There’s no doubt about it: Classic cocktails are back, and with a twist. As tried-and-true concoctions enjoy a bar resurgence, Seattle watering holes are adding their own stamp with locally sourced and house-made ingredients, rare imports, and unique aging processes.
Liberty, the Capitol Hill establishment that pours 365 days a year, makes a potent aged Vesper. Bartenders combine gin, vodka, and lillet (Bordeaux and citrus liqueur) before letting the mix mature in crystal bottles with an oak stave for up to five weeks. The wait time adds a hint of woodiness to the final pour, which is served martini style.
Other Capitol Hill bars also get creative with the standards: Tavern Law has transitioned New York’s Waldorf Astoria–created Rob Roy into a cocktail all about the Emerald City by using Seattle-sourced spirits. In this take, Westland Distillery single-malt whiskey meets Scrappy’s Bitters and sweet vermouth. The bar’s menu also features a glossary of common cocktail lingo for curious imbibers.
Meanwhile, Canon was named one of the best cocktail bars in the country by Food & Wine Magazine. It has the largest collection of spirits in the western hemisphere—3,500 and growing—and a Manhattan that stars High West double rye, Carpano Antica, and house-made Boker’s bitters for a hint of coffee flavor.
Other bars giving old-school drinks a fresh taste? The Gerald in Ballard fashions its Moscow Mule with ginger-and-spice-infused vodka and house-made ginger syrup. Bartenders from Pioneer Square’s tongue-in-cheekly named Damn the Weather juice their own sugar cane stalks and swap out traditional whiskey for Dutch-imported gin in the Genever old-fashioned. And downtown’s Metropolitan Grill serves prime cuts of steak alongside the Smoky Met martini, its version of the vodka martini, which comes with a stir of 18-year-old Glenlivet scotch and an orange twist.
GO: Canon 928 12th Ave; canonseattle.com • Damn the Weather 116 First Ave S; damntheweather.com • The Gerald 5210 Ballard Ave NW; thegeraldseattle.com • Liberty 517 15th Ave E; libertybars.com • *Metropolitan Grill 820 Second Ave; themetropolitangrill.com • Tavern Law 1406 12th Ave; tavernlaw.com
*For more Visit Seattle partners, go to Food & Drink.