Photography by Jason Rowan
In the middle of Portland Cocktail Week, on a classically gray-and-wet afternoon, bartenders of all persuasions and preferences donned wigs and lipstick for one hell of a party at the rock 'n' roll Jupiter Hotel, co-hosted by Absolut Vodka and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Spirited Sipping.
G.L.A.S.S was formed in 2013 and, led by cocktails and spirits marketing and events production whiz kid Cooper Cheatham of Double Barrel Consulting, the organization aims to provide a meeting ground for LGBT members of the spirits community. "Basically anyone who's identifies as queer in the bar and spirits world," Cheatham says.
Meetups are being held in cities around the country as the group grows, and a big part of the mandate is to also help local LGBT charities with fundraising and event support so the charities can use their time in helping out their communities. Absolut, with its longstanding support of the gay community, was a natural fit for the PDXCW event, so Cheatham and Absolut combined their powers and threw an unqualified banger.
The bromantic craft bartending world may be one of the least homophobic industries, but having this queer gathering was a welcome change-up. Or as "Glassmate" Jared Schubert of Louisville's Monkey Wrench says: "Isn't it nice to be at one of these industry cocktail parties that's actually gay?" And it was.
SLIDESHOW | PDXCW Absolut GLASS Drag Party
When the thirsty bartending hoards showed up, they were immediately escorted into a drag lounge where they could be fixed up with wigs, makeup, customizable tees. The liberating power of drag was on overdrive, as the bearded and tattooed opted for a more festive, wiggy look for the afternoon. There were probably more straight guys in wigs than gay guys--but who was straight, and who was gay? No one seemed to care. Certainly not the drag kings-and-queens-for-a-day. It was a high-level excuse to party in the middle of the afternoon and the energy, buyoed by local drag queens and proper cocktails, was atomic.
For more information on G.L.A.S.S., visit the organization's Facebook page.