Seattle: Bar Crawl with Bastille, Sambar, Paratii, Rob Roy, Il Bistro & Zig Zag
I had two days in Seattle and I was going to make the most of it. I had been training my liver and getting ready for Portland Cocktail Week. What better way to extend that training than two massive bar crawls (and tastings at Sake Nomi and Sound Spirits)?
My boozy tour guide was Michael Kostin from Paratii Craft Bar. On the first day, we hit the two aforementioned tastings and 6 bars. After lunch at Salumi and the two tastings, we had some time to kill before meeting friends at Sambar so we wandered over to Bastille. The back room has a nice feel to it with a massive chandelier that I hear cost a pretty penny.
It was happy hour but I decided to try the Kickin’ Chicken (Wild Turkey, pink peppercorn, clove, honey, Scrappy’s grapefruit bitters) from the regular cocktail list. One of my favorite things in the world is the pink peppercorns and honey dessert I had at Babbo in New York. I was hopping this combo would be served up in a glass (though the Babbo dessert was really the cheese plate– and a cheesy drink would be slight weird). However, it didn’t actually have much of a kick, this poor bird. Or maybe I’m developing a better tolerance to spice?
We met up with friends at Sambar which was a cute, bright white bar with colorful artwork. Tres chic. Cocktails are named in French and I ordered La Luciole (horseradish infused aquavit, yellow Chartreuse, lemon, mole bitters). I didn’t get much heat or spice from this cocktail like I thought I would. A friend ordered the Lumiere Liquide (bourbon, fennel honey, Benedictine, lemon, Cremant). She thought it tasted like peanut butter which I didn’t get but thought possibly came from the fennel honey?
Gotta love Belgian style double-fried fries.
After Sambar, we headed over to Michael’s bar Paratii. While named for a Brazilian seatown, Paratii is a full bar and doesn’t just serve caipirinhas.
Michael fretted they didn’t have a spicy syrup to make one of the cocktails since I had been craving an appropriately spicy one. I picked out Blooming June (Cachaca, orange liqueur, Espirit de June liqueur, Parfait Amour liqueur, dandelion & burdock bitters). It was a lovely cocktail, completely evoking a warm summer night with blooming flowers.
I also loved the stemware at Paratii. They have scoured local thrift stores for these classic coupes and other glasses.
I spotted Maui Okolehao Liqueur which is a Hawaiian spirit made from the Ti plant. It reminded me of taro. I would have liked to have tasted this in a cocktail but it was time to bounce to our next stop.
We caught up with friends at Rob Roy. I’ve heard so much about Rob Roy, I was hard-pressed to not order everything. I was trying to choose between the Kentucky Yacht Club (Elmer T. Lee bourbon, Falernum, All Spice Dram, Angostura Bitters) or Cashel & Emily (Rye, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Green Chartreuse, Apricot liqueur, sherry vinegar). I ultimately decided on the Cash & Em simply because I really enjoy Chartreuse (though I love Falernum as well). I had a taste of the Owls Clover (Cocchi Americano, Fernet, lemon, honey, lavender bitters). It was tasty! I have to say Fernet is very popular in cocktails in Seattle. While I see it in cocktails in LA, it seemed more like the main ingredient in cocktails in Seattle. I don’t even recall seeing it as the sole spirit in cocktails in San Francisco.
After looking over the cocktail list, I decided to go with citrus with the Yellow Ferrari (light rum, lemon, maraschino, strega). While enjoying my cocktail, the bar crawl nearly became a bar brawl when another guest approached me and demanded to know what ethnicity I was. I ignored him and he felt inclined to offer to buy me a drink. However, I can buy my own drinks. I should have referred him to this post. Why can’t a girl enjoy a cocktail in peace?
It is acknowledged that Seattle’s best bartender is Murray Stenson. When he was at Zig Zag, there would be a line out the door and a gazillion people trying to get drinks. Now that he’s moved on to other projects, it’s actually easier to get a seat at the bar. Being that it was a Tuesday night, it was still quite busy. Murray left a legacy that the bartenders of Zig Zag still carry on.
I ordered the Trident (Aquavit, Cynar, dry sherry, peach bitters) after laboriously pouring over the extensive cocktail list. Ah, it was the perfect last cocktail of the night. I’ve been on a sherry cocktail kick and this was absolutely what I was looking for.
I have never seen such a crazy big well! Truly marvelous.
I noticed some amari I’ve never seen before. Zig Zag was quite willing to let me take a closer look. These were brought back directly from Italy. The one in the center tasted a bit like Fernet but had a minty after taste so of course I liked it.
I considered my first day in Seattle a huge success. Two tastings and 6 bars? Yes, I’m on my way to becoming a triple gold medal bar fly.