At Ecotrust Events, we have been busy putting together a roster of inspiring caterers to serve our growing capacity. In anticipation of the opening of our two new event spaces, Irving Street Studio at the Natural Capital Center in Northwest Portland and the Redd on Salmon Street in Portland’s Central Eastside, we are expanding our catering list, with an emphasis on businesses owned by women and people of color. Our most recent caterer has earned her spot as one of the best bartenders on the West Coast. With multiple awards under her belt and almost 20 years of hospitality experience, it is no wonder Kate Bolton runs two of the top mobile bar experiences in Oregon.
With Mint & Mirth and Silver Julep Mobile Bar Co., Kate and her team of seasoned bartenders whip up delicious cocktails using Portland spirits, local, seasonal ingredients, and culinary expertise. Their cocktail and hospitality genius can travel anywhere, whether as in-venue catering through Mint & Mirth or in the Silver Julep vintage Airstream. Their commitment to community makes them a partner we are proud to recommend for any and all events held in our spaces.
Read on to get to know Kate better, and check out Ecotrust’s venue options here.
How did you get started in the cocktail game?
I started working in restaurants when I was 15 years old and never really left. I was always drawn to the hospitality industry. Something about it just fit with me, but until my mid-twenties it was more of just a means to an end. I was living in San Francisco during that time when a light bulb went on, and I realized that this what what I was meant to do with my life. I started studying the history of cocktails and bartending, and paid attention to the deep culture of bartending around me. I started playing with ingredients and testing recipes, many of which were terrible in the beginning. After a while I found my niche. I won some awards and opened a few bars, which gave me some amazing experience and perspective.
What brought you to Portland?
After getting married and having a baby, my husband and I wanted a different life for our family. Our hearts were set on Portland and almost immediately I was drawn in by the creative community and vibrant food truck culture here. Something about it just called to me — maybe it’s that nostalgic feeling of being able to pack up and go anywhere at any time, always on the road, always up for an adventure. I love the restaurant industry, but I was ready for new experiences and different challenges.
What made you want to start Mint & Mirth and Silver Julep?
I was ready to leave the restaurant industry in search of more fun, greener pastures, new challenges, and more adventures. I like working with clients from start to finish. I love hearing all the details of their event and tailoring a menu and experience that is unique to them. The idea of Silver Julep was born of a love cocktails, hospitality, and for the food cart culture that is so unique to Portland. I could see that their was a niche to be filled, and what I envisioned wasn’t being done yet. Mint & Mirth is a more flexible version of Silver Julep; it is the same amazing bartenders, same great cocktails and hospitality, just without the trailer.
What is your favorite part about working events?
Oh gosh. I love working with my bar team first and foremost. I have a small, trusted team, and I have known and worked with each of them for a long time (some of them I trained to be bartenders in San Francisco years ago!). I couldn’t do any of this without them. They do such an amazing job and are like family.
I also have a honey-to-goodness love of taking care of people. I’d say it’s a maternal instinct but it’s a little different from that. I love letting people relax and instilling in them a confidence that we will take care of them. That when it comes to their wedding, or party, or their boss’s party, that they don’t have to worry about the bar; we’ve got them covered. We pride ourselves on delivering seamless hospitality. We will do absolutely everything we can to go above and beyond to make you happy. That is my unspoken promise to my clients. I feel very passionate about that.
Lastly, I love that each day seems filled with possibility. We’ve only been in business six months, and already we’ve gone places and met so many amazing people we would have never had the chance or reason to meet before. I love that I don’t know what’s around the next bend. Just a few weeks ago somebody called me up and asked if we wanted to go serve champagne for the opening gala of Cirque du Soleil. It’s like, how cool is that? One day we could be on a farm on Sauvie Island, the next at a winery in Willamette, and the day after that we might be slinging drinks at a downtown festival in Portland. Each day brings on a new adventure, and I love that.
Kate’s Hallow’s Eve Cocktail
2 oz Spiced Bourbon*
.75 Fresh lemon juice
.75 Roasted Pumpkin syrup**
Method: Shake all ingredients together, fine strain over ice
Glassware: Rocks or Old Fashioned glass
Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg and a star anise pod
Spiced bourbon: Infuse one pint of bourbon with a teaspoon of whole cloves, a teaspoon of allspice, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 2 star anise pods. Let sit for 12 hours and fine strain. Store for up to 1 year.
**Roasted Pumpkin Syrup: Roast 1 quart of grated pumpkin in the oven under broil until browned. Place pumpkin in a pot with one quart water, one quart sugar over medium high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Fine strain and store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Kate was named a San Francisco Chronicle Bar Star (2012), an Eater and Nighty Awards Bartender of the Year (2013, 2014), in 2014 her menu at Maven was honored as 7×7 Magazine’s Best Cocktail Menu, and in 2016 The Oregonian voted her cocktail program at Americano Portland’s Bar of the Year