Inferno Lounge in downtown Astoria recently won the Coast Weekend Readers’ Choice Award for Best Bar, and I realized it had been awhile since I’d seen what they were pouring at Rich Ewing’s bar on Pier 11.
On a recent Sunday afternoon the crow’s nest DJ booth overlooking the cozy wooden interior was dark, and the air was pleasantly filled with soul music. The Inferno’s front-row view of the Columbia River’s shipping lane offered plenty a hull to ponder as the bar pilots did their thing on the lapping water just outside.
The only thing missing was a beverage, but I had to look toward a different bar for that. This Pineapple Margarita is emblematic of the Inferno’s appeal, featuring an infused spirit in a playful application. Do not forego the salt: It adds a complimentary dimension to the sweetness of the pineapple juice.
2 ounces pineapple tequila*
1/2 ounce sour mix
1/2 ounce pineapple juice
3 lime wedges
Line the rim of a cocktail glass with the salt and set aside. Muddle the limes and ice together in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Once some of the liquids and oils have given out of the citrus, add the liquid ingredients, shake until cold, and roll the drink out into cocktail glass. Garnish with pineapple slice and serve.
—Recipe courtesy of Mark Barsekian and Rich Ewing, bartender and owner, respectively, at the Inferno Lounge, Astoria, Oregon
*The Inferno uses silver tequila for this infusion. Remove the rind from a pineapple, and slice up the sweet flesh. Submerge the pineapple in the tequila, place in a non-reactive container and let it steep for about two weeks before using. If you do not use your pineapple-infused tequila with the frequency that the Inferno Lounge does, you will eventually want to strain out the fruit after about a month or so to keep it from spoiling.