May 16

Slush Fun

Ba Bar embraces the spring season with innovative cocktails.

‘Tis the season for street food and a cold drink (shouldn’t it always be the season?). Ba Bar (500 Terry Ave. N.) is chefs/siblings Sophie and Eric Banh’s ode to their father (ba is “dad” in Vietnamese). With three locations in Seattle, the Vietnamese hot spots has grown quite a reputation for its pho, crispy imperial rolls, and vermicelli bowls.

But we should also be talking more about Ba Bar’s incredible cocktail program. Beverage Director Jon Christiansen and his team of elite bartenders have put together a thoughtful collection of artisan cocktails on the Ba Bar menu. Classic house cocktails include the Nguyen Dynasty (gin, rhubarb syrup, fresh lemon juice, topped with cava); the Southpaw (Rittenhouse rye, Averna amaro, Ruby port, Campari, lemon, Peychauds bitters, served up); and the Mary Morter (The Botanist gin, fresh lime, fresh celery juice, simple Gomme syrup). New favorites have been curated by bartenders from each location and include the Il Senno (Fernet, blackberry, raspberry, lime, grapefruit bitters, served on the rocks; created by Julian Abel at SLU) and the Kingston Holler (Smith & Cross rum, Appleton VX, Campari, lime, honey, mint, served up; created by Shattuck Wildaner at SLU).

Each Ba Bar location has unique attributes to their cocktail menus, too. Watch for special slushy cocktails, cocktails on tap like the Mousse Juice (Pamplemousse Rose, Amaro Montenegro, Becherovka) or the Devil’s Dollar (Corsair Quinoa Whiskey, Fernet Branca, and ginger), and a selection of non-alcoholic elixirs created by Christiansen. “With so much lunch-break business coming from the busy neighborhood, there can definitely be an aversion to alcohol. So we wanted to create a fun option for people to enjoy some good flavors and be able to get back to work,” he says. Christiansen did a ton of research on the elixirs, visiting herbalists and reading articles about exotic ingredients online. The result is the Tian Chi (“for energy and clarity,” made with ashwaganda, gotu, shisandra berry, kava kava, and gotu soda) and the Wei Chi (“for immunity,” made with pau d’arco, astralagus, elderflower, Oregon grape, and marjoram soda).

Also new at Ba Bar are a few specialty food items—fresh grilled asparagus and the turmeric chicken are standouts. The turmeric chicken is slightly spicy and intensely aromatic. Wildaner recommends pairing the skewered chicken with the above mentioned Il Senno, which seems a bit bold in theory, but in practice is quite delightful. He adds that it’s good practice to ask your bartender about pairings, especially with a menu like Ba Bar’s, which presents so many vibrant flavors.


Don’t miss more SLU specials like the Weekend Combo, where $15 gets you a Moscow Mule or Old Fashioned and a bowl of pho.

Do you have a favorite cocktail at Ba Bar? Sound off on Facebook or Twitter!

Story by Ethan Chung and Photographs by Geoffrey Smith/LookatLao Studio and Southcote Digital.

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