Feast Brunch Village presented by Whole Foods Market

This year, bon appétit presents Feast Portland was a massive success. Great events and fun times to be had by festival-goers delving into a weekend filled with food and drink. Eating and drinking all weekend sounds like a great idea to me anytime, but indulging for a cause is even better. In the last 4 years, almost a quarter of a million dollars were raised to stop childhood hunger through Feast. Partnering this year with Hunger-Free Oregon, they aim to increase access to breakfast for students in public schools. To learn more check out Why We Feast.

This year I volunteered to bartend for the DIY Bloody Mary Bar by Urban Farmer and 365 by Whole Foods Market. Built on Prairie Organic Vodka, the tomato based mix was prepared by Urban Farmer. Toppings galore adorned the tables providing Brunch Villagers with an over-the-top selection. Mozzarella balls plunked, bacon and Olympia Provisions sausages were skewered, and condiments were splashed, dashed, and sprinkled to taste. 

May I say, it is a fantastic idea for your next event, party, or brunch with friends.

For the full lineup of Chefs, wineries, distilleries, and sponsors, you can check out the Feast Brunch Village Site here

Ransom Distillery Cuts Camp

This experience is a two part equation: Ransom Spirits and Ransom Wines. Both of which are notably delicious and if you haven't put any down your gullet yet, you are missing out. Ransom distillery is located in Sheridan, Oregon. Also located in Sheridan is a Federal Prison and Church of Scientology's Delphian School. That's a lot going on for 2 square miles of city limits.

Back to the booze- I first heard about Ransom because of their Old Tom Gin. Not many Gins are made in the style, and I think this one is causing a revival.

What makes Old Tom Gin special?

1. It can be aged in barrels (or not)
2. It can be made from malted grain, or neutral spirit
3. It can have sugar added (or not)
4. Must contain Juniper (like all gins)

What do you mean, or not? Well, the facts are muddled since there are no clear rules for the category. There are no age statements on bottles, nor is there a legal requirement to age gin to be called "Old Tom". It is a rather forgiving labeling compared to other spirits. Some Old Tom Gins are distilled from honey base, or stevia is added... but I digress.

Back to Cuts Camp!

Cuts Camp was an incredible opportunity for industry professionals to attend an overnight outing at Ransom Distillery. We spent the day milling grain, making wash, and cleaning and transferring product to different tanks. After a hard day of work we enjoyed an amazing meal among the wine barrels and continued imbibing on Ransom's delights. We even had the pleasure to taste some Italian olive oil while we dined with its maker.

Day 2 we awoke, nestled between a barley field and rows of Albariño grapes. We watched the Old Tom flow from the stills and experienced the minute changes from the phenol plasticky heads to the sweet lemony and herbaceous hearts. 

Bridging that gap between product and producer is what it's all about.

Special Thanks to Tad Seestedt, Art Tierce, and the entire Ransom Spirits team for making this event so educational, and fun! Thanks to Oregon Bartenders Guild for providing the opportunity to attend. I can't wait until the next Cuts Camp! For the latest from OBG check out their Facebook

According to the Ransom Spirits Website:

"Ransom Spirits was started by Tad Seestedt in 1997 with a small life savings and a fistful of credit cards. The name was chosen to represent the debt incurred to start the business - Tad was paying his own ransom to realize his dream. Initially, the distillery made small amounts of grappa, eau de vie and brandy. Ransom began the production of a number of small-batch fine wines in 1999. In 2007, we took up the craft of grain-based spirits, adding gin, whiskey and vodka to the lineup. In 2010, we combined our crafts of winemaking and distilling to create our first Dry Vermouth." 

Oregon Bartender's Guild First Annual Summer Field Day

Field day was an epic summer party!! With drinks, games, so much food, and even a slip and slide / slip and flip station. The sun was hot and the drinks were cold- shout out to the DJ, organizers, and planners for this event, you did an incredible job!

Being a part of the Oregon Bartenders Guild has been incredibly rewarding, educational, and just plain fun! If you bartend, or are a cocktail enthusiast, you can find your local chapter on the US Bartenders Guild Website. You can learn more about upcoming events with the OBG on their Facebook page

Big thanks to the sponsors (beverage and activities: Jim Beam, Cruzan Rum, Hornitos Tequila, Hennessy Cognac, Ketel One Vodka, Feathery Scotch, Tito's Vodka, Rogue Brewery and Spirits and 10 Barrel Brewing Co. As well as food: Sysco, Pacific Seafood and Chef Michael Conklin from the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler/Portland Spirit, volunteers and leads. We ate, we drank, we got wet and we had a damn good time. Big thanks to Highgrove Farms for hosting us at such a beautiful venue. We will see you all next year.