As a student of the intricate hobby, art, or whatever one calls the Cocktailian, I’d like to think that I know my fundamentals. The basics. My Manhattan, and Old Fashioned, and even the modern day classic the Moscow Mule (recipes at the end of post). And these three happened to be the drinks that I tried last week. Only they were variations of the classics. Seattlite’s have a very quirky approach to things, and this includes drinking, it’s almost as if we took a wrong turn at the 60’s and decided that this time we want to do it differently.
Kate’s Pub was my first destination. A divey neighborhood bar right across the street from my family home in Wallingford. Wooden tables, a warm atmosphere, free pool, and an inexpensive happy hour are a few words with which I can confidently characterize the establishment. On game days this place packs them in, from recent graduate students to older couples, and Kate’s knows how to take care of everyone with amiable and speedy service. I ordered one of their gameday specials, an aged Rye Manhattan, with a Marachsino plopped at the bottom appropriately. The drink was spicy and robust, the flavor clung to my chest. I sipped it to the pace of the Seahawks preseason game, and the convivial nature caught up to me as I joined in on conversations with nearby strangers, met neighbors and cheered Russell Wilson through the first quarter.
One of my buddies left for Italy this past week, so we decided to grab a last American meal with him to fully hear about his plans abroad. Smith, a restaurant on our list, (and everyone’s that I’ve talked to since) happened to be the perfect venue for such an occasion. With an eccentric decor that meshes the feel of a university library, and a congressman’s parlor, Smith served us up some immaculate hamburgers and drinks. I ordered their craft Masala Mule, a modern mix on the Moscow Mule, with Chai infused vodka, and ginger syrup, instead of the beer. Everyone at my table gave it a try, and were quickly converted to the Masala. The addition of infused liquors really adds another dimension to the drink. Think of the endless possibilities, a kaffir lime infusion in a Mandalay mule that gives it some zest, or coconut infusion in a Martinique mule.
After Salsa class, an old friend and I decided to cross the way, and we stumbled into the bar known as the Tin Table, a contemporary alcove, with transcendent class. The patrons looked as if they were from a classic movie, or the show Mad Men, and I ordered aptly. “Give me two Old fashioned, old fashioned’s,” somewhat of a paradox, as the drink is a new take on the legendary cocktail. A neon display of different drink-ware greets you at the entrance. I appreciated the decor of the brick walls, and dark wooden tables, as the establishment did have an air of a place you would find in a large metropolitan area, but we were in the cozy suburb of Capitol Hill. The drink went down. Classic ingredients of a Rye whisky, Angostura, and brown sugar accentuated by cherry and lemon zest. And, a cigar tincture. Something that I’ve never heard of, a tincture is actually a direct extract from the cigar, fired up over a harsh flame to add a ‘member’s only’ feel to the drink. I guess it gives a brazen attitude to the double named drink.
The Manhattan (classic):
- 2 ounces Rye
- 1 ounce Vermouth, sweet and Italian
- Angostura bitters to taste
- 1 maraschino, an anchor after the ship goes down
Build in a chilled glass.
The Moscow Mule:
- 2 ounces Vodka
- 3 ounces Ginger Beer
- 2 lime wedges for garnish
Build in a chilled glass over ice.
The Old Fashioned:
- 1 sugar cube
- 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 3 ounces of Bourbon or Rye
- 1 lemon twist
In a chilled glass, fill a sugar cube with bitters, muddle. Then add generous ice and the finest whiskey from your shelf. Ta-da!