Botanical booze featured at Leach ‘After Hours’ event

Check out this elegant evening — which featured “Cocktails from the Collection” …

Guest Charlotte Key, from the Irvington area, gets an herbaceous beverage from mixologist Lydia Reissmueller, at a Leach Garden After Hours event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Many of the stories we’ve covered at Leach Botanical Garden located in outer East Portland have featured kids’ events and family affairs. But, quite often, they also hold special evening events for grownups – called Leach Garden After Hours.

One such elegant soirée, dubbed “Cocktails from the Collection”, was held on the east patio of the Manor House on the evening of July 24.

Leach Garden Friends President Gay Greger (far right) welcomes guests to the mid-summer Leach Garden After Hours.

“This is the second in our After Hours series,” remarked Leach Garden Friends President Gay Greger. “We hold them on summer evenings in June, July, August, and September.”

Front and center was mixologist Lydia Reissmueller, from Tender Bar Cocktail Catering, who was providing a journey into “herb-inspired cocktails” – with the herbs being used coming from the Leach Garden collection.

Guests Mary Anne Cassin, Eileen Argentina, and Jean Hayes enjoy food provided by Vibrant Table Catering, served by new Leach Garden Friends Board Member Nana Bellerud.

Guests learned about the art of botanical infusions, and were able to experiment, making their own botanical infusion to take home. But, it wasn’t all about cocktails. Reissmueller also had infused non-alcoholic beverages on hand for those preferring them.

“It’s true,” Reissmueller told East Portland News. “The botanicals being used are picked from plants that are raised right here at the Gardens, which makes this kind of cool.”

[Reissmueller will be teaching a three-part class on making botanical-infused beverages starting on September 8. CLICK HERE to see more information – listed in our Community Calendar.]

During this casual event, guests gather and chat, and compare notes on the unique herb-infused cocktails they’ve sampled during the evening.

Events like these are important to the mission of Leach Garden Friends, Greger said.

“They bring guests here, from all over the greater metropolitan area, who might be curious about the garden – but haven’t previously found the ‘right excuse’ to come experience our natural garden.”

When these visitors arrive and enjoy an event, she explained, “They fall in love. Many of them come back, bring their friends, and become members. Tonight, we gave a complementary membership to Leach Garden Friends if they weren’t already a member, to encourage them to come back and take advantage of the benefits of membership.”

Dan Gaynor provides his jazz piano stylings, giving the evening a decidedly upscale atmosphere.

Their last event for the summer will be “The Art & Science of Wine Tasting”, scheduled for September 13. This After Hours party honors the 100th Wedding Anniversary of original Garden residents and curators, John and Lilla Leach. Sommeliers from Division Wines will present tips and techniques on the art of wine tasting. Then, participants will taste several noteworthy Oregon wines. There will be live music, delectable provisions, and guided strolls of the Garden.

The cost is $35/person for non-members (includes a special Leach Garden Friends membership); or $30/person for current Leach Garden Friends members. Space is limited. Registration is required: Do so online at their website: CLICK HERE, or call 503-823-1671.

Leach Botanical Garden is located at 6704 SE 122nd Avenue (just south of Foster Road, right on Johnson Creek.)

Also seen on our Front Page: Christy Grisham and John Grisham toast a beautiful summer evening at Leach Botanical Garden.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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