Explorations in Mixology Cocktails Drinking


Straight through (or around the corner) from the Snow Peak store on NW 23rd in Portland, OR sits a Japanese restaurant called Takibi, the second destination on our Bar of the Month adventure. This was a place we were excited to visit. The bar program was developed by Jim Meehan, the cocktail legend responsible for PDT—a James Beard award winning NYC speakeasy and one of the best modern cocktail books in our collection. Needless to say, our expectations were high.

We were not there for dinner, so we made our way directly to the bar situated along the oppsite side of an open room with diners seated at tables to the left, and the open kitchen all the way to the right. Behind and around the left of the bar, the room transitions into the lower level of the Snow Peak retail space. It might sound strange to have a bar and restaurant integrated into a showroom featuring products for camping and the outdoors, but it works. The place is sparsely decorated in a modern, smooth, rectilinear design with heavy beams along the ceiling and most surfaces covered in natural woodgrain that gives it an upscale comfortable feeling.

We spent the first ten minutes sipping water and taking in the space as we studied the menu before deciding on the Gap Year—a spirit-forward cocktail featuring the Japanese spirit sochu, sherry, cognac, coffee liqueur and nocino. It was an inspired sipper that was strong, nutty, rich and balanced. We also tried the Fir Coat, a fantastic salted yuzu gimlet with Douglas Fir brandy and Midori melon liqueur. Both were drinks were incredible—a worthy start to the evening.

Having only scratched the surface with the first round, our second was more difficult because we now realized we would not be able to try everything. The menu is filled with descriptions of ingredients both familiar and unknown. In the end, we settled on the Tanigawa and the Call of the Wilderton. The Tanigawa is Takibi’s signature julep—an expensive melange of spirits from top distillers, with shiso leaf over a mountain of shaved ice served in a Snow Peak titanium mug. While shiso is mint adjacent, the flavor is somewhat different, yet reminiscent of the juleps we enjoy so much. Using the iconic Snow Peak mug was a nice touch to remind you of where you are—not that you would ever pull this off on a trail. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this drink is the ice—shaved as required from a big block using the cast iron hand-cranked machine at the end of the bar.

Call of the Wilderton is a punchy, non-alcoholic mixture of Wilderton’s base, Japanese tea, mango shrub, turmeric, black pepper and orange. For the second month in a row we proved its possible to enjoy a delicious cocktail at a bar without a drop of alcohol. After another successful evening exploring flavorful sips, we strolled through the retail space noting several items of interest before calling it a night and heading home. We hope to return to Snow Peak and Takibi soon!

This was the second destination in a monthly Bar of the Month adventure. Click the link to see them all!

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