Passion drives us all. It’s the element that fuels change, evolution and adaptation. A passionate industry on its own, the Portland cocktail scene has recently enjoyed a renaissance in styles, flavors and craftsmanship, generating a well-deserved amount of attention to the distillery culture. At the heart of this movement are companies like Straightaway Cocktails who have gone against the grain to breathe life into new products and push the boundaries of preconceived notions. Basically, they took what couldn’t be done and did it deliciously.
The roots behind the Straightaway brand begin with Cy Cain, Casey Richwine and their friends who enjoyed the years of cocktails prepared by the two craft enthusiasts. After years of lugging bottles to and from parties, vacations and events, and then spending the night preparing drinks for their friends, Cain and Richwine began dabbling in prepared drinks.
PARTY IN A BOTTLE
“Everyone comes to the party with their own ideas. We weren’t master distillers, we were master cocktail drinkers,” Cain says of Straightaway’s conception. “Our intention is to speak directly to the cocktail drinker, and democratize the experience. Everyone can enjoy amazing beers and wines at home, so we wanted to put the bartender in a bottle and give spirit lovers the chance to enjoy and not feel intimidated.”
Finding inspiration in the travels and writings of Charles H. Baker Jr., the original food and cocktail writer, and the pleas of their friends, the duo made the commitment to creating ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails. Born in December 2018, Straightaway Cocktails has been greeted with open arms by the distilling community in its Distillery Row home in Portland.
“The craft presence of Distillery Row is truly a treasure within Portland’s city limits,” Cain says. “Even in Kentucky you might have to drive miles between distilleries to enjoy a tour. Here you can explore the neighborhood while you explore the local distilleries.”
Offering time-tested cocktails such as a Negroni, Old Fashioned, classic gin martini and a Cosmopolitan, it’s the little-known Lintik that has made the biggest splash for Straightaway. Created in the Philippines’ Manila Hotel, the Charles H. Baker Jr. described the libation perfectly as “dishonorable, but electrifying.”
Made from gin aged with house-made simple syrup, bitters and lemon, Straightaway has proven Baker’s words true beyond a shadow of a doubt. “Lintik is a cocktail that existed for a moment in time in Manila to tell the story of their rich culture,” Cain adds. The limoncello-like cocktail is smooth with a bite, and fruity yet dry, making it the ideal parallel to the Straightaway style and brand.
READY-TO-DRINK BOTTLED CLASSICS
Straightaway Cocktails recently announced its venture into canned cocktails with the Spritz. Having just hit the stores in time for the Fourth of July, the Spritz line offers three expressions of canned libations showcasing a definite Italian influence. The Aperitvo Spritz has nuances of orange peel and bitters, while the Negroni Spritz adds prosecco to the classic cocktail. Finally, the Fiore Spritz embodies the Italians’ love for iris flowers with floral notes stemming from Oregon-made sparkling rosé.
The Distillery Row tasting room on Hawthorne is modeled after the timeless bar in the Manila Hotel, filled with deep blues and dark stones, accented by gold and pops of white. Pulling the visitor in with bright stylized branding that embodies the 1930s, each label tells a story of the cocktail it holds. From the cowboy loving Count Camillo of Negroni to the Miami Beach homage on the label of the Cosmopolitan, the details are in every purposeful choice.
The true beauty behind the Straightaway Cocktails brand is the joy in the duo’s creation. Every thought put into the brand and strategy tells a part of the story. In the tasting room, the lazy susan that transports the cocktail flights are handcrafted by local artisans while their choice of bottles are designed to mimic the style of the cocktail it holds.
Straightaway Cocktails is a culmination of years of study, imbibing adventures and hard work. The company has taken the RTD craze to the next level, putting mixology at your fingertips and quality in every detail.