Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Getting Schooled

You fly over it when the plane comes in for a landing at PDX; you drive over it when you head north to Vancouver or Seattle. To its credit, Vancouver has several restaurants near the Interstate Bridge overlooking the river, but I'm hard-pressed to think of more than a couple where you can drink or dine on its banks on the Oregon side.

Dan More, Salty's bar manager.

One of those is Salty's on the Columbia. Originally opened as Bart's Wharf in 1961, the building was sold and remodeled in the late 80s, keeping the sweeping decks with views of the marinas and river traffic but, sadly, losing the tuck-and-roll turquoise booths and swivel chairs that populated its dining room. I'd never been there before, but when Dan More, Salty's beverage manager, invited me to come by for a cocktail class, I happily hopped in Chili and drove out for some seat time in front of his bar.

The Aviation.

A recent transplant from Seattle, More's classic cocktail style is inspired by Murray Stenson of the Zig Zag Café, with the philosophy that "simplicity is the key." He set me up with the makings for three of the bar's signature drinks, kindly providing recipes to share, below. My next challenge is to work on him to give up the recipe for the bar's so-good-I'd-drink-it-on-its-own Bloody Mary mix.

2 oz. Aviation Gin
1/2 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
Brandied cherry or amarena cherry

Fill cocktail shaker half full of ice. "Too many people go way over the top and overuse ice," More said. Pour gin, maraschino liqueur and lemon juice in shaker, shake briefly and strain into cocktail glass. Add cherry and serve.

Lilikoi Margarita
From Salty's bartender Sam Dixon from his stint at the Hali’imaile General Store on Maui. 
2 slices orange, 1/4" thick
2 slices lemon, 1/4" thick
3 slices lime, 1/4" thick
2 oz. Cazadores Reposado tequila
3/4 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. Lilikoi (passion fruit) purée
Li hing mui plum sugar powder, available online or at Asian groceries

Rim a tall cocktail glass with lime and dip in plum sugar. Place fruit slices in bottom of pint glass and muddle, pressing out the juices but not pulverizing the fruit. Add ice till 2/3 full, adding tequila, Cointreau and purée. Top with metal shaker (called a Boston Shaker). Shake and strain into rimmed glass, garnish with slice of lime.

1 sugar cube
1/2 oz. water
3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
2 oz. Sazerac Rye
Pernod or absinthe
Lemon twist

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice water, letting it sit and chill while preparing drink. Put sugar cube, water and bitter in a pint glass and muddle, crushing the sugar cube and dissolving it in the water. Fill the glass 2/3 full of ice, add rye and stir. Dry the chilled old-fashioned glass and rinse with a small amount of Pernod, pouring out any that remains. Strain rye mixture into glass and serve with a lemon twist.

Details: Salty's on the Columbia, 3839 NE Marine Dr. 503-288-4444.

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