For over a year now Carruthers has been relinquishing serving space behind their handsome bar once a month for a good cause.
The Celebrity Bartender benefit brings in a local notable on behalf of a select regional organization to pour specialty cocktails. At $20 a pop, 75% of the proceeds of each beverage sold go to the organization as well as the entirety of the tip jar.
Recent beneficiaries include the Clatsop County Animal Shelter and the Astoria Regatta Scholarship Fund. Carruthers general manager, Mariama Ramarui, said organizations have picked up anywhere between $150 and well over $1,000 in just a few short hours.
Like the Pickled Fish’s monthly Cocktail for a Cause, this is a trend in drinking culture I can wholeheartedly get behind. You don’t have to get tossed to toss in a little philanthropy on your night out. And, hey, if you do happen to get a little loose anyway, nothing sheds a hangover like the warm internal glow of altruism.
Emily Rivera will be the next celebrity bartender shaking things up literally on behalf of her employer, the Clatsop County Historical Society, from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Rivera (nee Gill, but probably best known around town as Emily Gray) is the business manager for the historical society as well as a tour guide for Astoria Underground.
Recently married, hence the name change, she also performs stand-up comedy under the moniker Public Emily #1. She holds court as emcee at the Labor Temple’s Cheap Whiskey and Dirty Jokes, the diner and bar’s monthly comedy event, on Sept. 20, and has upcoming gigs in Portland.
Sharp witted and quick on her feet, expect plenty of banter alongside your beverage.
“I never thought I was a funny person,” Rivera recently told me.
This changed dramatically when she took to Twitter and her brand of quips gathered over 10,000 followers. Even some of the gatekeepers of popular culture took notice, with the now-defunct shows, Comedy Central’s @midnight and IFC’s Portlandia offering her auditions. While neither audition worked out, something Rivera readily admits she was not ready for yet, the stand-up spark was ignited, and she’s been performing ever since.
Rivera will be pouring three exclusive cocktails that represent different, rather cheeky aspects on display at three of the five historical properties that the historical society oversees.
First off is the Whoa Nellie, a bittersweet, chocolaty cup built upon Buffalo Trace, which pays homage to Nellie Flavel, the second child of the famous Captain, who, in her later years, scored a prescription for medicinal bourbon during the height of Prohibition to help relieve lung congestion.
Long before it got Goonie-famous, the Oregon Film Museum was known to various miscreants, bootleggers and ne’er-do-wells as the Slusher Hotel. The county jail got its Prohibition-era nickname after the hospitality of Sheriff Harley Slusher, who was elected with support from the Ku Klux Klan by way of a recall to help clean up Astoria’s excess of illegal moonshine stills.
What better represents an all-expenses-paid night in the Hotel de Slusher than a whole lot of gin and bitters? The bar staff at Carruthers has refined The Sheriff Slusher to include rosemary and soda as well. Let’s say Nellie Flavel would approve.
Last but not least, The Sporting Woman honors what’s often referred to as the world’s oldest profession with a blast of Svedka vodka at the bottom of a layered schooner glass. Referencing the Virtue & Vice exhibit on the second floor of the Heritage Museum, this is but one of many euphemisms for prostitute on display exploring Astoria’s colorful past.
I recently had a chance to watch Rivera learn the ropes from Ramarui behind the bar.
More of a dry run than a dress rehearsal as the bar staff was still figuring out the final details of the special one-off menu, a beta pour of gin, cherry bitters and soda offered a promising start to The Sheriff Slusher. I could certainly see how the later substitution of celery bitters and the addition of rosemary would add to the botanical base of the gin, though not that the moonshiners of yore had time for such luxuries.
The recipes are printed here to entice your thirst more than anything else. This is a benefit after all and perhaps the only time to engage with Rivera in the foreseeable future without a two drink minimum or a ticket to the Underground.
Funds raised through the Carruthers Celebrity Bartender event will support the historical society’s free educational outreach programs including Talking Tombstones, Old Fashioned Fun & Games, Thursday Night Talks, free tours for local school children and Dalmatian Dog Day at the Uppertown Firefighter’s Museum, Executive Director Mac Burns said.
While Carruthers will have regular dinner and bar service during these monthly events, if you happen by, have one for charity and feel better in the morning.