Fresh juice is on the loose
- Christina Melander
- Portland Tribune - Features
A few years back, when juice bars cropped up on both coasts faster than wheat grass in a yuppie windowsill, the trend of using fresh-squeezed juices for cocktails also gained momentum. While purists may scoff at, say, a gimlet made with anything other than Rose's Lime Juice, the truth is that mixed drinks do taste better with just-off-the-vine juice. Here's where to get yours.
Draped in fishing nets, blue lights and nautical tchotchkes, Squeez evokes a '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' atmosphere that is unexpected and in contrast to its sleek outdoor signage. But it's a fun vibe bolstered by friendly servers, a decent jukebox and nightly happy hour specials. Trivia Tuesdays offer $1 off any drink for correct answers and there's free pool between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The constant at this self-professed 'Pan-Atlantic Lounge,' whatever that means, is refreshing fresh-squeezed cocktails. The addition of fresh-pressed grapefruit, lemon and orange juice unquestionably improves classic drinks such as greyhounds and sidecars, and house creations like Bushmills Summer Sour (Irish whiskey, lemon and orange juices) are inspired. Coming soon at Squeez: a wine and pizza parlor addition.
1403 S.E. Belmont St., 503-239-5144
If you don't mind the boom of loud, alcohol-embellished speech reverberating off the bar's apricot walls, Oba is the place for dipping into some of the most alluring cocktails in town. An always-bumpin' bar scene ensures opportunities for fashion-gazing or eavesdropping, but the star attraction is handcrafted drinks; the reasonable tapas menu is a close second. Oba's exotic fresh fruit margaritas, shaken and generously served on the rocks in a tall pint glass, invite customers to veer from the traditional lime variety. Try the prickly pear 'rita, a robust drink that gets its luscious crimson color and sweet-and-sour taste from the cactus fruit so popular in Mexico. Oba's adroit bartenders also mix up kiwi, mango, guava or blood-orange margaritas and daiquiris. Another top choice from Oba's signature drink list is the Momo Verde, a concoction of fresh lime juice, mint and Bacardi O (white rum shot through with mandarin orange and tangerine) that gets a twist from suddenly ubiquitous basil. Shazam.
555 N.W. 12th Ave., 503-228-6161