If you're in Portland in December, you must check out an annual event hosted by my friend Wendi, who runs a local non-profit. The event is called Iron Bartender, and it features three local bartending superstars that compete for the title. This year is even more special because one of the competitors is none other than Lauren Fitzgerald from Portobello (yes, that Portobello!).
The belle of the bitters, the mistress of the muddler, Lauren Fitzgerald is truly an alchemist behind the bar. VegNews calls her creations "divine", and writes that her "rock-star worthy cocktails" alone merit a trip to Portobello. She is inspired by the classics, the seasons, and the idea of the bar as an extension of the kitchen. Lauren dreams of someday opening a bar and restaurant on a tropical island with lots of coconuts and kitties and rainbows.
The 4th annual Iron Bartender event is a fundraiser that is held at the Radio Room, a local bar that offers the perfect backdrop for a party such as this. The three bartenders compete during three 5-minute rounds, mixing original cocktails using a different secret ingredient every round. The cocktails will be judged by Portlandia producer David Cress, Mint/820 owner Lucy Brennan, the 2010 Iron Bartender champion, and Portland's Ambassador of Recreation. There is room for one more judge, and after paying $10 to get in the door, any increment of $10 enters you into a drawing to be the final judge.
The event benefits The Giving Tree, a local non-profit that helps build communities in low-income housing around Portland.
The most important things to know:
When: December 3, 2011 (doors open at 7 p.m., competition starts at 9:30 p.m.)
Where: Radio Room, 1101 NE Alberta (Portland, OR)
How much: $10 to get in + however much you want to spend on drinks
Competitors: Lauren Fitzgerald from Portobello Vegan Trattoria, Germany from Bar XV, and Ryan Brentley from the Heathman
Want to give but not a resident of Portland? Simply donate to The Giving Tree via this year's Willamette Week Give!Guide.