House Spirits Portland Distillery at Toast
Portland's House Spirits Distillery at Toast 2012.

Teetolalers, be warned: Toast, the annual International Craft Spirits Revival organized and produced by the Oregon Distillers Guild, is coming to town a little earlier than usual this year. Opening its doors this Friday evening and continuing through Saturday, Toast is just in time to give us a spirited break from all this grey weather.

While Toast serves as an informal food and drink industry event, the festivities allow the public to get a glimpse of the inner sanctum of professional boozy types. Showcasing over 50 local, national, and international specialty spirit makers, Toast will treat attendees to more than 150 of the world's top concoctions, from the usual suspects—vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey—to slightly less mainstream tastes like absinthe and aquavit.

As in previous years, producers will be selling bottles on site, so you can stock your liquor cabinet with the latest selections, and the crafters of these fine libations will be on hand to answer questions and talk shop about the latest drinking trends.

Billed as the largest artisanal spirits tasting in the country, Toast is adding a new element to its already decadent event: food carts. Home Plate Sliders (burgers), Thrive Pacific NW ("gluten-free fresh"), and Flyin’ Hawaiian island fare will be among the stalls selling comestibles to keep your food to booze ratio even throughout the event. This year will also feature the debut of a special distillers collection of chocolate from Portland’s own Moonstruck Chocolates.

So come toast spring (grey skies be damned, ‘tis the season!) and enliven your winter-dulled senses this weekend at Toast!

  • What: Toast: the International Craft Spirits Revival
  • When: Friday, March 22, 5-10pm; Saturday, March 23, 1-10pm
  • Where: Two World Trade Center, Portland, 121 SW Salmon Street
  • Tickets: Each day is only $20 advance; $25 at the door. Ticket price includes a tasting glass (while supplies last).
  • Transportation: Parking on the street or in Two World Trade Center’s underground lot, $4/day; better yet, take TriMet to and from the event.

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