Back in Black

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Portland, Oregon is the best, as everyone knows. The city is largely unhindered by the cruel oppression of the sun’s toxic ultraviolet rays, which keep skin cancer and unnecessary happiness at bay. Mount Tabor, a dormant volcanic “cone” lies within the city limits, which is in no way absolutely terrifying. And a large near-sighted Amish population brings their rich cultural heritage to the table and fills the streets with the soothing sounds of emotional music, which nobody ever grows tired of.

But what few people realize is the many contributions that my tiny hometown of Eugene, just a hundred miles to the south, has made to Portland over the years.

One-way streets, which are never super annoying, first made their appearance in Eugene and have since been adopted by Portland for their awesomeness. The Nike swoosh, which nobody has ever gotten tired of looking at, credits Eugene as its birthplace and now calls Portland its home. And now, the vast cadre of antics of one Mr. Jeffrey Morgenthaler, which are impossible to tire of, have been generously donated to the city of Portland by the town of Eugene.

Yes, one month ago I filled up a large truck with a bunch of liquor, cocktail-related reading material – and a small bed – and headed for my new home of Portland. I am in the process of taking over the cocktail program at Clyde Common, from current bar manager extraordinaire Kevin Ludwig. While I’ve been using my time as of late to adjust to the new bar, absorb all I can from Kevin before he leaves to open his own venture Beaker and Flask, and generally make the adjustment to a larger city, I will be slowly implementing, along with the powerhouse staff currently behind the bar at the Clyde, an aggressive cocktail and spirits program of my own.

So stay tuned for updates, new posts, and possibly even a new drink or two – I’m sure you’re all tired of looking at that darn egg nog recipe over there on the left considering it’s February and all.

Thanks to Clyde Common, Portland, and you, dear reader, for all the support. And special thanks to Mr. Thomas Ngo for the above photo of me behind the bar at Clyde Common on my first night.

35 Replies to “Back in Black”

  • hey jeff! welcome to the 503. I’ll drop by in the next day or two to say hi, and maybe drink a richmond gimlet … havn’t had since bamboo days. 🙂 talk to you soon.

  • Yeppers says:


    Yes, same person. Deb Frisch has a long history of stalking and harassment. She’s presently facing criminal charges.

  • SeanMike says:

    I wonder if it was the same person who left some comment on one of my posts about you putting hands in someone’s pants…weird.

  • eddiebear says:

    Dude, you probably know this by now, but you were attacked by one of the most notorious internet kooks ever.

    But congrats on the move. I always love a well-prepared drink. If I ever arrive in Oregon, I want to have you pour me one.

  • Garretto says:

    Wow, no apology necessary, Jeff.
    Though it looked as if the person used an apt reply “name”.
    Talk about bitters….

  • Many apologies to any email or RSS comment feed subscribers who had to endure a barrage of vulgar comments last night. One more export Eugene is famous for is loose nuts. The offender has been identified through my traffic logs, and her IP address ( has been banned.

    Again, many apologies.


  • Ben says:

    Sweet! My brother lives in Portland. Great city. Will have to check out Clyde Common next time I visit him.

    You think Eugene’s streets are bad? Try Honolulu, where you’ll find two and sometimes three adjacent one-ways GOING THE SAME WAY.

  • Dina says:

    Moving to my favorite town. You lucky dog. 😀
    Good luck at your new gig. And enjoy all PDX has to offer.

  • A.B. says:

    To our dear Jeffrey,
    Our loss is Portlands best import from Eugene so far. You are far more useful than one-way streets! Best wishes on your new adventure.
    Do Amish drink?
    Good luck out there!

  • oregoncoastgirl says:

    Excellent. I guess it’s time to check out CC, at last.

  • Smach says:

    In PDX, moustache is the new black. We’re glad you’re here. Now quick, grow some facial hair!

  • SeanMike says:

    Oh, that eggnog recipe – I think I’ve already scheduled an artery scraping and a liposuction thanks to it…

  • sylvan says:

    Let me join in welcoming you up to Portland! I don’t make it too often to Clyde, but hopefully soon.

  • John Claude says:


    I resemble that remark!

    Unfortunately tattoos are a huge hindrance to getting bar work in New England. Reason #4353 I’m moving back to Portland tomorrow. : P

  • Anu says:

    Hello there. . .
    I’ve been reading your blog and have heard so much about you (briefly met you at the distillers festival, I was tagging along with the Munat bros). Clyde Commons is one of my favorite spots in Portland. I’m looking forward to visiting it again with you and the other fabulous bartenders there.

    Until the next road trip to Portland!

  • Jeff Frane says:

    I’m pretty sure that it’s illegal to work in food service here without tats, and I’m not seeing a lot of ink on those arms, Morgenthaler. Best get that taken care of before we have to ship you back to Eugene.

  • Garretto says:

    Back in Black with a bottle of Sazerac! Looking forward to new posts from the new digs. Best of luck!

  • John Claude says:

    Glad you’re settling in well! I’ll see you on Friday night.

    The hipster picture is priceless. Portland is Beardo central for the kids, that’s for sure…

  • Tokyo Tea says:

    Karama- Been gone from SBT for about two years and last summer switched to dist. bev. sales so I could fix my teeth via BENEFITS. I really hope that the O.B.G. can make insurance benefits for industry workers one of their side crusades as its disheartening how many talented professionals in our arena are without. By the way, there’s a story behind the screen name (TT) in case if anyone was wondering what’s with the name (hopefully nobody assumed it was my beverage of choice- insert emoticon)

  • Thanks, everyone. I look forward to seeing those of you I haven’t had the pleasure of serving in person, and already miss those of you who have been my regulars and friends over the years.

  • Karama says:

    I’m happy for you, CC, Portland and all the patrons that will be enjoying your tasty drinks, your sarcasm, cutting wit and all the other worth mentioning parts of you..but for those of us left in “little ole Eugene” we miss your face!
    just noticed Jake he still at STB? 🙂

  • Tokyo Tea says:

    What??? You’re leaving me with the rest of these scrubs down here (Sorry but most of you so-called bartenders in Eugene are)? Seriously dude, we might not have always agreed (which is what I love about you) but the talent pool around here just got EXTREMELY shallow. I don’t know what to say? Well I guess good luck and I will have to go up and see you (I’ll get to work on that OBG membership application I’ve been slacking on).

  • Sam Harrigan says:

    He lives! Nice to have you back & congrats on the new gig. Best of luck to you!

  • Jessica Roberts says:

    Welcome! We are so excited to have you behind the bar!

    Bicycling is another import from Eugene, and it’s thriving in its adoptive home. I regularly use and enjoy the premium bike parking outside of Clyde Commons. Is there any help I can offer to you on the subject? Bike maps, info on good shops, suggested rides? Let me know; there are lots of us informal ambassadors about.

  • Pete says:

    Congrats, does this mean you next move is up to us in Seattle?
    (insert some comment related to big fish … small pond…) 🙂

  • SA says:

    Hey Jeff! Miz juliana there turned us on to Bel Ami and I’m super excited I don’t have to travel on down to Eugene to get one of your slick cocktails! Expect to see me and my friends around your parts soon.

  • MissMeaghan says:

    Looking forward to see what you come up with! CC and Portland’s drinkers are lucky to have you

  • juliana says:

    Heyyyyyyyyyy, there you are! Miss you!

  • Cuco says:

    HI Jeff your Blog is the best place to learn about cocktail.

    You are an example to follow for all the bartenders.


  • Tea says:

    So kind and generous of Eugene to let you go! Look forward to seeing you sooner rather than later. We’ll toast to new adventures.

  • Eugenia says:

    Eugene’s drinks are now salty with our tears. (Maybe that’s what was wrong with that Manhattan the other day.) And yes, for God’s sake, man, dump that curdled egg nog already!

  • sarah says:

    bel ami will be sorely lacking without you. but, hey, you’ll be closer to an international airport for all your worldly travels 🙂

  • Thanks, guys. Looking forward to meeting you both very soon!

  • Foliosus says:

    Woohoo! I kept forgetting to stop by Eugene for a drink, but now that you’re in my hometown, I’ll definitely have to taste your drinks. 🙂

  • Ralph says:

    heavens, the cocktail blogger I enjoy reading the most is now working a stones throw from my place of employment?

    Mine’s a Dark and Stormy, I’ll be seeing you shortly!

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