Portland Drink and a Bite Highlight: Imperial

For Foodie Friday today, I wanted to start a series highlighting a Portland Drink and a Bite of food that I think not only is best in class within Portland, but is a classic representation of the character of Portland. Of course, that Portland Drink and a Bite Highlight is also delicious, and unique.

For the first highlight, I go to the first duo I craved when I returned from being away for 3 weeks or so – the A Radish Walks Into A Bar… cocktail at Imperial.

A Radish Walks into a Bar cocktail, ransom old tom gin, carpano antica vermouth, radish gastrique, lemon, and cracked peppercorns, Imperial PDX, Vitaly Paley

Crafted with Carpano Antica vermouth, Ransom Old Tom gin, lemon, radish gastrique, cracked pepper and salt, and served with a beautiful cube of ice (sourced from PDX ice) that they hand carve from an ice block. This unique cocktail is savory and sour and sweet (it’s name is a nod towards Chef Vitaly Paley’s win in Iron Chef with radish as the secret ingredient). And this cocktail is one of my top 5 favorites in Portland. It’s the best radish cocktail I’ve ever had, and I keep going back to it.

Apparently Portland Monthly agrees with me – it listed it among the Top 10 Cocktails in PDX in March 2015.

I don’t even have to look at the menu – as soon as I sit down (usually maybe once a month or so) at Imperial, I order this cocktail right off the bat, along with a Parker House Roll.
Parker House roll with whipped butter and sea salt, Imperial PDX, Vitaly Paley Parker House roll with whipped butter and sea salt, Imperial PDX, Vitaly Paley

This is the best Parker House Roll I’ve ever had – larger then your fist, served warm with whipped butter and Jacobson sea salt, it’s buttery delicate softness with a hint of sweet is a perfect match for the slight peppery bite of the Radish Walks Into A Bar cocktail, making it a great starter. Every time I go into Imperial, I order the cocktail and roll. I’ve even done this when I was on my way walking to meet others for drinks and dinner – I stopped and got this first!

The rest of the Imperial kitchen and bar is firing on all cylinders, so feel free to add to your meal with a grilled salad, Dougie’s fried chicken, or many other items on the menu. This particular Portland Drink and a Bite feels like it really embodies Portland to me in it’s celebration of Chef Paley with that creative cocktail, paired with a nod towards James Beard with those Parker House rolls, and it gets you into the door of Imperial with it’s Northwest cuisine.

Have you tried this cocktail and/or Imperial’s Parker House Roll before? Do you have a favorite drink and a bite someplace that you think really represents Portland that you’d like to nominate?



  1. Sounds delicious! I love radishes, so this cocktail would suit me jussst fine. Thanks for sharing Pech!

  2. Haha, I love the name of the cocktail! Gotta love booze with a sense of humor.

  3. The Radish Cocktail looks SO interesting – I need to get my hands on it soon!

  4. Wow, that drink looks amazing. Must try it. And the Parker Roll too. 🙂

  5. I keep hearing about the Imperial and love me a well curated cocktail…you had me at radish


  6. I like that! I like to try the Parker Roll. 🙂

  7. Love this new series idea! I can’t wait to see what else is on your list. Have to go try the radish cocktail.

  8. Their cocktails are so delicious! I have had their Parker House Rolls. Love the new series idea!

  9. Oh man, those Parker house rolls are seriously addictive. I love a lot of things at Imperial but those knock it out of the park every time. I love this new series! I think Tasty n Alder is super Portland – quirky, loud, casual, unique menu and insanely good food. Perhaps also anywhere with communal seating, haha!

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