Bartender Daniel Shoemaker, Portland, OR, Oregon, Teardrop Lounge, What To Drink, Ingredients, Food, What To Pour, Where to drink, Best Bars in Portland, Bartenders, What To Drink, Best Bars In The Country, Los Angeles, CA, California, New York, NY, NYC, Manhattan, New Orleans, LA, Louisiana, Boise, ID, Idaho, Spirits, Liquors, Bartender’s Tool, Cocktail Tools, Seattle, WA, Washington, San Francisco, CA, California, Alexandria, VA, Virginia, Coffee, Restaurants, Where to eat, Market, Stores


Q & A


Recommended By

- Bartender Erik Adkins (The Slanted Door in San Francisco, CA)

- Bartender Michael Bowers (The Modern Hotel & Bar in Boise, ID)

- Bartender Chris McMillian (Bar Uncommon in New Orleans, LA)

- Bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Clyde Common in Portland, OR)

Portland, OR

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Q & A with Bartender Daniel Shoemaker

Q. Please tell us about the Teardrop Lounge:

A. A large part of our program is house-made ingredients. We make about forty bitters and tinctures from scratch. We make our own tonic water, ginger beer, and Amer Picon vermouth. Some of our ingredients are aged for nine months in oak barrels. We are constantly in production mode, constantly aging the ingredients, and every menu has an average of thirty drinks on any given menu, which change every three months or less.

Q. Is there a signature must-try cocktail?

A. People always ask ‘What's your drink, what are you guys known for?’ By virtue of changing our menu so frequently, we have a very deep and broad repertoire of cocktails, from which we can cull and extract and make the right drink for the right person at the right time. 

We divide our menu into three sections, a full page of classic cocktails, a full page of our house seasonal cocktails and a full page of friends' drinks from around the country.

Q. How do you pick whose cocktails you want to showcase on your menu?

A. One thing that I emphasize is that these are all friends. It’s giving a shout out to our friends who are doing fantastic work. With bartenders that come through town, as they're sitting at the bar we ask them, ‘Hey, we want to have you on the next menu.’ For example:

Sam Ross at Milk & Honey in New York, NY

He built a cocktail for us and he was thrilled that we were asking him to put his cocktail on the menu.

Todd Thrasher at PX in Washington, DC

Todd also created a cocktail for us. He’s crazy talented and he's also a huge pain in the butt. His drinks are always so involved; we always have to make the ingredients, which we do ourselves. Part of the real joy is seeing what the bartenders send and if they use a homemade ingredient that we are able to duplicate it, such as making bitters from scratch.

Brooke Arthur at Ho Wing General Store in San Francisco, CA

She sent recipes that were easy enough for us to duplicate and I said, ‘Bring a challenge, what do you have?’ So she gave me a shrub that took two months to age. If I need to make a bitters from scratch for a particular cocktail, that's a large part of what drives us.

Q. You're doing pretty labor intensive cocktails, so it's not like a simple gin and tonic kind of thing. Is there a wait time for a drink? Or are there only a certain number of people that you let in the bar at any given time? 

A. We don't take shortcuts. It’s having a staff that is able to work with a tremendous amount of precision and skill, and a tremendous amount of speed. The training process is very rigorous and I do a lot of boot camp with bartenders individually. We blindfold them so that everything becomes instinctive and muscle memory is rapidly developed.

I know the speakeasy movement is interesting to watch, but I believe a bar is a bar. We open up the doors and we don't have a reservation policy. People walk in and have a good time and that's just the element of rock and roll. We put the same amount of love if you have a drink at four o'clock on a Monday afternoon as you do at ten o'clock on a Friday night.


Photographs courtesy of Teardrop Lounge


Bartender’s Tips & Advice

Five Reasons We Make Something From Scratch

1) Something Doesn't Exist Anymore

We make an Eau de Vie, which is an old recipe out of Byron’s Modern Bartender’s Guide. Before St. Germain Elderflower liqueur came on the market, we found a woman with an Austrian varietal of an elderflower tree and we made our own liqueur.

2) Something Exists, But In An Inferior Way

When Small Hands Crème de Cacao comes out on the market from Jen Colliau, I can stop making our house-made crème de cacao. When it’s more austere, more authentic, and it's more about the chocolate than it is about the sweetness, then we can use their product.

3) A Product Exists, But Making It Fresh Is Better

We have a number of friends who make a great Orgeat, but ours is fresh, light and bright and that has very low shelf life. Even though there are grapefruit bitters on the market, nothing is fantastic yet, so we're making that ourselves.

4) Something Doesn't Exist In A Very Narrow Spectrum

Making a soda from scratch that doesn’t exist, because we want to create that profile.

5) The Sense Of The Thingness Of The Thing

If you can break it down and build it yourself, you can understand it. We can make a shrub ourselves to understand what it is and the function that it serves as an ingredient.


Bartender’s Tools

I think there are two movements in the craft cocktail world: one is toward more esoteric tools and the other is away from that. They're diametrically opposed. One is like ghetto tools, taking really bad Hawthorne strainers and tying it with a zip-tie to achieve the same thing as you do with a $20 strainer. I'm in-between the two.

You see a lot of bartenders working with the 18-inch Japanese stirring spoons. People in Japan are confused that they're selling those because they're specifically designed for Japanese highballs, which are served in a foot tall glass. Some of the things are really just an affectation.


I'm a firm believer in jiggers, obviously, but I want just straightforward jiggers. Make sure that they're all either coated or non-coated. I'm just a believer in consistency. I get whatever cheap ones you can get from

If somebody were to make a quarter ounce jigger, I'd be thrilled. That's the one area that's missing entirely. Some bartenders are talking about moving toward a metric system, but then you've got 30 jiggers, as opposed to 3.

Stirring Spoons

I'm not a huge tool hound. I believe that one of the only areas we're ten on ten is the right stirring vessels, having everything at your disposal that you need. The only thing I allow for variation on is your spoon, because I think that your stirring spoon is like an extension of your hand, it's definitely important.

I love the Rosle and I also love what they’re doing at Cocktail Kingdom. I get the Japanese stirring spoon there. The threads are incredibly tight and are good for my hands. But no one else on my staff likes them. That means I know it's just mine, which is great. And I use the disc on the end to float spirits.

[See details.]


Bartender’s Recs | Spirits & Tonics

Kronan Swedish Punsch | Leopold Bros Maraschino | Fever Tree Tonic | Q Tonic

Find | Spirits

In Oregon, we're in a controlled state. There are things that I'm super excited about using that we probably won’t see for another ten months, just because we're the last ones to get some of these products.

Kronan Swedish Punsch

Batavia Arrack is a sugarcane spirit from the Indies that is arguably one of the first distillers ever made. It's very funky and foreign to Western palates with complex layers like chocolate and funky citrus. In Sweden, they started bottling this Scandinavian punch with arrack as the base. It's almost a complete punch in a bottle and it's just fantastic. There are a number of classic recipes that call for it.

The Leopold Brothers Maraschino

The Leopold Brothers from Colorado are amazing. I'm most excited about working with their Maraschino, which is something that doesn't exist. We don't have anything like it.

Small Hands Food Crème de Cacao & Crème de Menthe

They make fantastic products all the way around. I'm most excited about Jennifer Colliau’s Crème de Cacao and Crème de Menthe, having ingredients that have notoriously been inferior since we've been mixing. A Stinger is a fantastic cocktail, if you have a good crème de menthe, a properly sourced mint.

[See details.]

Find | Tonic Waters

Fever Tree & Q Tonic

Most of the tonic water on the market has the bare minimum of quinine to be called tonic water, so they end up being sweetened soda water for the most part. Q Tonic is dryer and Fever Tree is more bitter. I think they're both fantastic and both exceptional options to have at home and in a bar. We've never carried either, simply by virtue of the fact that we make our own from scratch.

[See details.]


Bartender’s Recs | Portland, OR

Find | Markets

Portland Farmers Market

There are farmers markets starting March through October that happen all over. There is a large one on Saturdays, which if you don't get there by 7:30 in the morning you are going to have far less of a choice and you’re going to get run over by baby strollers. But on Wednesday afternoon they do the same one, smaller and it's all just locals. It's the best farmers market I have ever seen. It’s tremendous.

[See details.]


Eat | Restaurants

Breakfast at Tasty N Sons

Photograph courtesy of Tasty N Sons

Tasty N Sons

It’s my favorite. It’s a wonderful breakfast spot with breakfast tapas. They own Toro Bravo, which is a large Spanish tapas place. But for breakfast, you can't beat it.


It’s a small place where they literally just do six courses per night. It's wonderful.


Someone serious has put together a fantastic cocktail program with a Eastern European influence with bitters and digestifs.

The Bent Brick | Paley’s Place

Photograph courtesy of The Bent Brick | Paley’s Place

Paley’s Place

Great for dinner. Paley’s Place is a James Beard Foundation Award winner and their cookbook came out last year. It’s the first restaurant I went to in Portland and I just want to go back again and again. It's exceptional. The Escargot à la Bordelaise with veal bone marrow just melts in your mouth. It’s escargot like I've never had before. They also have the best beef tartare in the city.

The Bent Brick

Bar Manager Adam Robinson worked in New York at Momofuku Ssäm Bar and he is running their program. He's very talented. Their menu changes every couple of weeks and it’s based on whatever they get their hands on that week from the rancher, farmer and grower.

Woodsman Tavern

Evan Zimmerman is the next generation. He's the most talented bartender in Portland with the most exquisite palate. Woodsman Tavern is more of a restaurant, but his cocktail program is bar none, just outstanding.

[See details.]


Drink | Cocktails

Cocktails at Kask and Clyde Common in Portland, OR

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Clyde Common at The Ace Hotel

It’s fantastic. Jeff Morgenthaler is one of the best bartenders I know because he gets the big picture. He understands what it takes to run a program with consistency. He also has the most widely read cocktail blog in the country. Bartenders like when they get to meet him and are just so thankful because they learned from him.


Tommy Klus is just tremendously talented, also a very good host. He puts together a great program.

Oven and Shaker

Owner Ryan Magarian is also part owner of Aviation Gin and a cocktail guru. His program is so incredibly consistent. He understands the beauty of four ingredients in the drink, which his bartenders execute faithfully all the time.

[See details.]


Drink | Coffee

Coffee at Coava

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.


When they initially opened up, I hated them for the name. It's like opening a bar and calling it bartender. But as I've gotten to know them, they are so incredibly gifted with an understanding for technique and palate.


They are the best roaster with really beautiful, rich, deep dark coffee. They also have a shop on the east side that's just tremendous.

[See details.]


Bartender’s Recs | Bars & Bartenders Around The US

The Golden One at PX in Alexandria, Va

Photograph courtesy of PX, Photo Credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Washington, DC Area

Passenger & Columbia Room

Derek Brown is an incredibly talented guy.

[See details.]

PX and TNT (Inside Eamonn’s)

Todd Trasher is crazy talented.

[See details.]

Boise, ID

The Modern Hotel & Bar

Michael Bowers has one of the best palates I've ever come across. He gets no recognition or attention because he’s in Boise, but he's leading the charge.

[See details.]

Cocktails at The Varnish in Los Angeles, CA

Photograph courtesy of The Varnish

Los Angeles, CA

The Varnish

Eric Alperin is my favorite bartender in L.A. and a tremendous host. More than any of the bartenders I know, he understands the theatrics. He remembers that you are on stage and every day is a new performance.

More and more bartenders talk about this industry in a very theoretical fashion and when it comes to the daily grind, they get weary, tired and burn out quickly. Seeing someone who understands that you do it five days a week because you love it and because we love the performance, the interaction with customers. He also just has a very classic sensibility with his cocktails. We have created this beast we call dealer's choice and we’re always pushing towards the next frontier of flavor profiles and unique flavor ingredients. So to find someone who just understands classic profile in-depth is really exciting.

[See details.]

New Orleans, LA

Bar UnCommon

Chris McMillian is fantastic. It’s great to just sit in front of him for a few hours.

[Note: Chris McMillian is no longer at Bar UnCommon.]

[See details.]

San Francisco, CA

Ho Wing General Store

Brooke Arthur came in and built a cocktail for us at Teardrop Lounge.

[Note: Brooke Arthur is no longer at How Wing General Store.]

[See details.]

Bartender Murray Stenson at Canon in Seattle, WA

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Seattle, WA


Jamie Boudreau is a very talented guy and recently opened Canon, which is a must. It’s also where Murray Stenson is currently working. He's a legend and a very, very, very sweet man.

Murray Stenson is a consummate host. He's the only one who represents all that's best about being a bartender. He makes the best drinks, but he does so without any pretension. He is the reason that we know about the Last Word cocktail. We owe him such a debt, but he'll never teach a class because he doesn't think he knows what he knows and because he didn't have someone specifically teach him. He learned it over the course of forty years of bartending. You can sit in front of him, have a drink, and come back a year later and he remembers your drink.

[See details.]

Cocktail Recipes

- Bamboo Groove

- Gilded Youth

- Infinite Jest

- Long Time Coming

- Moon On the Rain

F.E.D. Recs on the Go

Download the F.E.D. iPhone app and get bartender Daniel Shoemaker’s recommendations as well as more recs from other bartenders, chefs, sommeliers and food artisans.


Details of Daniel Shoemaker’s recommendations on where to eat, drink and shop in Portland, OR and where to drink around the country.


General Information

Teardrop Lounge

Pearl District


1015 NW Everett Street

Portland, OR 97209

T: 503.445.8109



Mon - Sat: 4pm - close