Derek Jacobi is the beverage director at Abigail Hall in Portland, OR.
What was your first job in the beverage or hospitality industry?
Working at the local Round Table during my junior year of high school, making pizzas, and working the register might count. Still, it was only when I signed up for an entire year of culinary courses at the regional technical institute during my senior year of high school that I was officially bitten by the F&B bug. When the rep from Johnson and Wales came by, it was over; my fate was sealed.
What is your favorite spirit to work with at the moment?
Since it’s getting colder, I inevitably start pulling out the high-proof apple brandy. It’s hard not to put Laird’s, some tasty Calvados, or Pommeau in every drink on the menu during the wintertime.
Abigail Hall offers large-format Martinis for the table; how many people do they serve, and what has been popular with guests?
We’ve got Martinis and Manhattans for two and four people. We sell our fair share of Gin Martinis; people love them so much.
You partner with a local tea company for cocktails and high tea; what do you like about using tea in drinks?
It’s something different. Syrups are rich with nuance when you make them with teas, and the Smith Tea Makers have a flavor and aroma that go with any type of alcohol.
What do you offer on the industry night menu you hold every Tuesday for hospitality veterans?
Service Industry Night (S.I.N.) offers our F&B friends special priced premium spirit Negronis; Old Fashioneds; Coffee Martinis where we cut it with half Ramazotti; Dirty Ranch Waters, ice cream sandwiches from Holler Treats, and a vermouth/quinquina/amaro section that won’t quit.
What are some of the popular cocktails on the menu currently?
Our Koji Old Fashioned is by far the most popular cocktail of all time in our bar. This season’s sour, the Walnut Oliveto, is very popular, followed closely by the Drunk Nanna.
What’s your own current go-to cocktail or beverage?
My go-to will always be Laird’s high proof apple brandy or a fine Irish whiskey.
Would you share the recipe for one of the popular cocktails at Abigail Hall?
Here’s the Walnut Oliveto recipe.
- 1 ½ oz. Plymouth Gin
- ½ oz. Liquor 43
- ½ oz. Umeshu plum wine
- ¼ oz. Extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ oz. Rich Demerara syrup
- 10 drops Saline 20%
- ¾ oz. Lemon juice
- 1 oz. Egg white
- 4 dashes Black walnut bitters
- Dry shake all of the ingredients.
- Add ice and shake again
- Serve in a beautiful coupe glass.
- Garnish with shaved cinnamon.