiarity with Portland’s craft beverage industry, we know how to navigate gift-giving in the local craft spirits scene. There are a plethora of options throughout Oregon but we’ve gotten to know them all.
As we add gifts to our sack, we’re thinking about the best options available to pick up the bottles that our friends will be thrilled to find under the tree. Our entire team offered suggestions on where to shop for the best Portland craft spirits gifts.
For anyone looking to find the very best gifts this city has to offer, we’re sharing our list with you. We recommend picking up any of these bottles for the craft spirits expert in your life — or anyone who works in the industry and is looking for something special.
Karen Recommends Straightaway Cocktails
Inspired by the makers of Portland, including the winemakers, brewers and distillers, founders Casey Richwine and Cy Cain developed world-class cocktail recipes. They entertained friends with creative concoctions and then started batching their cocktails. Eventually, the pair came up with a business idea.
With the aim of delivering ready-made cocktails to customers who wanted to concentrate on hosting amazing parties, Casey and Cy launched Straightaway Cocktails. Together they source local ingredients and add only the best ones to their bottles. A line of classic cocktails from the business includes an Oregon Old Fashioned, a Negroni and a canned Paloma. The packaging design for each of the cocktails will impress as well.
“Straightaway has done a stellar job creating custom illustrations and font combinations to build an iconic brand,” says our founder Karen Locke. “As they’ve added new product categories, they’ve done an excellent job ensuring all of the products are recognizable under the master brand.”
Ashley Recommends Square Mile Cider
A Portland brand through and through, Square Mile Cider crafts six ciders from their North Portland location on North Russel Street. The team hand-selects apples to dial in very particular sweet and sour flavors in each of their products. Additional ingredients, like rose hips and hibiscus in the Rosé Apple Cider, add unique twists on the traditional.
For the holidays, the cidery’s Imperial Apple Pie will make anyone a bit more festive. The seasonal offering tastes like freshly baked apples and tangy pie spices. It’s the best cider for sweater weather and sitting by a roaring fire. And it’s also a good way to prep for all the events and family time ahead.
“It’s 9.1% and tastes just like Apple Pie,” Ashley, our creative producer, tells us. “Just one can really help get you ready for the stresstivities.”
The cider can be found in 6 packs of 12oz cans at retailers all around the city. Local bars and restaurants also have it on tap if you just want to go grab a pint of it between family dinners.
Sierra Recommends Bull in China Glassware
Founded by bartenders, Bull in China started out as a way to deliver handcrafted barware and glassware to professionals and home mixologists alike. It needed to be tools that would stand up to long nights of drink making but also look great. Hundreds of hours of research, development and testing went into the company’s signature mixing glass alone.
These days, the craftspeople behind Bull in China’s products offer a wide range of options. From bar tongs to jiggers to copper mule mugs, it’s easy to find whatever a budding bartender might need for their home bar. They’re also incredible gifts for the professionals behind the bar as well.
Sierra, our content strategist, counts the bar tools maker among her favorite craft spirits-aligned brands. As someone who’s worked in the service industry for years, she’s well-versed in bar tools so when she recommends a brand like this, it’s a good idea to take her advice!
Cocktail and gift sets are available from Bull in China on their website. However, you can also pick out pieces a la carte and customize your own gift set.
Andie Recommends New Deal Distillery
The DIY spirit of Portland sparked the founders of New Deal Distillery to start making their own liquor. When it opened in 2004, it was one of just a handful of distilleries in the Portland area. Even as the number of spirits makers has grown exponentially, New Deal continues to impress with fresh takes on gin, vodka, whiskey, brandy and a variety of liqueurs.
In fact, it’s the Coffee Liqueur that caught our graphic designer Andie’s attention. The spirit, made by extracting coffee flavors through a cold brew method, is a blend of local coffee, batch-distilled spirits, cane sugar and agave nectar.
“I just got hooked on New Deal’s Coffee Liqueur,” Andie tells us. “It makes an excellent Revolver.”
Retailers around town carry this spirit but it can also be shipped nationwide or delivered around the Portland area.
Clare Recommends Raft Cocktails
The same husband-and-wife team behind The Bitter Housewife also delivers a wide range of creative cocktail syrups through Raft Cocktails. Together, the two aim to craft approachable cocktail ingredients that boost any beverage and give it a broad appeal. Each of the syrups produced by Raft are made sustainably and in small batches from the Portland facility.
The company’s Cranberry Five Spice Syrup is the perfect way to make a cocktail a little merrier. It infuses your cocktail of choice with tartness, sweetness and the right hint of spice. By combining cranberry with a collection of seasonal botanicals, including ginger, star anise, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves, Raft has created a pretty stellar holiday syrup.
“It’s an essential part of any holiday cocktail you’ll want to mix for guests — or for yourself,” Clare, our content strategist, notes. “I feel like they really bottled the spirit of the season right here.”
Order the spirit online or find it on the shelves of a number of retailers all across the city this time of year.
Bonus: Sierra Recommends a Cocktail Book
Two Portland-based bartenders will release Raising the Bar, a book of cocktails they’ve been creating for local drinkers. With 200 recipes to offer, the authors, Brett Adams and Jacob Grier, hope to inspire home bartenders to craft their own high-end cocktails from the comfort of their kitchens.
The book hits shelves at Powell’s Books on November 29, 2022 and those interested in picking up a copy as a gift (or for themselves) can find it there.