Dining in Seattle: Sazerac

It might be time to stop saying, "Not your typical hotel restaurant." So many hotels are stepping up their game and serving as homes to chef-driven restaurants that don’t in any way need to rely on hotel guests for the majority of their business.

Kimpton Hotels are famous for super-cool digs and equally hip eateries. The Hotel Monaco in Seattle is no exception. Its downtown location makes it perfect for an out-of-town getaway or even an in-town staycation. And it offers all of the Kimpton perks, from free bikes to loaner goldfish, complimentary wine hour, free morning coffee and tea, and roomy rooms that are equal parts chic and comfy.

It also offers a killer restaurant with a dedicated and creative chef at the helm, Jason McClure, who has been at Sazerac since it opened in 1997. He was a line cook back then and worked his way up to executive chef. Those who know Sazerac call it McClure’s baby.

And McClure isn’t the only thing that’s been around since the restaurant opened. So have some of the top menu items, including catfish, gumbo, and the Ooey Gooey Chocolate Cake.

I started out my lunch with a selection from the ample appetizer menu, choosing Medjool dates en brochette with smoked bacon, goat cheese, and balsamic; crispy "truffles" made of Yukon Gold potato, truffle cheese, and truffle aioli; and cast-iron cornbread served with molasses seat salt butter.

I love dates. But I really love dates when they are wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese. These are delectable. The "truffles" are like nothing I have ever tasted — crispy, light, and perfectly "truffle-y." Suffice it to say, I love almost anything "truffle-y." And the cornbread was sweet and rich and had just the right balance between dense and light.

For my entrée, I opted for the catfish with a side of their hand-cut fries. Luckily I opted for the smaller size, 3 ounces, which looked way bigger when it was served. To my mind, it would be been plenty big for a dinner portion as well.

The fish was served on whipped potatoes with carrots, baby spinach, cabbage, red and green peppers, and onions gracefully balanced on top. The entire dish is surrounded by a delectable sauce of brown butter, shallots, jalapeño, Tabasco, Worcestershire, lemon, chicken stock, and parsley.

It was a stellar combination of flavors and textures that I can definitely imagine myself craving in the not too distant future. There’s something about tender fish, crunchy vegetables, and soft potatoes all in a flavorful broth that just screams comfort food perfection. And the hand-cut fries were an ideal dipping device for all of the bottom-of-the-bowl goodness.

There are times when I find myself avoiding certain restaurants because they are housed inside a hotel. But it’s time to let go of that dated notion because Sazerac is one restaurant that hotel guests and locals alike would be crazy to miss.

Dining in Seattle: Sazerac - Recipes

With more than 10 million Americans opting for a plant-based diet, vegan restaurants are becoming increasingly popular

Where to eat when staying warm and dry is a priority

Recipe of the Week: Ciudad's Baked Kofta With Sauces.

Asian fusion and Tex-Mex collide on this South Park restaurant's immaculate curly fries.

“Too few people understand a really good sandwich.” The legendary chef James Beard was not wrong when he wrote those words—we’ve certainly all eaten a lot of mediocre sandwiches.

There’s nothing we love more than the start of food fest season… Here are three meat-centric events you should get tickets to now:

This week's recipe comes from executive chef Shawn Applin, who last week opened Outlier, the new Hotel Monaco restaurant formerly known as Sazerac

To be clear: The “secret menu” that Caviar, the local third-party restaurant delivery service, launched last month isn’t exactly hush-hush. Basically, it’s a menu of dishes from participating restaurants only available for delivery—you won’t find these in the restaurants themselves

There’s hardly a cuisine in the world that doesn’t have its own version of meat wrapped in dough and yet, of the hundreds of different kinds, no two dumplings are quite the same. These five locally-available styles are some of our favorites


FYI, there will be a MASS amount of updates in the near future of recipes Katie and I have tried and restaurant reviews, however, for now just a brief update on new and exciting things.

Cochon555 was a event held on 5/23 to crown one of ten “Princes of Pork”, held in Seattle at the International convention center at Pier 66. My wife and I were able to attend as VIPs because of a contest Chef John Sundstrom of Lark held. He asked for a recipe that he could use as inspiration for one of his dishes at this event. My idea was pineapple pork upside cake layered with smoked pork shoulder and drizzled with harissa sauce. His interpretation turned into pork shoulder, on a puff pastery, with a pineapple vanilla habanero relish, and a soy ginger sauce. It was amazing, and there was a buzz going around that it could be THE dish of the evening. It turns out that Chef Sundstrom did win the “Prince of Pork” crown later that night! He will be going to Aspen for the Grand Cochon event where he will compete with 9 other chefs from around the county for the “King of Pork” crown. Good luck John and I can’t wait to dine at Lark in the near future :). Pics and maybe a small video to follow later.

I meet myia good girl attending perferct..Hispanic people thanks. read more

Best Asian/Hawaiian casual food available in the area and prices are reasonable. read more

Good food, nice workers, clean. read more

Our family of 4 really likes Pasion Tequila. We've never been disappointed. Favorites are Aleras(sp?) de Puerco (totally unique), Carne Asada, Coc. read more

The food is meh and overpriced. The location and restaurant decor are cool. Better Mexican in the area for a better price, including food trucks. read more

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Dining in Seattle: Sazerac - Recipes

Cook something sweet and savory with a Vietnamese flair from Bainbridge's Ban Sa. (Don't sleep on the waffle recipe).

Want to try your hand at Lark's famous roasted chicken? Here's the recipe to liven up those stay-at-home days.

If you are getting tired of your own cooking in isolation, the chef from Shiro's Sushi has a ginger pork recipe to liven up your dinner.

Luc Bistro and Loulay are closed for now, but you can get a taste of chef Thierry Rautureau's cooking by making this recipe at home.

Brian Doherty, the executive chef at the Woodmark, has a perfect recipe for spring to get you through the quarantine.

Red Cow's head chef Taylor Johnson shares a chilled asparagus recipe just in time for the warm weather and the arrival of asparagus season.

Best Restaurants in Seattle, WA

Chef Wayne Johnson is the man manning the stoves at Andaluca, a dark and sexy dining room where swirls of ochre and mauve compete with the Dali-esque light fixtures above. Safe to say, however, that the chef hasn't been distracted by the décor - his full attention is on every plate of Spanish cum Mediterranean cuisine and the results are striking. Start your meal with the lamb skewers, a paean to Morocco with hints of mint and coriander and paired with a delicious cucumber raita. The Gaia apple salad is a refreshing counterpoint, leaves of spinach at play with chevre, fennel and a spicy apple cider vinaigrette. The Zarzuela shellfish stew is a revelation, big prawns, clams and mussels in a cumin-scented tomato broth redolent of the Spanish countryside. As good as this dish is, it gets stiff competition from the cabrales-crusted beef tenderloin, a perfect piece of meat resting on grilled pears, mashed potatoes and a marsala demiglaze. Chef Johnson has mastered the flavors of the Mediterranean, making his table one of the most exciting in Seattle. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Athenian Inn
Main Arcade
Pike Place Market

Since you're going to make it to Pike Place Market while in Seattle (and you should), it makes sense to start your tour at the Athenian Inn. I'll even give you directions: enter the Market under the big clock, turn right and walk about twenty paces. You're there. Once you open the door, don't let all the old sailors scare you away. Granted, even early in the morning, these ruddy-faced gents are on their third Guinness, but hey, it's the waterfront, and that's part of the fun. The Athenian was started in 1909 by Anthony John Pappadakis, or "Papoo" to his pals, and was originally a bakery and luncheonette. It was one of the first establishments in Seattle to receive a liquor license, back in 1933. Today, it's a terrifically atmospheric eatery serving breakfast and lunch. A long wooden counter is to your left, and a U-shaped counter is in the center of the room, presided over by a mature gal partial to colorful frocks and dangly plastic fish earrings. My advice: head straight for the back of the room and snag a booth overlooking the water. The view and the morning sun are sheer delight. What to order? Hash. Seriously. I'd always found this breakfast item much too salty until I tried the Athenian's turkey hash with two poached eggs. It's sublime. Hash heaven here, with corned beef hash and red flannel hash (think beets) also on the menu. Your early morning meal can also be Scottish kippers, Philadelphia scrapple or an oyster hangtown fry. The hash browns are great. If you're a late riser, come for lunch and order one of nearly a hundred seafood selections.

2107 Third Avenue

Want masterful cooking? exceptional flavors? novel, yet inspired, pairings on the plate? Look no further than Brasa, James Beard Award-winning chef Tamara Murphy's hot (and haute) table in the Belltown district. The expansive dining room is actually two, a romantic, softly lit bar area for casual diners and a more formal, elevated dining space across the way. Between the two is a serpentine walk that leads to the exhibition kitchen, and all around is the feeling of, well, privilege, at minimum the privilege of being here. Come as two, the better to share plates such as the Penn cove mussels in a curried coconut broth and the squid ink risotto with sauteed calamari. The smooth beef tenderloin with a potato-parsnip mash and smoked pepper jam is utterly seductive, as is the almond-crusted ahi tuna with a caramelized onion blini on a rosemary-golden raisin sauce. You'll be glad you came to Brasa, and you will return. Dinner only.

Brasserie Margaux
401 Lenora Street

This edge-of-Belltown spot is a colorful yet clubby space for a late breakfast, power lunch or leisurely dinner. As the name suggests, it's French fare that's the focus at Brasserie Margaux, although the occasional flight of fancy from the kitchen will surely amuse. A good starter is the marinated sea scallops and composed Northwest seafood salad dotted with watercress and tobiko caviar. From there, it's on to the restaurant's signature duck breast in a delectable sweet and sour orange sauce, although the grilled New York steak with perfectly crispy shoestring potatoes also deserves consideration. Dessert? An absolute must. The molten chocolate cake, served warm with a liquid center and snuggled next to a scoop of raspberry sorbet, will leave you speechless. Post meal, walk over to the newly-restored Cinerama across the street for a vintage flick.

Café Campagne
1600 Post Alley

You might call Café Campagne the little sister of Campagne, the award-winning French country restaurant right upstairs at the Inn at the Market. Sibling or no, Café Campagne easily stands on its own. While Campagne the elder is more refined (in decor as well as cooking), Café Campagne is a delight, a cozy French bistro where you can eat heartily and well morning, noon and night. The best meal of all at Café Campagne may be breakfast, since the sun pouring into the front of the café helps make the food and mood pure fantasy. Your AM repast should begin with a strong, delicious cup of joe and fresh-squeezed juice, followed by the potato and rosemary omelette, which is served open-faced with sautéed onions, peppers and Gruyere. Heaven! The French French toast are also divine, hunks of brioche fried in a dreamy bourbon egg batter and served with maple syrup. If you decide to come for lunch, dig into the Croque Monsieur, a medley of Parisian ham and Gruyere, or the lamb burger, which is served with balsamic grilled onions, fire-roasted peppers and just-right pommes frites. You can (and should) walk off your meal at the Pike Place Market, mere steps away.

86 Pine Street (at the Inn at the Market)

French-country-style cooking in the heart of Seattle? Yes, it can be done. The key is to honor the tradition of Provencal cooking, that being the appropriateness of the cuisine to the region. In the case of Seattle, it's working with the local bounty -- seafood, lamb from nearby Ellensburg, rabbit from Whidbey Island and fruits and vegetables from a number of farms within an hour's drive of the city. The results, under the sharp eye of chef Daisley Gordon, are impressive. It all starts out in a small and sexy dining room done in soft beige tones. Your candlelit table will likely overlook the Marketplace and Elliott Bay. Begin your meal with the calamari, which is dusted with ground almonds, sauteed in olive oil and garnished with fresh thyme and lemon. The tuna and striped bass tartares with vegetable Nicoise and tobiko caviars is also an interesting, and tasty, starter. Continue with the grilled beef tenderloin with foie gras butter, herb dumplings and braised artichoke hearts or the soupe de poisson, a festival of fish flavored with tomatoes, tarragon and saffron and garnished with garden vegetables, croutons and rouille. Slide over to the adjacent bar after your meal, since you'll surely be in the mood to whisper sweet nothings to someone. Dinner only.

2328 First Avenue

Chef Kerry Sear has left the lush confines of The Georgian and landed at Cascadia, a temple of fine dining pulled together with the backing of billionaire Bruce McCaw. Money is definitely a factor at Cascadia, since you'll need your gold card to pay for this meal. That said, it's a worthwhile indulgence, since you're in the company of smooth wood, etched glass and a smiling fellow tinkling the ivories. Oh yeah, the food. Chef Sear is playing with the bounty of the "Cascadia" region, that stretch of land in and around the northwest's Cascade mountain range. Consequently, one of the four tasting menus (the way to go here) is likely to turn up treats such as a vegetable shepherd's pie with a celery root crust or the salmon on cedar fronds, paired with savoy cabbage and leek greens in a port wine cream. The long bar is a hot spot for dot com millionaires and their hangers on. Dinner only.

Dahlia Lounge
2001 Fourth Avenue

Chef Tom Douglas isn't the sort who wants to be pigeonholed. His signature restaurant in the heart of Seattle isn't fusion, or Northwestern cuisine, or nouvelle anything. It's simply food which takes as much advantage of the local harvest as possible and is influenced by a number of cultures. However, he's quick to point out that "we mix cultures on the menu, not on the plate." I'd say he's got the right idea. The dining room is modern and colorful and clues you in to the fact that your meal will be lively and fun. A winning appetizer is the lobster, shrimp and shiitake potstickers, mounds of chunky goodness which you can dip into a pungent sake sauce infused with chili oil. Whew! Catch your breath (have some water, too) and proceed to the special farmer's salad of the day, always different and unerringly delightful. Next in line is the chef's favorite, crispy roast duck (well-done to the bone -- "raw food has very little flavor," according to Douglas) with a chestnut honey glaze and resting on a wonderfully flavorful flageolet bean ragout. Dessert has to be "tom's world famous creme caramel," which is worthy of the accolade. Tom is having too much fun here. Go join him. Lunch and dinner.

El Gaucho
2505 First Avenue

Ooh, the Rat Pack would have felt right at home at this steak joint. El Gaucho is one of those places which is trying to bring the 50s back to the 90s, and boy, these folks are doing it in style. The original El Gaucho opened in 1953 under owner Jim Ward. Today's version is the baby of Paul Mackey, a fellow who knows that cigars and martinis are all the rage, and if they're accompanied by a juicy Porterhouse steak, all the better. Be sure to look good on your visit here, because the restaurant looks great. The bar is a sexy beaut, a semi-circle of dimpled red leather topped with shimmery gold. The rest of the place is done in smoky blue-gray tones, with a raised platform making an L-shape around the back of the room and providing the best seating. Doing it up big at El Gaucho is half the fun, so begin with the Caesar salad for two, which is prepared tableside. After that, it's gotta be beef, so choose between that Porterhouse or a juicy brochette of tenderloin. Dessert has to be cherries jubilee, again prepared at your table. Sashay to one of the private rooms after your meal for a cigar and a chance to rub elbows with Seattle's movers and shakers (and athletes galore). Dinner only.

Emmett Watson's Oyster Bar
Soames-Dunn Building
Pike Place Market

A fish shack near the waterfront. Eeks! Emmett Watson will probably blast me in his column for saying that. But wait! Looks like the curmudgeonly old columnist has retired. Saved by the bell. His pen may be taking a rest, but his namesake restaurant carries on. This place is about what you would expect from an old newspaperman. Tucked into an alley across from the Marketplace, the place has scads of nautical paraphernalia hanging from the rafters while beer signs decorate the white walls. The tables are dressed up in blue and while-checked tablecloths, and that's about as fancy as it gets in here. The menu, scribbled on a brown paper bag, is heavy on seafood, so start off with some smooth oysters on the half shell or the cioppino, a chunky brew guaranteed to clear your sinuses. The clam chowder is slightly buttery, thick and flavorful. Keep on going. The oyster 'n chips are fried to perfection and the boiled "u" peel shrimp are mouth-watering. You can end this foodfest with the key lime pie, but in Seattle? Nah, have some steamed mussels and then the. Lunch and dinner.

Flying Fish
2234 First Avenue

The fish aren't exactly flying in here, but the people certainly are, especially in the bar area. Beautiful men and women flitting from here to there (or is that him to her?) while they have cocktails and "apps," appetizers to the uninitiated. It's all very cool. If you're not in the mood for this scene, just have a seat at one of the many sleek tables in this high-ceilinged room and get ready for some tasty, modern food. Sea-food, of course. Chef Christine Keff uses only the freshest fish available and, consequently, the menu is refreshed daily. The emphasis is on Pacific Rim-style preparations, which makes sense when you consider that Ms. Keff has spent a fair bit of time in both Thailand and Japan. Good appetizer selections are the smoked rock shrimp spring rolls with a sesame dipping sauce and the Thai crab cake with lemongrass mayonnaise. Continue with the grilled escolar, which is nestled on a bed of mashed potatoes (yum) and comes with a tomato olive relish, or the seared mahi with satsuma potatoes (an Asian sweet potato) and soy ginger butter. In a place like this, your dessert should be a martini. Dinner only.

The Georgian
411 University Street (in the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel)

One look at this restaurant and your bound to think that the only person who would eat here is your 85-year-old spinster aunt in her mink stole. Not! Chef Gavin Stephenson has modernized the menu and is creating simple dishes that take advantage of the bounty of the region. Keep in mind, though, that this is the Four Seasons, so you will get some steak and lamb on that fine Villeroy and Boch china. No problem, since a visit to The Georgian is likely to be for a very special occasion. The pastel walls reach up to a rather high ceiling, essential when you consider the size of the chandeliers. Take a seat at your lovely table and order the oyster stew with asparagus and candied salmon as a starter. Continue with the thick-cut smoked salmon in an apple brandy sauce or, better yet, the oh-so-tender veal tenderloin with morel mushrooms and a crisp potato cake. Dessert? Remember, you're at The Georgian -- order the white and dark chocolate souffle and think mink. (power) Breakfast, lunch and dinner afternoon tea on the Georgian's Terrace.

Il Terrazo Carmine
411 First Avenue South

Tucked away in the lobby of an office building in the Pioneer Square area, this Italian restaurant is nothing if not traditional. Owner Carmine Smeraldo presides over a kitchen which turns out Florentine specialties that will do the home folks proud. The dining room is a light and airy space, thanks to the floral prints and a floor-to-ceiling window at the rear of the room. A mouthwatering antipasti bar graces the open kitchen. Start with the minestrone di verdure, a fresh vegetable and bean soup. Pause for the spaghettini dell'Ortolano, silky strands of pasta which are coated with arugula, goat cheese, tomatoes and pine nuts. The medaglioni di animelle are sweetbreads sauteed with parma prosciutto, peas and a touch of wine sauce which will leave you sighing. A dollop of gelato is the crowning touch to your meal. Lunch and dinner.

2400 First Avenue

Chef Scott Carsberg is a man who says what he thinks. "This is not fusion confusion," he tells me. "My only trend is quality cooking." As an American chef doing regional food in his hometown (albeit with an Italian twist), Chef Carsberg likes to use local ingredients cooked very simply, with only one or two elements on the plate. Having spent time in Northern Italy, he has a fondness for letting the flavors of the food shine through. "Italian food is what it is. Flavor and sensitivity equal art." So, put him to the test. Start with the ravioli aperto with zucchini and ricotta. Follow it with a creamy red wine risotto, then segue into the breast of pheasant with whipped potatoes. This clubby room with soft lighting lends itself to dining a deux, so have your friend order the grilled lamb loin with roasted pepper. The warm chocolate dumplings with vanilla sauce are sexy morsels meant to be shared (remember the lobster scene in "Flashdance?"). Dinner only.

Le Pichet
1933 First Avenue

Chef Jim Drohman, late of Campagne, has turned his love of French food into Le Pichet, a cozy, classically French bistro in the heart of the city. Dark wood tables pair with lemon yellow walls and simple mirrors and invite that very French quality, introspection. Look outward and onto the menu, however, and order charcuterie ranging from pork pate and air-dried country sausages to marinated olives and house-smoked salmon. Heartier fare includes a chicken roast to order and a hefty grilled pork chop. Chef Drohman is keeping things simpler now that he's on his own, and the results are a welcome addition to the Seattle dining scene. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Macrina Bakery and Cafe
2408 First Avenue

Seattle's in-the-know folks like to start their day at Macrina Bakery and Cafe, where the emphasis has always been on the "bakery" part of the equation. Much credit for the magic of the ovens goes to owner Leslie Mackie, a woman whose kneading knows no peer. This homey, hip Belltown spot is a mix of cool stone floors, colorful wood chairs and good light that draws in everyone from the suit crowd to the slouch crowd. Line up to order the daily bread, which could be anything from herbwheat walnut to cinnamon monkey or sour ficelle. Many patrons simply want a morning roll, which goes awfully well with the strong, flavorful coffee. The muffins are gooey and glazed, although health-minded sorts might prefer a bowl of granola with milk or soy. Macrina's offers an array of inventive sandwiches at lunchtime, but the morning meal is the ticket here.

Marco's Supperclub
2510 First Avenue

The husband-and-wife team of Marco Rulff and Donna Moodie know how to please the palate and make it fun, too. The food at Marco's Supperclub is "eclectic, multi-regional bistro," according to the owners, and that about sums up the decor (minus the bistro part). Mix 'n match chairs are set against jewel-toned walls in this low-ceilinged room, with bottles of wine placed everywhere. The plates on the tables look like they came from Grandma's. As for the food, it's inventive yet homey and generously served. Start with the fried sage leaves with a medley of dipping sauces, something you're not likely to get at Grandma's but worth every bite. The Marguerita mussels are kicky morsels, steamed as they are in a chipotle and lime juice broth. The Jamaican jerk chicken is the signature dish here, thanks to Donna's family recipe. Half of a free-range chicken is lovingly rubbed with herbs and spices, grilled to perfection and placed amid a sweet potato puree. Yum! Another worthy choice is the steak frites, grilled beef tenderloin with a red wine demiglaze, crumbled Roquefort and pommes frites. Dinner only.

The Painted Table
1007 First Avenue (in the Alexis Hotel)

Chef Tim Kelley wears a Yankees cap in the kitchen. I love this guy already. Even better, he can really cook. The "painted table" refers to the beautifully hand-painted plates gracing the tables and various other places in this restaurant, but Chef Kelley doesn't need the help. Give him a simple white plate and he'll create a masterpiece. What is the chef trying to do here? "Keep my job," he says modestly. Actually, he's working with vegetables, or making veggies the focus of the meal and letting the other ingredients work with them. "I hate fusion," he says. "My food is free of shit." Now tell me: how can you help but LOVE this guy? Begin with the layered goat cheese and vegetable salad, a mini-tower of grilled eggplant and ovendried tomatoes with an onion-thyme confit. Follow it with the grilled five spice Oregon quail, served on a bed of frisee along with glazed mango and a Chinese rice wine jus. This petite quail is perfection. Continue with the delectable horseradish-crusted salmon with fresh market vegetables, sprouts and turnips, all arranged on a bright-red beet jus. You will want to eat here every day of the week, whether you like the Yankees or not. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Palace Kitchen
2030 Fifth Avenue

This is the third member of chef Tom Douglas' triumvirate of restaurants (along with the Dahlia Lounge, he also owns Etta's Seafood). Everything about the Palace spells F-U-N. "It's really a bar with good food," according to Douglas. I'd say that's half the fun. For starters, you'll wish you had his chandeliers at home. They are colorful fruit drops suspended from a gold twist, and go quite nicely over the U-shaped bar with its profusion of even more colorful liquor bottles. The walls are a creamy yellow, the high ceiling is cranberry red and the sinewy curtains are a royal blue. The open kitchen at the back of the room showcases the Palace's rotisserie grill, where many of the best dishes are rendered. Consider the free-range chicken with porcini jus and polenta cakes or the goat with curried sweet potatoes and coriander chutney. The maple-cured pork roast with creamy corn grits is yet another delightful concoction. If you're in the mood for bar food (no offense, Tom), try the Dungeness crab salsa with fried green tomatoes or the roast shallot flan with vegetable chips. Lots of desserts to go with your tawny port: I suggest the Dahlia coconut cream pie. Dinner only.

Pink Door
Upper Post Alley (between Stewart and Virginia)

With an owner/chef by the name of Jacquelina Di Roberto La Padrona at the helm, you know you've found your way to some good Italian cooking. Start by walking through the Pink Door (no sign at the entrance) and then decide whether you want to enjoy your meal in the main dining room (the plastic floral tablecloths are a hoot), the ample bar area (a hodgepodge of found objects) or the outdoor terrace, your best bet on a rain-free day. The accent here is on Tuscan-influenced food, utilizing simple, fresh ingredients with an emphasis on vegetables. A delightful starter is the pasta broccoli, the "chicken soup of the Italian culture," according to La Padrona. You'll get ditalini pasta and broccoli flowerettes in a rich vegetable broth topped with parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Bring a few pals and proceed to have a pasta fest. Excellent choices are the penne al fumo, pasta tubes topped with smoked mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and grilled eggplant, and the lasagna Pink Door, fresh spinach pasta layered with bechamel and pesto and topped with a marinara sauce. The house favorite is the gnocchi, made with porcini mushrooms and enveloped in a light cream sauce which changes seasonally. The definitive dessert is the Bongo Bongo, profiteroles drizzed with a chocolate espresso sauce and dotted with fresh fruit. Ms. La Padrona learned to make this dessert in Florence. What a country! Lunch and dinner.

Place Pigalle
Main Arcade, Pike Place Market

This restaurant, hidden away in the maze which is Pike Place Market, has the best view of any restaurant I've seen in this city of views. Literally hanging over Elliott Bay, you can see Puget Sound and the glorious Olympics in the distance. So will you come here just for the view? Nope. Owner Bill Frank provides a clue: "we're not a seafood restaurant, but then I think you'll find the best seafood at places that aren't just seafood restaurants." I'd have to agree. Mr. Frank, who's been here for fifteen years, was an early proponent of Northwestern cuisine, which to him means less butter and cream and more of a tilt toward Asia, the Meditteranean and Latin America, plus the good sense to take advantage of what's fresh and in season. The small dining room is filled with elegant tables resting on a sheet of black and white tiles. The walls which aren't glass display beautiful artwork. Take a cue from the man in charge and order fish, starting with the steamed mussels Pigalle, whih are dressed with bacon, celery, shallots and a balsamic vinaigrette. Continue with the scallops with red curry, seared sea scallops served with bok choy, red pepper and a Thai red curry butter sauce. Another good choice, although not seafood, is the "rabbit reminiscence," saddle of rabbit filled with roasted eggplant, spinach and feta cheese and served with a black pepper and mint demi-glace. The wine list is a favorite with Wine Spectator and will be with you, too. Lunch and dinner.

Queen City Grill
2201 First Avenue

Okay, back to those sexy bars populated with beautiful boys and girls. Queen City Grill is round two, and lucky you, it's right across the street from Flying Fish! You could do a lot of damage on this block. The maitre d' is quick to tell me that "this is a restaurant that has a bar," but I'm not buying it. The room is a long, dark and intriguing place. Exposed brick lines the tall windows on one side, while peach-colored walls carress the elegant bar opposite. Candlelit tables are clustered near the front door. Queen City exudes romance, or at least the possibility of something. And if you get hungry while you're here, the menu says it best: "we grill fish." You might want to start off by nibbling on the goat cheese appetizer with roasted bell peppers and roasted garlic, then freshen your breath with any of the daily seafood specials, all simply grilled and prepared to enhance the natural flavors. Your dessert will probably be along the lines of a ruby port. Glamour girls, go to it. Lunch (huh?) and dinner.

2808 E. Madison

"Life has never been greater!" beams chef Thierry Rautureau, a broad grin spreading across his round face, letting you know that there's no place he'd rather be. Not even back in Brittany, where his family raised all their own vegetables and gave him a sense of what good food is all about. He's brought those lessons to Rover's, where he creates winning French-American cuisine based on classic dishes. In other words, lighter sauces (no starch) in an attempt to make flavors, not volume. This is, after all, contemporary cooking -- "I'm not a dinosaur," Rautureau proclaims. What else can you expect here? A performance, of sorts. "People who come here will make an evening of it," the chef continues. "It's a special event. you know, the difference between an opera and a rock concert." Touche, Thierry. Let the music begin with the seared Hudson Valley foie gras with wild greens and a black fig sauce or the roasted squab with a smoked apple bacon, corn and leek ragout. Continue with the seared venison medallions with wild mushrooms, pommes Rissoles and a black peppercorn sauce. The final note? An almond chocolate souffle. Dinner only.

1101 Fourth Avenue (at the Hotel Monaco)

Hallelujah, the Big Dawg has come to town! The Big Dawg would be chef Jan Birnbaum, who has been wowing diners with his Cajun-style fare at Napa Valley's Catahoula for quite some time. He's moved north, and the Pacific Northwest will never be the same. "Seattle is a town that loves food," says Birnbaum. "People love to eat out here, they enjoy their lifestyle. There's lots of great food here, but there are many similarities with it. I'm aiming to give them something completely different." It may be different, but the quality and inventiveness of the cooking at Sazerac are hard to beat. You can come for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and the morning and evening meals are the stars here. In the AM, bring a friend, the better to team up for the brioche French toast with bananas Foster (incredible!) and the bubble and squeak with poached eggs and jalapeño gravy. The latter dish is a rendering of the Irish staple, a beef patty melded with onion, cabbage and potatoes. In Birnbaum's hands, it's perfection and enough to make the Irish cross the pond in droves. In the evening, the colorful, playful and expansive dining room is both sexy and inviting. Take a booth if you can and start with the hominy cake with a smoky onion vinaigrette and the season's vegetables, although the saffron and basil-scented salmon chowder is smooth bliss. Continue with the grilled Copper River salmon, which is served with morels, scallion mashed potatoes and a smoky red wine-veal sauce and is absolutely fabulous. The grilled, dry-aged New York strip steak, served with a complement of buttermilk onion rings and blue cheese dressing, shows that the chef is as adept with meat as he is with fish. The Big Dawg is one HOT Dawg, and that's that.

The Virginia Inn
1937 First Avenue

It's known as the "V.I." to locals, who have been bellying up to the bar since 1908. This tavern, located on the original Skid Row (actually "Skid Road"), operated continuously through prohibition, when it was a cardroom and lunch stop. Current owners Patrice Demombynes and Jim Fotheringham bought the V.I. fifteen years ago with the idea of taking care of the old-timers. Sadly, most of them have died off, although "Momma" still stops by every day for a spot of lunch. Today's crowd is younger and much more inclined to ask for a margarita or a martini. Along with your cocktail, you can get a bite to eat for lunch or dinner. The menu is limited, so stick with time-tested favorites like the Dungeness crabcakes served with coleslaw, blanched vegetables and roasted potatoes or the chicken and sausage gumbo, chock full of chicken and spicy Cajun andouille sausage. The present owners, both formerly in the arts, made the V.I. the first "art bar" in Seattle, and the rotating shows are a visual treat. If you're sleepless in Seattle.

2801 Alaskan Way at Pier 70

Room with a view? You'll get just that at Waterfront, a cavernous space hugging the Puget Sound. Solicitous waiters in tuxedoes prance about and compete for your attention - but the water view wins. Also a winner is chef Vicky McCaffree's cuisine, especially the seafood with Asian flavors inspired by her mentor, noted chef Barbara Tropp. Start with the addictive salt and pepper prawns nestled on a bed of sweet/sour Asian slaw or the delicate Thai crab cakes paired with a watercress citrus salad. The sesame seared sea bass is also silky-sweet and worthwhile and pastry chef Jessica Campbell is sure to strike the right note at meal's end. Ah, but the view… Dinner only.

Wild Ginger
1401 Third Avenue

This temple of Pacific Rim cuisine is as popular for its food as it is for its lively bar scene. Across the street from the symphony's new home, Benaroya Hall, Wild Ginger is a spacious affair accommodating to those who want to lounge over their meal as well as folks eager for satay and a Stoli martini. And satay is why you're here, at least food-wise. An Indonesian word meaning "skewered and grilled," Wild Ginger has a satay menu that makes for a delicious meal. Consider the singing fish satay, fresh fish brochettes kissed with a hint of ginger or the Prince's satay, large prawns marinated in garlic, chili and coconut. All satays are served with a rice cake and perfectly-seasoned pickled cucumbers, and most come with either a peanut or soy and black vinegar dipping sauce. While there are a number of other dishes to choose from (the duck is especially popular), the satays are the way to go (and Mayor Norm Rice, a regular, agrees). Lunch and dinner.

Eating all this good food in Seattle might induce a bit of slumber. If that's the case, spend the night at the spanking-new Hotel Monaco, in the heart of downtown Seattle. Yet another Kimpton Group creation, the Monaco is color and comfort in a modern yet luxe package. The rooms are striped, floral, loud and utterly fun. Even romantic, so come a deux if you can. A handful of suites have a two-person Jacuzzi tub which is a clean dream, so by all means ask for one. Two-line data port phones, as well as fax machines, can be found in all the rooms, but don't get so busy with work that you forget about the nightly wine reception in the hotel's swank lobby. Museums, the financial district and the Pike Place Market are all an easy walk away. If you're lucky, though, you'll get hungry close to home, since Sazerac is the Monaco's trendy table. Hotel Monaco , 1101 Fourth Avenue, Seattle (206) 621-1770 Standard rooms are $195 suites with separate parlor are $255, while suites with Jacuzzi tub are $325.

Another good choice is the Mayflower Park Hotel , a short walk from the trendy Belltown district and close by downtown Seattle's best shopping. The city's only member of the Historic Hotels of America, the Mayflower Park is homey yet elegant, traditional yet relaxed. Rooms are spacious and done in taupe tones and the bathrooms, although snug, give you everything you need. The spacious sitting room just above the lobby is a treasure for those tired from touring and one of the best reasons to book a stay. Opt for one of the reasonably-priced suites and see to it that the concierge books you into Andaluca, the hotel's stellar table. Mayflower Park Hotel, 405 Olive Way, Seattle (206) 623-8700 Standard rooms are $150 suites start at $190.

Elaine Sosa
is a freelance food & travel writer who legitimizes her coffee addiction through her business, JavaWalk, a walking tour of San Francisco coffeehouses.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

How to Make a Sazerac

The Sazerac is a stiff drink. Its skeleton is that of a classic whiskey cocktail&mdashbooze, bitters, sugar, and water&mdashbut its bulk is far more substantial. The Sazerac is a beast of many flavors, born in the New Orleans bar scene in the 19th Century and washed in absinthe. On top of rye whiskey and the green anise spirit, it calls for Angostura bitters, Peychaud's bitters, and sugar, and is generally unrelenting in its herbal tones, like an Old Fashioned with something to prove. Speaking of, it takes two Old Fashioned glasses to make it properly.

If you want layers of alcohol to unpack as you sip, a Sazerac is for you. Bonus points if you're a hardened newspaper reporter talking horse racing results in a smoke-filled pool hall, as that's the kind of aura the Sazerac gives off. Doubly so if you can make if out of the chair after a round or two.

A Little Background

Some folks claim that the Sazerac is the oldest cocktail to be mixed in America, dating back to the pre-Civil War South. They say a man by the name of Peychaud started up a drugstore in the 1830s in New Orleans that sold an herbal remedy he dubbed Peychaud's Bitters. It became very popular, and a spot nearby called the Sazerac Coffee House&mdashwhich was really a slick coverup for a saloon&mdashmixed the bitters with its namesake, a cognac called Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. Or perhaps Peychaud himself made a wellness toddy with the bitters and cognac, which then caught on amongst the New Orleans masses and got tweaked with rye when the cognac supply went dry. For what it's worth, drinks historian David Wondrich puts the inception of the Sazerac recipe we know in the later years of the 1880s or later.

More recently, New Orleans voted to make the Sazerac its official cocktail in 2008 you can't get a better one anywhere else. And with absinthe no longer taboo in the U.S., you can recreate the real deal&mdashalthough an anise-flavored liqueur of some sort works too. As for the whiskey itself, Buffalo Trace makes Sazerac Rye these days.

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We gave the Old Fashioned a hard time before, but really, it's the bare bones of a Sazerac, especially if you make it with rye whiskey, and even more historic. And if a bittered rye classic is to your taste, make yourself a Manhattan. However, if you have a bottle of absinthe&mdashor absinthe-adjacent spirit&mdashhandy and need a means of consuming it, dump it in a champagne flute with bubbly brut. We call that Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon, and it is a doozy of a drink.

Dining in Seattle: Sazerac - Recipes

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The Sazerac

The creation of the Sazerac has been credited to Antoine Amadie Peychaud, the Creole apothecary who moved to New Orleans from the West Indies and set up shop in the French Quarter in the early part of the 19th Century. He dispensed a proprietary mix of aromatic bitters from an old family recipe. According to legend, he served his drink in the large end of an egg cup that was called a coquetier in French, and that the Americanized pronunciation of this as "cocktail" gave this type of drink its name.


  • 1 cube of sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces of Sazerac Rye Whiskey
  • 1/4 ounce of Herbsaint
  • 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
  • Lemon peel
  1. Chill one thick glass.
  2. In a second glass, add sugar cube & 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters and muddle. Add rye whiskey mixture.
  3. Spray Herbsaint on the chilled glass and discard excess.
  4. Pour drink in the Herbsaint coated glass and garnish with a lemon peel.

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20 Easy-to-Make Cocktail Recipes That You Can Batch And Make In Advance


“One of my favorite distillates are Agave spirits. A 100-percent agave tequila, like Don Julio, mixed with fresh juices is a great summer quencher. I made this cocktail inspired by the petite flowers called No Me Olvides (Forget Me Not) that bloom in the summertime. At the same time, I love the name because it’s hard to forget a good drink! This cocktail is bright, refreshing, fruit forward, and a little dry with amazing cooked agave notes. I really enjoy making this drink at home for its simplicity, seasonality and amazing flavor. It pairs well with spicy food: Barbecue, or chicken and beef tacos—and guacamole. This recipe might require a little bit of squeezing and juicing, but the use of fresh ingredients will make a better cocktail. You will taste the difference! ¡Salud!” —Julio Xoxocotla, bartender at the Wayland

Ingredients (17 Servings):

  • 750 ml. bottle of Tequila Don Julio Blanco
  • 12 oz. watermelon juice
  • 8.5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 7 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 7 oz. agave syrup (1:1)

Method: In a large pitcher or bowl combine Tequila Don Julio Blanco, watermelon juice, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and agave syrup. Stir well. To store, pour contents into Mason jars or any other clean glass container. This mix could last up to three to four days refrigerated. Suggestion: If you freeze it, you’ll be getting a slushy-like delicious drink. This is also a perfect mocktail recipe. Instead of tequila add your favorite seltzer or sparkling water to 2 oz. of the mix. (This is a large format recipe. It yields approximately 17 cocktails.)

To Make Agave Syrup (1:1): Mix 3.5 oz. agave nectar (amber) to 3.5 oz. of warm water. Stir until fully dissolved and cool down before mixing it with juices.


“The 50/50 Martini with Citadelle Reserve Gin—created by Citadelle—might be my favorite cocktail of all time. It’s simple yet complex, pairs extremely well with food, and keeps great in the freezer for several days. The first sip is always reminiscent of my initial martini experience during a family vacation in Boston when my father took me to the bar at the Fairmont Hotel. He ordered us two gin martinis which were so big they came with a sidecar packed in crushed ice. Several times the bartender glided past with her glass stir stick and expertly spun everyone’s sidecar. All the martini drinkers looked up, had a moment together, and then went back to their conversations. My father smiled and winked at me. I was instantly and forever hooked." —Michael Goldman, on-premise manager at Maison Ferrand


  • 1 part Citadelle Réserve Gin
  • 1 part dry vermouth
  • 1 part water
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Lemon peel garnish

Batching Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Add equal parts Citadelle Gin Reserve, dry vermouth, and water to a glass vessel (Mason jar works) and chill in the freezer. Keeps in the freezer for several days.

Preparation: In a chilled martini glass, add the batched liquid and just before serving, add the orange bitters and lemon peel garnish.


“Who doesn’t love a margarita? With the summer heat coming on strong, the pure flavors of a simple three-ingredient margarita will make you think you’re on vacation even if you’re frolicking around in a kiddie pool in your backyard.” —Michael Gaines, director of food and beverage development at Xperience Restaurant Group

Ingredients (Six Servings):

  • 14 oz. Pueblo Viejo Silver Tequila
  • 7 oz. lime juice
  • 3.5 oz. agave syrup (1.75 oz. agave to 1.75 oz. water)

Method: Combine ingredients and pour over ice. Refrigerate and enjoy for up to three days.


“I love the Grayhound because of its healthy inclusion of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. You can batch it and keep in the refrigerator for several days at a time. We like to use a rosemary sprig cut fresh from Tavern’s kitchen garden as a signature garnish to the drink. The fresh rosemary gives the drink an herbaceous scent and summer freshness.” —Marsha Glazer, owner at GrayBarns, Norwalk, Connecticut


  • 14 oz. vodka of your choosing (we like to use Kettle One)
  • 18 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • Rosemary for garnish

Method: Combine, stir, and serve. For batching, try to use a 32-ounce swing-top glass bottle for batching (fairly close to the same size as a liter bottle). We like to use glass as it is reusable.


“One of my all-time favorite flavor combinations of lime, pineapple, and cinnamon shine through in this cocktail that turns a normal margarita into a refreshing summertime sipper. This cocktail really hits the spot on those warmer days.” —Chris Chernock, beverage director at Broken Spanish, Los Angeles

For a Single Cocktail:

  • 0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz. fresh pineapple juice
  • 1.5 oz. serrano-infused tequila
  • 0.5 oz. agave syrup
  • Grated cinnamon

For a Large Batch:

  • 1 bottle tequila blanco infused with 2 serranos (sliced) for 2 hours
  • 8 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 8 oz. agave syrup (agave nectar cut with water 2:1)
  • 8 oz. fresh pineapple juice
  • Grate fresh cinnamon over finished cocktail

Method: Combine ingredients and stir well before serving.


“This cocktail is like a dreamy pink lemonade from your childhood but with a grownup spirit. It’s the perfect cocktail for batching because it comes together easily and will keep for several days in the fridge. When ready to serve, just garnish with lemon slices and fresh herbs. It reminds me of barefoot summers and getting a cool drink from a neighbor’s lemonade stand. If you want to make it kid friendly, just leave out the vodka.” —Kim Daniels,professional food photographer, recipe developer, and owner of Every Day Gourmet in Camden, SC


  • 3 oz. Natalie’s Natural Lemonade
  • 1.5 oz. cranberry juice
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 0.5 oz. simple syrup
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Lemon slice, for garnish
  • Club soda (optional)
  • Fresh herbs, for garnish (optional)

Method: Scale up measurements to batch. In a cocktail shaker combine Natalie’s Natural Lemonade, cranberry juice, vodka, simple syrup, and lime juice. Add ice. Shake well. Strain mixture into a chilled rocks glass. Top with a splash of club soda if desired. Garnish with a lemon slice and fresh herbs. Makes one cocktail.


“A piping hot Irish coffee has been my go-to cocktail since quarantine began back in March, when we were still in the depths of Chicago winter and in need of a comforting warm cocktail. Now that summer is here and temperatures are warming up, I’ve switched to this refreshing cold brew version made with Kilbeggan Original Irish Whiskey. The fruity notes in the whiskey stand up beautifully in the cold coffee. I always make a batch while making my regular cold brew so when I’m ready for something a little stronger, all I have to do is add freshly whipped cream and a touch of nutmeg and I’m ready to go.” —Michael Egan, U.S. brand ambassador at Kilbeggan Distilling Co.


  • 1.5 parts Kilbeggan Original Irish Whiskey
  • 0.5 parts simple syrup
  • 3 parts Cold Brew

Pre-Batching Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Combine all ingredients in a Mason jar. The Mason jar should be filled to the top in order to keep out as much air as possible. Refrigerate. Concoction will last for three to five days.

Preparation: Remove mixture from fridge, pour into a glass with ice (if desired). Top with a drizzle of fresh cream and a shake of nutmeg.


“Fools Gold is the ideal refreshing cocktail made perfect for enjoying a summer afternoon or evening outside. Whether spending time in the garden or kicking back on your patio, the cocktail’s lavender flavors stimulate relaxation while also bringing great floral notes to a classically sour cocktail. When made in a 16-ounce Mason jar, Fools Gold will yield four drinks and can be kept in the fridge for three to four days to be enjoyed wherever and whenever. This simple three ingredient libation is a quick and easy recipe that all home cocktail enthusiasts enjoy this season.” —Steve Walton, beverage director at High West Distillery

Ingredients (Four Servings):

  • 6 oz. High West American Prairie Bourbon
  • 2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 oz. lavender honey (Available at most grocery stores. Or regular honey works too!)
  • Lavender buds, for garnish

Method: Add all ingredients into a 16-ounce Mason jar. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass of your choice. Garnish with a sprinkle of lavender buds.


“One of the main reasons I like this cocktail (other than it being delicious) is that it doesn’t have too many ingredients. It’s quick, delicious, and you do most of the work ahead of time. This batch makes five cocktails ready to go whenever you feel like having one.” —Elmer Mejicanos, Bar Manager at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco

Ingredients (Five Servings):

  • 10 oz. El Tesoro blanco tequila
  • 5 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 10 strawberries cut in half
  • 1 whole lemon cut into quarters
  • 1 rosemary sprig

Method: Add all ingredients into a large container and let it rest covered in the refrigerator for two days. Strain out all fruit and herbs on day two. In a Collins glass add 2 ounces of the batch, fill glass with ice, and stir quickly. Top with sparkling water or tonic water, if available. Garnish with fruit or flower of your choice, or enjoy as is! (Nobody can judge your cocktail presentation at home.)


“This cocktail is super easy to make with spirits that are easily available at your local market or nearby liquor store. There is no need for equipment—all you need to do is mix the same portion of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Add a few drops of bitters, mix, and keep in the freezer for two to three hours. Then it’s ready to drink! Add ice, or enjoy as is.” —Chetan Gangan, mixologist at ROOH, San Francisco


  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (such as Cocchi Barolo Chinato)
  • 3 dashes Hella Bitters smoked chili bitters

Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Combine and mix all ingredients together in a large container and store in the fridge for up to two to three hours prior to serving.


“The Argonaut Gold Rush is a simple and beautiful idea: The tart lemon is balanced by sweet and earthy honey—then rounded out with Argonaut Fat Thumb. I personally like this for a batched cocktail during these summer months, it can turn an un-airconditioned apartment into a mini vacation.” —Briggs Brown, bartender at The Varnish, Los Angeles


Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Measure out all ingredients in a glass and stir to combine.


“Who doesn’t enjoy some kick and mixing it up in their daily routine, especially now? Try pairing your bourbon with a shot of espresso or a splash leftover from your morning coffee. Why? Due to the higher rye content, Russell’s Reserve has a spicy component in their bourbon that leaves a pleasant tail on the palate, which pairs perfectly with something strong like a well-roasted coffee bean. The smell alone can be a burst of energy which I know we all need.” —Lucinda Sterling, managing partner and beverage director at Middle Branch, New York City


  • 1 oz. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. Braulio Amaro or other amari
  • 0.25 oz. coffee

Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Mix all ingredients together. Pour over ice into a rocks glass. Serve with a twist of orange. To make large batch: multiple each ingredient by 4 and combine and store in a large container. Serve one cocktail at a time.


“Apothic’s Rebellious Red Sangria allows you to experiment with different flavor combinations and explore seasonal flavors year-round. The base recipe is delicious on its own, but you can also swap out the traditional brandy for a flavored version, like E&J Peach. When paired with the citrus-forward flavor of Lemon Lime Soda, it offers you the ability to complement the batch with seasonal fruits and herbs. I especially like using this formula for outdoor summer evenings around a fire. For the perfect campfire sipper, swap out the traditional brandy for E&J Vanilla, top with Ginger Beer, and complement the batch with brandied cherries and cinnamon sticks.” —Christopher Chamberlain, national beverage development manager at E. & J. Gallo Winery


  • 1 bottle of Apothic Red
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • Lemon lime soda or ginger ale or ginger beer
  • 5 blood oranges and plums, sliced
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded

Method: Mix ingredients in a large pitcher, stir and pour over ice.


“While home during our COVID-19 closure, I have been embracing aperitivo hour as the online business day winds down, but it’s not quite time to make dinner. While I've been happy to serve folks their early evening cocktails for year, it’s rare I get that pleasure. So I’ve been keeping a stock of ‘Golden Hour Batch,’ which is inspired by the negroni (gin, sweet vermouth, Campari) but lower proof. What I love about this is that it’s delicious on its own, but will keep in the fridge for a month—if it lasted that long. But it’s suited for an easy creative flex, like adding club soda or Prosecco on top. Right now it’s Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit that I’m splashing on top. So it can be seasoned or unseasoned, as I’ve been asking myself at Aperitivo Hour for one!” —Meaghan Dorman, bar director at Raines Law Room and Dear Irving, New York City

Ingredients (Three Servings):

Method: Combine ingredients in a 12-ounce Mason jar. Stir or gently shake jar to combine. Keep sealed in fridge and serve over ice. Optional garnish of orange or grapefruit slice. Feel free to “season” with prosecco.


“What originally made me fall in love with the spirits industry were the stories behind every bottle—because those stories represented unique individuals, most often from a long family lineage. I try to be mindful when creating cocktails to not just make something that tastes great but to also incorporate spirits from all over the world, blending in perfect marriage to tell a story in your glass (Mexico, France, Trinidad and Tobago in this case). This cocktail is a bit on the strong side because, let’s face it, we all could use a stiff drink right now. Its taste is lighter from the various fruit notes, in hopes to lift your spirits to continue to fight for brighter days. Each ingredient is available at most liquor stores and easy to batch at home. The batch will even keep in your fridge for up to a couple weeks! That way when the time comes, you just need to grab a book and kick your feet up, you already have a cocktail waiting for you.” —Megan Radke, bartender at Canon, Seattle


  • 2 parts El Tesoro Blanco Tequila
  • 1.5 parts Lillet Blac
  • 0.25 parts apricot liqueur
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel, for garnish

Pre-Batching Method: Combine the El Tesoro Blanco, Lillet, and apricot liqueur into whichever airtight vessel you’ll be storing in the fridge. I recommend doing the math ahead of time for how many cocktails you want to keep batched, it’ll last in the fridge for a couple weeks at the very least. Scale up measurements to batch.

Preparation: Pour 3.75 oz. of the batched cocktail and add 3 dashes of bitters. And you can either stir over ice or strain into a coupe. (I prefer the coupe to avoid over-diluting while I sip on it for a while.) Or if you’re looking for something even simpler, go ahead and just toss in a few ice cubes, give it a couple swirls with a spoon and then let nature do the work for you. Express an orange peel into your drink and you’re all set!


“The Seagram’s Sweet Tea Vodka Arnold Palmer is a perfect cocktail for batching to keep things simple when you’re looking to unwind. After a hard day, when you don’t want to spend time looking for ingredients and mixing up cocktails, it’s so much better to have a few of these batched in the fridge ready to go, especially during the warmer months. Consider using store-bought lemonade to make this a balanced, simple two-ingredient cocktail.” —Natalie Migliarini, founder at Beautiful Booze


Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Combine Seagram’s Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade over ice in a highball glass. Stir then garnish with mint and lemon.


“Quarantine life has allowed me to pay more attention to indoor gardening. I have a flourishing basil plant in my AeroGarden that needs constant room for growth. Plucking the fresh basil leaves sends the phenols around the room, and reminds me of eating at my favorite Italian restaurants. The basil is nicely complemented by the earthy umami notes of Iichiko Saiten and Fever-Tree Pink Grapefruit's floral and citrus complete the experience. The cocktail can be refrigerated and consumed well into the fifth day and can be made stronger by adding more of the main alcoholic ingredient, or boosting it with an ounce of another light spirit, because Iichiko mixes well with gin, vodka, and tequila.” —Lucinda Sterling, proprietor at Middle Branch and Seaborne, New York City


  • 1.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz. agave syrup (1:1 agave nectar to water)
  • 10–12 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 oz. Iichiko Saiten Shochu
  • 4 oz. Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit

Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Combine ingredients in a 12-ounce Mason jar and let steep for one to seven days. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh cracked pink peppercorns and a fresh basil leaf.


“If this quarantine has revealed anything to me, it’s that humans are fickle creatures. It’s part of the reason we can’t seem to get comfortable in our favorite chairs these days. The same thing happens with my drinks these days: I don’t know if I want something big and boozy—or something refreshing and light. I fight this small battle on a weekly basis and I don’t want to fuss over my bar stock. This cocktail was my solution. With a few bottle acquisitions and a bit of prep, you can have a drink that will be there, even when you can’t make up your mind. It’s about what feels right in the moment. El Momento #1 is the bold, boozy tequila old fashioned you’ve been craving nightly as we enter this long summer. Vibrant El Tesoro tequila, spicy ginger, and a touch of cherry give you a fantastic uplifting sipper for those days when only tequila will give you the kick you need. All you need to do is pour it over some ice and garnish with a lemon peel. El Momento No. 2 is where the road forks: When you need a sip for those long, languid days, look no further. It begins as our pre-batch, but the addition of bubbly buddy will bring a bit more sunshine into your life. Pour some of our prebatch over some ice and top with Stiegel Radler for a citrusy kick. (For a drier experience soda water and a squeeze of lime works great here too.)” —Alejandro de la Parra, bar manager at Teardrop Lounge, Portland, Oregon

Ingredients (Eight Servings):

  • 12 parts El Tesoro Reposado Tequila
  • 3 parts ginger liqueur
  • 1.5 parts Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 6 dashes of Angostura bitters

Pre-Batching Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Add all ingredients to a Mason jar or other airtight container. Shelf stable indefinitely. Makes approximately 8 drinks.

Preparation for El Momento #1: Pour 2 ounces of prebatch over a large ice cube. Stir and garnish with a lemon peel.

Preparation for El Momento #2: Pour 1.5 ounces of prebatch into a tumbler over some small ice cubes. Top with a lemon Stiegel Radler (or soda water with a squeeze of lime). Garnish with a mint sprig.


“I'm not so sneakily sneaking in a really fun syrup to make. It’s utilizing most of the citrus, so you’re throwing away very little during the concoction of this delicious cocktail. It’s important to me to be as sustainable as possible. This syrup will last months in your fridge but the coolest thing about it is that it adds all this amazing fresh lime and mint oil flavor that is usually so hard to maintain in a large format cocktail. A little extra effort will totally make it worth it, especially on a hot sunny day when all you have to do is go to your fridge and pull out this ready to rock, ultra-refreshing tequila quencher. I usually prefer to drink fresh citrus cocktails right away, but the sugar helps stabilize the lime juice in the oleo so it doesn’t oxidize too quickly. I have bar friends who swear by week old citrus, everybody’s tastes are different—and maybe you’re one of those people too! There is no wrong or right answer when making drinks, make them the way you like them to taste. Want more sugar? Go for it! Want less, that’s great too!” —Emily Mistell, beverage director at Hey Love, Portland, Oregon


  • 1 750 ml. bottle El Tesoro Blanco Tequila
  • Honey oleo syrup*
  • 1 to 2 bunches of mint (pick the leaves off the mint and set aside with the lime peels. Save a handful of the full mint leaves for garnish)*
  • Topo Chico
  • Finishing salt (My go to is Jacobsen’s Salt Co. They’re right in my backyard and they make fun infusions that are fun to play around with.)

For the Honey Oleo Syrup:

  • 10 oz. lime juice (this is roughly 9-10 limes, peel the limes before you juice and set aside in a sealable glass container, tupperware, jar, or whatever you have handy.)
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup honey

Pre-Batching Method: To make the honey oleo, combine white sugar, honey, citrus peels and mint leaves in a sealable container. Stir everything together until all white sugar is dissolved. This can sit for up to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more of the oil flavor you will have. Once the sugar is dissolved, strain the fruit out of it and set aside until ready to assemble your Golden Hour. There are no rules when it comes to the citrus peels you can put in your oleo base—throw a grapefruit or tangerine peel in! Once the honey oleo is finished, assemble everything (save for the Topo Chico and finishing salt) into a pitcher or bottle. Reuse your El Tesoro bottle or any other resealable glass container you may have in your recycling. Agitate until all ingredients are completely mixed together and put into the fridge. This can be made at least two to three days ahead of time.

Preparation: When you’re ready to serve, fill whatever glass you like with ice, pour in the premade Golden Hour with an inch or so of room from the top for Topo Chico. Garnish with a mint frond—give the frond just a little squeeze before you pop it into the drink and it will release the amazing mint aroma. Sprinkle a little bit of that finishing salt on top and enjoy!


“Martinis are a beautiful cocktail. They’re perfect for every season. When making a martini, especially during summer, I always reach for Tanqueray No. Ten. It’s strong but smooth, which is perfect for a martini. It is a wonderfully balanced gin that is rich with flavors like grapefruit, coriander, and lemongrass. Pairing those flavors with a summertime melon like cantaloupe makes perfect sense. What’s a strange but delightful pairing with cantaloupe? Salt. That’s why we are splitting our dry vermouth with a fino sherry that is high in salinity. The salt makes the cantaloupe and gin really sing. Freezing the cocktail will make it silky smooth on the mouth, making it the perfect summertime patio martini.” —Deke Dunne, bartender and manager at Allegory in the Eaton Hotel, Washington, D.C.


  • 1.5 oz. Tanqueray No. Ten
  • 0.75 oz. Fino Sherry
  • 0.75 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • Water
  • Cantaloupes

Method: To scale this cocktail, take 4 cups of Tanqueray No. Ten and add it to a container. Add 2 cups of fino sherry, 2 cups of dry vermouth, and 2 cups of water. (Add in the water so you don’t have to worry about stirring or shaking with ice.) Cut up an entire cantaloupe and add the diced pieces to the container. Seal and let sit for 24 hours in the fridge. This will infuse your cocktail with those delicious melon flavors. Remove the container and strain out the cantaloupe. Pour into an empty bottle, cap it, and place in the freezer. Once the cocktail is hyper chilled, pour into a glass and garnish with a melon ball. Enjoy!