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Bangor gets infused

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Local restaurants offer their own unique drinks

BANGOR - Last week, Downtown Bangor got itself infused.

Houlton-based vodka distillery Twenty2 Vodka sponsored Bangor's first ever "infusathon," a charity event in which nine local restaurants offered their own special infused vodka.

For a vodka to be infused, all it needs is to be flavored by one or more different ingredients. These ingredients are added to the liquor and then left to steep. The steeping time varies depending on the ingredients used; it could be a matter of a few days or several months.

Bangor's infusathon took the form of a pub crawl or walking tour; participants were given a map and nine drink tickets, to be redeemed for a one-ounce drink serving at each of the locations. Each restaurant, along with their own special infusion, offered a small bite of food designed to be paired with the infusion.

Restaurants that took part in the infusathon included:
The Charles Inn - three different infusions; Bananas Foster, Valencia Orange and Fruit Punch.
The Reverend Noble Pub - Honey Apple.
Ipanema Bar and Grill - Mango, Lime and Cilantro.
Luna Bar and Grill - Chocolate Mint.
Thai Siam - Basil, Lemongrass and Citrus.
The Fiddlehead - Grilled Pineapple and Thyme Flowers.
Nocturnem Draft Haus - Malt and Hops.
Zen Asian Bistro - Banana Tempura.
Seadog Brewing Co. - Maraschino Cherry.

Those of us who took part in the tour were asked to vote for our favorite infusion and our favorite pairing. While the winner receives the prestige of victory, the money raised through the $15 ticket price was designated for charity - a charity that participants also voted on.

Every location's infusion had something to offer; there were a lot of interesting choices. And of course, there's something wonderful about watching downtown come alive with an event like this, watching people wandering to and fro. It's also a great opportunity for these establishments to put themselves on display.

Now, while every infusion had something going for it, I certainly had some clear favorites. Perhaps the most daring of them all was Gene Beck's malt-and-hops infusion at Nocturnem; while it may not have been my favorite of the day, it was a daring choice that I hope inspires him to keep trying. The bold fruitiness of the offerings by the Charles Inn, Reverend Noble, Ipanema, Zen and Seadog made for some nice drinks, as did the dessert-like sweetness of Luna's drink.

However, the two standouts for me were Fiddlehead and Thai Siam. Both of these infusions offered interesting, bold combinations. The combination of pineapple and thyme in Fiddlehead's infusion had a subtle sweetness that was just delectable, while Thai Siam's use of basil and lemongrass both harnessed and enhanced the citrus flavor.

That said, each and every one of the participants brought something to the table. Each drink was tasty, each bite was savored and each host was gracious. The infusathon is the sort of event that Bangor needs more of.

Seriously. Fine food, fine drink, a fine cause ... what's not to like?

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 14:51

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