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Swizzle

March 13, 2014

The Bloody Mary, that quintessential tomato and vodka drink, is no longer considered just a hangover corrective. When well garnished with vegetables and perhaps a shrimp (and even a hamburger, as I found at one Junction City spot), it’s a darn good approximation of a soup and salad — virtuous enough to provide some vitamins while smoothing out any roughness of the day.

March 13, 2014

I survive mainly on kombucha, coffee and hard liquor. Mixing coffee with whiskey is kind of a no-brainer. I’m perky and buzzed — what could go wrong? Kombucha, in large doses, has a similar effect on me. Given my predilection for caffeine and adult beverages, kombucha cocktails strike me as pure genius. 

March 13, 2014

Ben Lundberg, 33, was born and raised in Eugene and has been tending bar at the Starlight Lounge for more than four years. In his spare time, he’s a photographer, which adds to the list of admirable qualities that voters mentioned, including his “boyish charm” and “phenomenal personality.” One voter opined that Lundberg is “downright a good person.” What could be sexier?

 

March 13, 2014

Donie Smith started working at the Horsehead Bar about a year ago, but that was enough time to garner her a “sexiest bartender” win. A Cottage Grove native, Smith says she was a bit surprised to hear she had won. She shouldn’t be, because voters raved about her “perfect smile,” “great personality” and “sweet-ass tats.” 

March 13, 2014

The people behind popular Eugene restaurant Party Downtown, located at 55 W. Broadway, apply a “make-it-in-house” ethic to everything they do, from curing meats to baking bread. Bartender James West is particularly passionate about house-made liqueurs — distilled spirits infused with the flavors of fruit, berries, herbs or even flowers. 

“I want to make things that are for sale in the liquor store,” West says. “But if we have as good or better ingredients in the valley, I will forgo buying something and make it myself.”

March 12, 2014

From food cart to store front, Red Wagon Creamery has come a long way. The ice cream shop is well known for wonderfully eclectic, handmade ice cream flavors like carrot jalapeño, peach rosemary and Saturday Morning, meant to taste like the milk left over after a bowl of Fruit Loops. But stick around after 10 pm on Friday and Saturday, and the creamery transforms into Red Wagon After Dark, where bartender Amanda Hoffman throws booze into the mix of creamy deliciousness. 

March 12, 2014

My dad approached parenting in his own way. When my older brother Taylor started wearing obscene clothing during his rebellious youth, my dad responded by wearing a brown bag over his head like a chef’s hat the next time the two of them went grocery shopping. He’s a maverick in just about every way except his fashion, so it makes sense he made me attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting after I was caught drinking during high school.

March 14, 2013

Monday nights are usually reserved for recovering from a big weekend or loathing the realities of a new week. At The Barn Light, however, Mondays take on a new meaning: game night. 

Sure, it’s nothing compared to the rowdiness of Eugene’s weekend bar scene, but that’s not the intention. On Monday nights, Barn Light is like the ultimate living room with a stocked bar, baristas and board games at the ready. Game night isn’t about whom you know or what you’re wearing, it’s about coming together and rolling the dice. 

March 14, 2013

A guy named Kennedy walks into a bar two weeks before St. Patrick’s Day. That sounds like the start of a bad joke, and sometimes it is. Kennedy: a quintessentially Irish name. St. Paddy’s Day: America’s most Irish of holidays. Commemorating the Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Paddy’s has lost its religious meaning, particularly in the U.S., becoming instead an excuse to eat a lot, drink more and toast all things Eire. 

March 14, 2013

It’s a minute before half past nine on a Saturday night in downtown Eugene’s Barmuda Triangle. Four bartenders dressed in sleek black stand at their posts behind the long, narrow bar at Starlight Lounge. The bar stools have been removed, the limes have been cut and the saltshakers are at the ready.

Ding! Ding! Ding! The clock strikes 9:30 and bartender Jonna Threlkeld taps the ceremonial brass bell with a stirring spoon. Patrón Hour has begun; crowds line up at the wooden bar and the cool blue agave nectar flows down rows of shot glasses.

March 14, 2013

There are many bars and nightclubs where the ambiance and the pours can send us back a few decades in a woozy, boozy time travel machine — think ’80s night at John Henry’s — but the increased popularity of some cocktails take a century-deep plunge. Distilleries such as 4 Spirits Distillery in Corvallis have put a twist on alcohol and inspired bars to serve drinks from the Prohibition era of the ’20s and ’30s. Perhaps banning booze paves the road to revelation — these cocktails are the rage once more.

March 14, 2013

Born but not raised in Eugene, Jackalope bartender Summer McCarty returned to the Willamette Valley in ’93 from Southern Cali, bringing the sunshine with her. After graduating from high school a year early in Junction City, and living in a home that’s been in her father’s family for “over 100 years,” McCarty couch-surfed her way into Eugene residency. When she’s not helping customers down drinks, the yoga lover is doing downward dog, or spending time with her hubby and three kids.

What do you drink?

March 14, 2013

A self-described “townie” (he graduated from South Eugene High School), Eirrin’s Bistro and Pub bartender Teren Baker began tending bar two years ago at Emerald Valley Golf & Resort, where he mastered a mean Tom Collins. He juggles slinging drinks with slaying the guitar in his punk-rock band, Pirate Radio, and doing “daddy duty” with his 6-month-old daughter. Ask him about his Guinness Irish bread (yes, that’s a thing). Don’t ask him to store your 12-pack from home in Eirrin’s fridge (yes, that’s happened).

March 14, 2013

When Johnny Appleseed roamed the countryside planting apple seeds in the late 1700s, he wasn’t growing apples for food. His apples had higher standards, destined to become delicious hard apple cider. Back then, hard cider was the drink of choice, as it was easier to make and more accessible than beer.