Saturday, September 20, 2008

Top 5: Seattle Sips

Zig Zag Café
1501 Western Ave
This bar perched in the middle of the steps of the Pike Place Hill Climb that bridge the market area and the waterfront, boasts one of the best bartenders in the world. Zig Zag is often referenced in national publications such as Esquire. The bar and the innovative minds behind it, Murray Stenson, in particular, take their drinks very seriously and are credited with reviving the classic cocktail below, The Last Word. A drink with simple ingredients that you could order elsewhere, but Zig Zag is its home. You’ll never order a simple gin and tonic again.

Top Sip:
The Last Word
1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz. Green Chartreuse

Muddle lime. Add above ingredients with ice, shake, strain into cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Sun Liquor
Summit & E Roy
Sun Liquor is one of Capitol Hill’s finest and most accessible bars. The management of Zig Zag never hesitate to recommend Sun if they have clientele heading up the hill or in search of different surroundings. Sun Liquor is out of the way, off the bustling sidewalks of Broadway, down in a largely residential area. The dim, reddish light of Sun bleeds out onto the sidewalk inviting you in to a relaxed atmosphere. Fresh-squeezed fruit juice signaled by the stainless steel press on the bar is one draw of many. Weekends draw crowds, but the bar remains cozy, friendly and unpretentious.

Top Sip:
1 oz. Brandy
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Lemon Juice

Shake ingredients with ice. Strain and serve in a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

5th between Union & University
Vessel is housed in a space formerly the lobby of neighboring 5th Avenue Theatre. The bar maintains some of the original ornate ceiling and wall detail and dazzles with stainless steel, lime green glass accents, vintage glassware and tall glass ceilings with dark wood venetian blinds. The sense is very LA. A chic and respectable bar to run your liver down, but probably not your wallet as the high-class libations do go for a pretty penny. If you order just one drink let it be, their signature cocktail, the velvety, slightly oaky, citrus infused, VESSEL 75.

Top Sip:
3 oz. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 bar-spoon simple syrup

Stir the above ingredients in an iced Boston shaker and strain into a rocks glass.Top with maple syrup foam and orange zest.

Melrose & E Pine

Perhaps I feel more at ease with the echoes of the deceased after having worked for several months at a funeral home. It might help with drinking at the incredibly atmospheric, Chapel, which is a renovated funeral home itself. The high ceilings, dark wood and ten-foot mirrors lend a supreme sense of awe to the space. Candlelight flickers across the room, wax dripping of wrought iron candelabras on the bar-built of cold stone slabs, still numbered as they were during their original use. This great lounge space has been used as the backdrop for music videos and photo shoots alike. If the décor is not enough, it is hard to beat the $4 martinis during happy hour. I try to pick a new drink from the extensive specialty martini menu whenever I go, but I can always go for a Manhattan.

Top Sip:
3 oz. Bourbon
1.5 oz. Sweet Vermouth
3 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir ingredients in an iced Boston shaker and strain into cocktail glass with an orange twist or maraschino cherry.

Intiman Theatre
201 Mercer St
This selection really takes this Top 5 list to Top 6, but Top 5 just sounds better and I would be hard pressed to choose my favorite over these two drinks as they fit in such different categories. The Lounge at Intiman is the only place where you will be able to order these fantastic cocktails by name. In addition, it is the only bar on this list where one can sit down for a performance at a Tony Award winning theatre-Best Regional Theatre 2006-post libation or even while one drinks, as an individual may take his drink into the theatre provided he makes the exchange for a paper cup.

Top Sip(s):
Grand Theft
3 oz Maker’s Mark
1 oz Grand Marnier
Ginger Ale

Muddle lemon at the bottom of Boston shaker, fill with ice, add liquors, shake and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with ginger ale and garnish with lemon.

The Flood
3 oz. Gin
1 oz. Peach Schnapps
0.5 oz Blue Curacao

Muddle lemon. Add above ingredients with ice, shake and garnish with lemon twist.

For every show at Intiman, my two fellow bartenders and I create specialty cocktails based on thematic elements in the script, bits of dialogue, key dramatic scenes or plot points. It is a way for the front of house staff to be actively involved in shaping the experience of the audience as they come out for a night of theatre. Rigorous taste-testing of these cocktails before their debut on opening night is always an essential part of the creative process. As a team, we are always looking for new ideas and inspiration in preparation for the next show as well as any way to slip a little Campari into a liquid creation.

One of my colleagues actually took the liberty of providing the readers of her blog, including former and future audiences of Intiman’s productions, a thorough list of the “specialty drinks” from our tenure as bartenders over the last few years.

• • •

In other drink and restaurant news, I checked out a new bar on Capitol Hill last night called Buck. It is a western-themed bar on Olive Way-where a number of bars old and new have made their new home in the past year. Buck might become one of my new hang outs, a very comfortable space with an all honey-pine interior. I have one friend that works there: broad-shouldered with a goatee, he could definitely pass as a cowboy. The waitress was gorgeous, very nice and dressed in a cute equestrian outfit. I sipped on a Sidecar-brought to me with a “refill” in a shot glass-while I straddled a western saddle on a saddle-rack. Buck has had a soft opening this week and opens officially tomorrow. I can’t wait to go back.

Now, I’m thirsty.


curly brunette said...

great suggestions!! :) I love all these places - the balcony at intiman definitely wins best non-vip theatre area to have a drink in Seattle, in my opinion!

It's been a while since I visited zigzag, I'll have to venture back there soon...

Ryan said...

I know you're not a Britney fan, but this seems like the most appropriate time to share with you her drink of choice.

It is a Purple Monster, consisting of equal parts vodka, Red Bull and NyQuil.

*Sigh* That's my girl. :)