Distillers, mixologists and Oregon enthusiasts came together recently at Bluehour Restaurant & Bar to sip, sample and select the winner of Travel Oregon’s “Create the Oregon Bounty Cocktail Contest,” presented in conjunction with the Oregon Distillers Guild. After surviving three rounds of judging, and being selected as one of seven regional finalists representing Oregon, “Hike, Fish & Go Camping Punch” proved to be the overall favorite, successfully incorporating Oregon’s artisan distilled spirits and local ingredients to best represent the spirit and character of the entire state.
“With more than 20 craft distilleries across the state, Oregon is making its mark as the home for the most unique, original and flavorful artisan spirits,” said Holly Macfee, director of brand strategy for Travel Oregon. “We poured through nearly 200 daring and delectable contest entries to select our seven finalists and the winning drink – and it was a tough job. Nearly all of the entries highlighted Oregon’s bounty of spirits and fresh ingredients, and everyone’s creativity showcased how much product diversity we have here.”
The winning concoction, “Hike, Fish & Go Camping Punch,” which represents the region of Eastern Oregon, is an easy, fun-loving punch that serves as a new cross between the youthful “Hop, Skip & Go Naked” and a classic Whiskey Sour. The recipe was submitted by Cheryl Meloy, a resident of Portland, and features Pendleton Whiskey, Terminal Gravity IPA and huckleberry syrup. Meloy won the grand prize package, which included Nambé barware from Macy’s and a two-night getaway to meet and taste with Oregon’s artisan distillers at the Oregon Distillers Guild Spirits Tasting, which took place on Oct. 11 at McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale. All seven finalists earned a spot for their recipes in the Oregon Bounty Recipe Book at www.TravelOregon.com/bounty, and they also received $200 in lodging gift cards courtesy of Best Western Hotels of Oregon, a preferred Oregon Bounty lodging partner.
Contest entries needed to represent one of the state’s distinct regions: Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon, the Oregon Coast, Central Oregon, the Willamette Valley, Portland Metro and Mt. Hood/Columbia River Gorge. They were also required to use Oregon’s artisan distilled spirits and local ingredients wherever possible. Entries were judged by top Portland bartenders, food and beverage writers and representatives from Travel Oregon. The six final drinks, not including the winner, were:
• Central Oregon: “Cascade High”
• Mt Hood/Columbia River Gorge: “Hood to Coast”
• Oregon Coast: “Over the Bar”
• Portland Metro: “East Meets West”
• Southern Oregon: “Goose’s Pear’d Up”
• Willamette Valley: “Cherry-Hazelnut Smash”
Complete descriptions and recipes are available by downloading the Oregon Bounty Recipe Book at www.TravelOregon.com/Bounty.