In a city like Seattle where reliable standards from Zig Zag Cafe to Canon anchor the cocktail culture and newcomers like Foreign National and Navy Strength continually raise expectations, it’s hard to rise above the pack. Bt when it debuted last May, Alchemy brought to West Seattle a combination of exciting drinks, tasty food, a moody atmosphere, and the staff to weave it all together. It wasn’t an easy pick in a strong category, but because of this balanced approach Eater Seattle named Alchemy Bar of the Year 2017.
The drink wizards here focus on seasonal ingredients prepared on-site and blended with an impressive range of spirits. The resulting arrangements may be outlandish, inspired as they are by alchemists practicing dark arts, but there’s also more substance to them than any recipe for converting lead to gold. Knowledgeable bartenders are ready to help if things get too high-minded; Alchemy thus manages to be both destination and neighborhood watering hole.
Bar director Tony Larson used classic cocktails like the Negroni as a foundation, then built a list of originals, leaning heavily on bitters and shrubs made by the team and flashy presentations with items like liquid nitrogen, smokers, and activated charcoal to color a drink deep black or Chartreuse to turn the Poisonegroni green. The beverages mostly range from $10 to $14, but there’s also a $50 show-off drink called the Alchemy Cocktail, built of Talisker 2015 Distillers Edition scotch, Bozal Sacrificio mezcal, Gran Classico, Abbot’s and Peychaud’s bitters, and spices like smoked star anise.
Alchemy doesn’t slack off when it comes to food, either, with the owners creating a seasonal menu that strikes a happy medium between high-end and bar-snackable: The yolks have been cured and smoked for the double deviled eggs, while a risotto might arrive with nettle pesto and confit fennel. Servers help with pairings, offering fattier foods to complement acidic drinks, or sweeter options for bold, spicy bites. The result is a bar that feels complete and well-executed, an essential addition to Seattle’s cocktail scene.
- West Seattle’s Craft Cocktail Bar, Alchemy, Debuts Tomorrow [ESEA]
- Seattle’s Eater Awards Winners 2017 [ESEA]
- All Coverage of Alchemy [ESEA]