Seduction in a Glass
Shaken, stirred, muddled and infused. Sounds like love to us. This Valentine's Day, get your sweetie out on the town to celebrate the many moods of love with a tour of some of Bend's sexiest and most romantic cocktails.
Up-to-date-bartenders in Bend are now referred to as mixologists as they transform run-of-the-mill spirits into state-of-the-art infusions. Flavored spirits can now be found with essences of everything from cinnamon and sour apple to whipped cream, vanilla and caramel. The use of herbs, spices, vegetables and even instruments like liquid nitrogen are making appearances on stylish bar menus all over town.
While the comeback of top-shelf classics like the Sazerac, Moscow mule, Sidecar and the French 75 will show the salt of any good bartender, trend-setting mixologists have opened the floodgates of creativity with house-made creations with names like "The Secret Garden," the "Citrus Rose" and the "Umami" made with out-of-the-ordinary ingredients like yuzu juice, avocado, cucumber and shiso. Only a few steps apart, these downtown bars offer some of the sexiest cocktails around. Enjoy one, two or more (if you're not driving) of some of Bend's most seductive elixirs.
First Stop: Five Fusion, 821 NW Wall St.
The Lavender Lemon Drop, with house-infused vanilla vodka, limoncello, lavender-infused syrup and lemon juice.
This wink and nod to the classic lemon drop is shaken with ice and served strained into a sugar-rimmed martini glass. Completely exhilarating, this cocktail is the perfect blend of sweet and sour. The lavender lends a beautiful perfume to this refreshing drink and the vanilla adds a touch of the exotic that paired beautifully with the food at the sushi bar.
The Asian Mojito, with white rum, yuzu juice, sparkling water.
A specialty of Chef Joe Kim, this drink starts with a generous shot of white rum and liquid nitrogen. When blended the mixture goes up in a huge plume of gas and creates a science class "slushy." The drink is then spooned into a highball glass and topped it with yuzu juice, which has been blended with agar agar to create little "caviar" pearls. A few shiso leaves are tossed in and the drink is then served with a small pitcher of sparkling water to pour for yourself. Light and refreshing, this lesson in physics was unlike any hybrid mojito you will ever see!
Second Stop: Boken, 842 NW Brooks St.
The Coconut Martini, with coconut vodka, sake, lime and palm sugar.
While Boken is best known for their unique and delicious small plates, Kenneth Bryant, mixologist in residence here, makes some incredible signature cocktails, too. While you might think this martini would be cloyingly sweet, it is surprisingly subtle. The coconut vodka is beautifully muted with the sake and lime, which add nice balance. A tuft of toasted coconut floats in the middle of the martini glass, adding a nutty aroma to every sip.
The Sex and Tequila, with house-infused hibiscus tequila, crème de violette, Vietnamese cinnamon, lime and orange zest.
An unforgettable combination of flavors, this cocktail is light and floral with undertones of spicy warm cinnamon. It is served with a lime wedge along the sugar-rimmed martini glass. The name says it all—the perfect combination of spirits for you and your valentine.
Third Stop: Hola, 920 NW Bond
The Pisco Sour, with pisco, limes, whipped egg whites, bitters and canela.
Hola makes everything fresh, from fruit purees to infused simple syrups to its sweet and sour mix. This makes all the difference when it comes to a great cocktail. While Hola may be known for great margaritas, its Pisco Sour, which is a signature drink of sunny South America, is one of the most interesting drinks in town. Pisco is a non-wood aged form of grape brandy local to both Peru, where a Pisco Sour is made with limes, and Chile, where it is made with the juice of lemons. It's topped with whipped egg whites, bitters and a sprinkling of canela that lends a warm spicy note that hits your nose from the first sip. More sophisticated than a standard margarita, the Pisco Sour is creamy and flavorful and is an appreciable choice to sip with your chips and salsa.
The 1921 Crema de Tequila
Although not a cocktail, this luscious drink is melt-in-your-mouth delish. Similar in texture to an Irish cream, this concoction would be divine mixed with crème de cocoa and hot chocolate or coffee for a knock-your-socks-off adult warmer. Cuddle up and keep warm with this creamy combination.
Final Round: 10 Below, 10 NW Minnesota Ave.
The Passionate Haze, with cachaça, muddled orange, pomegranate liqueur, fresh lemon and hibiscus simple syrup.
Mixologist Claudine Birgy served us two signature house cocktails of her own creation. The Passionate Haze's signature spirit is Novo Fogo barrel-aged cachaça, which is a liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice and the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil. It arrives in a highball glass with ice and a piece of orange rind perched along the rim. Bright scarlet in color, it had the tangy flavor of the orange and the earthy background of the pomegranate and hibiscus. Not overly sweet, this tart cocktail would make the perfect aperitif.
The Lavender Seduction, 44° North huckleberry vodka, lavender-vanilla simple syrup, grapefruit juice, a splash of fresh lime and a dash of rhubarb bitters
This drink absolutely took our breath away. An alluring blend, it arrived in a chilled martini glass with a lavender-sugar rim. This is one complex cocktail. It hits your nose and your palate with such a beautiful flavor that we can't possibly think of a better name than "seduction" for this potion. It is not to be missed, especially for your Valentine's Day celebration.