We arrived in Seattle on a late Wednesday night. After we checked into the hotel, I tucked in the Tikimama (the poor soul had class at The U-Dub in the morning), and quickly changed into more suitable attire. I had a mission: Zig Zag was calling me.
The Hotel was only a few blocks away, so I hoofed it down to Pikes, then down those stairs, across the covered street crossing, and down again to Zig Zag Cafe.
Murray was there behind the bar as I pulled up a chair. I don’t have any pictures from Zig Zag because I don’t really feel right taking snaps in there. I’ve come to realize I’m a cocktail geek and a bartender groupie. I don’t mind pulling out the camera anyplace else, but I realize I’m self-conscious around Murray. I don’t want to be thought of as a weirdo (which I most likely am).
After the re-introductions, talk got to my current trip in Seattle and my plans of Hitting Vessel and Licorous. Murray mentioned I should also try Sun Liquor and provided a cocktail coaster with information to help me on my quest. After a Last Word, Corpse Reviver #2, and a Drink with no Name, I was on my way back to the Hotel and my lovely wife.
Thursday night was devoted to Vessel. Heather and I arrived at 7’o’clock to find it quite full. I was aghast at some the clientèle drinking wine and beer. Yes, I know it pays the bills, but do they know who is behind the bar? It’s Jamie Boudreau for crying out loud!
We seated ourself at a side table. I ordered a Test Pilot because I had to: I am foremost a Polynesian Pop cocktail enthusiast, after all. I appreciated that the drink on the menu was attributed to Earnest Raymond Beaumont Gant (which we all know as Don’s given name). It was perfect – though I detected Pernod (which is as to the recipe) and I prefer an absinthe or Herbsaint as a tiki pastis. As you can see, the drinks have gorgeous presentation and perfect glassware.
Heather ordered the much suggested Vessel 75, which single-handedly turned me on the idea of molecular mixology. I have in the past eschewed it for its trendy and pretentious post-modernism. Now that I know it can be damn tasty, I had to remove my prejudice. The Vessel 75‘s foam is an important part of the drink, imparting a delicious maple note (and velvet mouthfeel) to a de-constructed old fashioned. I suppose I don’t mind the clever-clever when it produces such devious and perfect results. Luckily I have 2 isi charging carafes so I can play with one while charging water in the other.
The place wasn’t emptying out, and the gentleman at the bar was still nursing the same beer (BEER!) for 20 minutes, so we had another round at the small table. I just had to get to that bar! I remember reading about the Purgatory on Oh Gosh!, and having been on a Chartreuse kick lately (and knowing that Jamie was waxing on about it at his own blog and would likely know the drink) I ordered one.
It was, as I had assumed, fantastic. It reminded my of the popular whiskey / 2 modifier formula I have come to adore in such drinks as Everybody’s Irish, Manhattan, and Monte Carlo (thanks for that introduction, Martin). I definitely need to fix my Benedictine drought. Heather ordered the Frick cocktail, since she loves figs and bourbon.
By this time, the bar opened up and we sidled into place so I could watch and chat with Jamie, who immediately wanted to know why/who the hell ordered a drink from Missouri. I introduced myself and explained about my Chartreuse kick. Jamie suggested his own Rubicon for my next beverage and I had to comply. I’ve been playing with the formula of the Last Word before (my Luaahi), but this (to my categorization method) variation was unbelievable and miles beyond my current skill.
Replace the lime with lemon, and add bruised rosemary, flaming the chartuese to further express the oils? Brilliant. Devine and effortless.
The pictures stopped there as friends arrived and conversation continued. I do remember sampling the 21 year old Rittenhouse Rye. I remember the wonderful contrast of mouthfeel to spice notes. I stopped mentally documenting and became the social Craig at that point. It was a wonderful evening.
There was enough time afterwards to get a quick drink back at Zig Zag. One track mind. More about that in the next part.