Sound Spirits Aquavit

by Brett Konen

If you read this, you know you’ve got one last chance this summer to take the Old Ballard Liquor Company’s…


As of August 9, the newest restaurant extension of Mezcaleria Oaxaca on Capitol Hill is now open all seven evenings a week, and it’s got the summer hookups with a rooftop bar and roll up windows exposing the restaurant seating to the street—both prime for a much craved cool breeze.
The Capitol Hill location follows success in Queen Anne and the sister restaurant La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard, and is the largest venue of the three—built in a space that used to be an auto repair shop.

Vermouth is having it’s day in the sun among Pacific Northwest booze-ophiles. No longer considered “just for mixing,” this aperitif wine is great served on the rocks, with a dash of bitters or a twist, and even mixed with other styles of vermouth.
In her new cookbook “A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus” (available September 30), Seattle chef Renee Erickson says she’s partial to Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry, a light and relatively dry vermouth.

Bardenay Distillery is the first restaurant-distillery in the United States. Kind of a big deal. With three different locations in Idaho including Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Eagle, Bardenay’s distillery location in Boise was once an empty warehouse on the Historic Basque Block and in 2010, the first cocktails mixed with spirits created on-site were served.

A host of single-spirit festivals have sprouted up across the region over the past half-decade, one such is Seattle’s Northwest Tequila Fest that celebrated its third year on Saturday with a sun-soaked parking lot roped off and filled to the gills with agave spirits and their analogous enthusiasts.

So simple, and yet so scarce. Such is the story of bounce, a category of fruit- and sugar-infused aged liqueurs once said to be among President George Washington’s favorite drinks. The libation has veritably fallen off the map over the last two centuries, but you can still find it in one place—and that’s Ballard, Seattle.

As a special feature to, bar-chef movement leader and mixologist extraordinaire Kathy Casey gives a sneak peak to her column in the current summer issue of Sip Northwest. For the full story, sign up for a print subscription today!
They say not to judge a book by its cover but when it comes to cocktails, often the first impression is the lasting one.

By this point in the summer, we’re starting to feel pretty spoiled here in the Northwest: week-long stretches of shorts-and-sandal weather, summer berries ready to harvest, late sunsets. The season of backyard barbecues, weekend beach trips and trailblazing is in full swing—and we’re on the hunt for refreshing, high-proof thirst quenchers to pack for the road.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a cocktail kind of gal. Sure, I love hard cider and I’ve supported my fair share of Northwest wineries over the years, but cocktails are most definitely my preference. As a dedicated sipper, I tend to swap out drinks with the seasons. I order a Manhattan in the winter and switch to something more refreshing in summer—the sweet thickness of a bourbon-based martini is too heavy for a warm night.

Portland’s Rolling River Spirits hones in on one thing: distillation as a pure art form. Founded in 2011, Rolling River (part of the Rose City’s spirit-saturated Distillery Row) is owned and operated by the Rickard family, each member an artisan in his or her own right and all with “a keen interest in craft and dimensional arts.

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