Spice up your cocktail with gourmet eats
Heart of The House Portland
Kitchen 56 is about creating the heart of the house and bringing a chef's cuisine and a mixologist's cocktails together, creating masterful pairings. This month, we visit Portland, Oregon, a city exploding in culture, food & beverage, hospitality, and fantastic industry talent. Chef Nick Jarvis is a lifelong bartender, turned burger cook. Bartender Darren Polak is skilled behind the bar being a bartender for over a decade.
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- Chef Nick Jarvis' fantastic recipe!
- Cocktail pairings by bartender Darren Polak!
Chef Nick Jarvis
Tell us the inspiration behind the recipe.
Oktoberfest, 2016: Munich's beer halls & streets were thick with Canadian & American tourists (myself included), and I needed a break. I head into the greenery of the Englischer Garten and stop at the Eisbach River, where I experience for the first and only time actual surfing at the center of a major metropolis, and my mind is blown. After wandering the streets and avoiding anything beer-related, I head down a flight of stairs to a dark basement cocktail bar. Here, of all places, I come across another unexpected first - an iconic three-ingredient cocktail from Los Angeles combining equal parts Jägermeister, coconut rum, and pineapple juice. Cut to Portland, 2023: This simple mix has become the industry shot of choice throughout South East Portland; it always reminds me of Oktoberfest. It turns out liters of festbier and platters of sausage pair nicely with surfing and tropical cocktails.
Tell us why Jägermeister Cold Brew or Jägermeister Original works in the recipe.
When we're adding new items to the menu, we always think in distinct notes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and spicy. Each recipe calls for its own balance of these components. Herbal liqueurs can be fun challenges to build cocktails or dishes around, but the 56 botanicals of Jägermeister lend an added layer of complexity. It has a bold, unique flavor that's not always easy to pair with outside dessert dishes. However, within this big, bold flavor are all these subtleties and tasting notes (sweet, bitter, fruity, earthy, aromatic), and that's where I started to see the possibilities. I've always loved three-ingredient cocktails and, as a bartender, been fascinated by the versatility of Jagermeister in adding complexity to what would otherwise be everyday drinks. The cocktail we base this burger on is the perfect challenge: how do you create a savory menu item from a sweet, equal, parts three-ingredient cocktail? That sounded like fun.
Tell us why you love your city.
Portland is the most eclectic restaurant city I've ever visited. A humble industrial port city - not too big, not too small - Portland punches way above its weight class in food, drink & art. However, it doesn't seem to have its own distinct style in any of these things. There is no signature "Portland" drink or "Portland" dish (except maybe totchos), but the people here make some of the best pizza, curry, beer, dumplings, coffee, cocktails and burgers in the world. For a lifetime veteran of restaurants and bars, a city based around food is a dream come true. It can even feel like the entire economy hinges on bartenders taking their day's tips to go tip other bartenders. You can visit Portland as a culinary destination a dozen times in a year and have a completely different experience every time.
The inspiration behind the cocktail creation.
This drink is bright and tropical. It's meant to be enjoyed in the afternoon, whether that's on a sunny patio after the river or while gazing from a bar window on a dreary day before a matinee. Or try one after a bike ride through River View Cemetery on a brisk, gloomy day, an experience that this drink is named after. It's also a the name of a track from one of my favorite bands.
Cocktail Name: Chilly Grave
Bartender Name: Darren Polak
- .25 part Giffard Pêche
- .5 part lime juice
- .5 part pineapple
- .5 part Falernum
- 1 part guava syrup
- 1 part Jägermeister
- 1 part Old Granddad Bonded
Garnish: Mint sprig and a fun cherry-pick
Method: Shake with two small cubes and pour into a 15oz collins glass. Garnish with mint and a fun cherry-pick.
What do you love most about your city?
Portland is littered with top notch food and drink. There are also a number of lush, tree covered, picturesque parks. The city is very bike friendly, which is a great way to explore the city. Biking around to different parks and neighborhoods, you're bound to find something you'll like, whether it's a slept on taco truck or a dimly lit dive with a solid burger. I think that's a great way to spend a day in Portland.