September 21

Drink With Local Spirit

South Lake Union bars mix cocktails with Seattle-based booze.

More distilleries make spirits in Seattle than in any other city in the country, more in Washington than in any other state—accounting for 10 percent of the nation’s craft distilleries. As each new liquor comes out, South Lake Union’s bartenders find creative new ways to mix drinks using those local spirits. They bring to life cocktails which honor the city and the neighborhood both in their name and in their flavors—you’ll find Washington apples, local grains, and the clear, crisp essence of Seattle in each of these cocktails made with a spirit from the great nearby.

At the brand new Mbar, from whose rooftop bar you can scan the skyline for nearly 360 degrees, you’ll find the Sun Royale, a local spin on the Bellini. The bar, which opened under the same owners as Mamnoon, Mamnoon Street, and Anar, shakes up Capitol Hill’s Sun Liquor white rum with cantaloupe syrup made from fresh juice and a squeeze of lemon. It’s strained into a champagne glass and topped with sparkling wine and a lemon zest garnish. Let the light glint off the pale orange glow in the glass as you gaze out over the city and the lake, making a toast to living the high life.

Get back to a more grounded state at Vestal, the latest from the Huxley Wallace Collective, where earth and hearth are the themes, from the wood-heavy décor to what’s in your glass: the Off-Kilter. The drink stars Westland Distillery’s peated whiskey, but it pushes the peaty flavor gently, making it an easy introduction to the style. The low-proof cocktail combines SoDo’s Westland with a Kilchoman single malt, white verjus, yellow chartreuse, and a rinse of Pacifique, a locally-made absinthe. While there is not much of a bar to speak of at Vestal, the gentle nature of the drink makes it the perfect pair for the beginning of a long meal at Vestal’s gorgeous chef’s counter.


There’s no shortage of bar at The Butcher’s Table, though: much of the steakhouse’s sprawling first floor is dedicated to the long, at times two-sided, bar and the window-front bar seats. For the full steakhouse meal-deal, head downstairs, but if you’re just looking for The Mustang, then pull up one of the big leather chairs to the lux-looking bar. The Mustang uses Westland’s single malt whiskey with jasmine syrup, fernet, and cherry bitters to evoke the same feeling of expense and expanse as the décor does to the room. It’s mellow and soft, faintly warming, and goes down easy.

Another sprawling new space turning out top-notch cocktails, Cinque Terre, brings new flavors to the bar. BelleWood Acres gin, the base spirit, is distilled from apples (it’s gluten-free), then infused with seven botanicals. In the cocktail, it’s muddled with cucumber and mint, simple syrup, lime juice, and finished with prosecco. The fresh mint garnish matches the bright and refreshing flavors.

From a smaller space, Ten on 9th is ready to serve from behind its curvy bar. Pay allegiance to Seattle’s famous nickname and even more famous weather with an order of the Emerald City Downpour. The drink lives up to its colorful name, practically glowing green from the glass. Ebb and Flow gin from Sound Spirits in Interbay mixes with melon liqueur, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and a float (or downpour) of prosecco.

By Naomi Tomky

At The Center

SLU is the geographical center of Seattle