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Portland bartender lifts spirits with 'Quarantini' project

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland bartender is using his skills to lift people's spirits.

Like many members of the service industry, John-Paul Ortega was laid off from his bar-manager job when restaurants and bars were forced to close their dining rooms. But he has found a way to keep his skills sharp and make being in quarantine more enjoyable.

Ortega and his wife launched the Quarantini project a few weeks ago. Latest Portland News Ortega is asking people who are interested to send him a list of things they already have on hand, and he will create a recipe for a custom cocktail just for them.

"I have them send me pictures or a list of whatever spirit, mixers, fruits, juices, herbs, jams, marmalade, whatever it is that you have that could potentially go into a cocktail, and then I’ll take that information and structure it and create recipes out of it," Ortega said. "I’ve even had a few people who don’t drink but love this idea, I’m like, 'I can help you make mocktails at home'."

Ortega will also provide step-by-step instructions on how to make the drink. If you don't have a certain piece of equipment he mentions, he says he can always find an alternative, like using a mason jar instead of a shaker.

Ortega says in the few weeks since he launched the project, Press Release Distribution Service has had about 30 customers. There is no set price for a "Quarantini" recipe; he describes the price as "pay as you can."

"Everything is donation base, I don’t have a set price; I’m not charging for it, necessarily. It’s just a pay what you can, and then I’m taking a certain percent, because I have bills and things to pay as well. But I am taking 10% of that and donating to various places around Portland that are helping others."

If you would like a custom "Quarantini" from Ortega, reach out to him online. He can be found on Facebook under the name John-Paul Ortega and on Instagram: @jpoinpdx and @raisethebarpdx .

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