Best of the Rest from Portland

I already gave you the run down on the top five whiskeys that I tasted in Portland, but I also tasted a lot of other craft spirits that at least deserve a mention. So, in no particular order, the best of the rest:

Dos Maderas P.X. Rum - Although not necessarily a 'craft spirit' this rum, imported by Kindred Spirits, certainly is unique and deserves to be tasted by anyone who enjoys good rums or good sherry as it has characteristics of both. It begins life as molasses-based rum from Barbados and Guyana, spends five years in American oak, followed by five years in Spain. The first three of those last five years are spent in Palo Cortado sherry casks, while the final two years are in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. After all that Dos Maderas P.X. ends up as a syrupy, complex rum, perfect for sipping neat or pouring over a bit of vanilla ice cream.

Elemental Vodka - I'm not a frequent vodka drinker, but my definition of a good vodka is one with a clean, crisp taste and as little burn as possible.Elemental hits that definition on the head and is USDA certified organic to boot. Made by Portland's own Highball Distillery, this is quite possibly the most feel-good vodka you can get if you live in the Pacific Northwest.

Medoyeff Vodka - Another Portland vodka, Medoyeff is made by House Spirits, and is exceedingly crisp and clean tasting, with just a hint of grain flavor to make it interesting. One of the few vodkas I've ever had that I would consider drinking on the rocks, maybe with a squeeze of lemon. It comes in a beautiful bottle too that might make you think it's a Russian or Polish import.

El Relingo Tequila - This 100% blue agave tequila comes in blanco, reposado, and anejo varieties. I was able to sample the reposado and anejo versions and found them to be some of the smoothest, most flavorful tequilas I've tasted. As premium tequila comes into its own I'm glad to see some smaller producers like this family-run operation hitting the market.

Ransom Old Tom Gin - This gin is unique in that it's aged in oak for three to six months. This is in-keeping with the traditional gin style of the mid-1800's, but really stands out next to crystal clear modern gins. Even with the hints of oak from the aging this is still clearly a gin with predominant botanical tastes, but at the same time it's something completely unique.

Calisaya - This is one of those drinks you'll either love or hate. Made in Oregon, but based on Italian liqueurs based on the cinchona calisaya bark, this is a bitter-tasting sipper with hints of orange and pine. I could see it mixing well in a slightly off-center Manhattan.

If you get a chance to dry any of these unique spirits go for it, they're all one of a kind.