Angie Bryan’s home bar, custom-made in Pakistan, and now happily residing in Portland. Photos by Angie Bryan

Y’all didn’t think a little social distancing was going to prevent me from writing a bar review, did you?

This week, I decided – well, the CDC decided – I would be visiting the bar in my apartment. It’s an actual bar (on wheels, no less) with a fold-out countertop. I designed it and had it built when I was stationed in Peshawar, Pakistan – because where else would one commission a custom bar? The woodwork in Peshawar is fabulous, and it cost me all of $200. As soon as it was delivered, I hosted a bar-warming party to introduce it to my friends. It came with me to subsequent diplomatic postings in Islamabad, Lyon, Sana’a, Stockholm, and Washington, D.C., and is now (like me) loving life in Portland.

To protect the wood, the top of the bar is covered with a futah, the traditional skirt-like garment that men wear in Yemen. Sitting on the futah are a hand-painted wine decanter from a street market in Lyon, a copper pail from Pakistan that I use as a wine chiller, a mixology book called The Curious Bartender, a cocktail shaker, a giant eggplant-colored cocktail glass from Peshawar, and a few bottles that don’t fit neatly inside the bar. On top of the freezer next to the bar is an adorable little ice crusher that I purchased while reviewing Vessel & Vine in Brunswick.

Inside the bar are drawers, a wine rack, storage for my endless selection of funny cocktail napkins and, of course, a wide range of alcohol. In the doors of the bar are bitters, shot glasses, liqueur glasses, and we’re not going to talk about the individual-sized bottles of Allen’s. One of my favorite items is the little copper straws from Vena’s Fizz House in downtown Portland.

Enough talk – let’s drink. All of the hoarding, prepping and hunkering down reminds me of hurricane season in Houston, where I grew up, so I decided to make a Hurricane. Opinions on the internet differ about how to make a Hurricane, but I swear by one shot glass of light rum, one shot glass of dark rum (not the spiced kind), one shot of passion fruit syrup, and the juice of half a lime. I mix it all up in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and then pour it into my mouth, I mean, a glass.

Ingredients for a homemade Hurricane.

Don’t let the passion fruit syrup (or lack thereof) stop you from making this recipe. I couldn’t find it in any local stores, but I easily found it online. My go-to brand for cocktail syrups is Monin, and its website includes recipes, videos and an online store. You’re welcome.

Once you’ve made your Hurricane, ask Alexa to play some New Orleans jazz and then dance by the window, asking passersby for beads. Other options include the high-top table with cushioned barstools, the dark brown leather sofa, the floor, or even the bathtub. Anything goes in this bar! Despite the lack of purse hooks, I’ll definitely be back. Probably tonight.

Angie Bryan is a former diplomat who is enjoying getting acquainted with her new home in Portland, one cocktail at a time.

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