While the Eater Awards honored the best of the best in Seattle dining for 2019, it’s also time to recognize the drinks that made the year a little brighter, from well-crafted cocktails to sake flights to Viking beer. These selections (listed alphabetically) are the Eater staff’s personal preferences and reflects the newer additions to the bar scene this year, but if there’s anything you think we missed, don’t hesitate to send us a tip.
Calamansi sour at Hood Famous Cafe and Bar
Given calamansi’s flavor profile, one might expect some overwhelming pucker — but that’s not the case here. This spin on a whiskey sour at the International District’s all-day Filipino cafe is extremely smooth and goes down easy, with a little egg white froth. It also pairs nicely with some of Hood Famous’s Filipino bar snacks, such as balut, chicharron with spiced vinegar, and adobo-glazed cashews.
Mint Julep at Baker’s
Simple and perfectly tart, this classic from the wonderful new Sunset Hill cocktail bar hits the spot all year long, not just around Kentucky Derby time. Quality Old Forester bourbon helps, for sure, but the seasonal house-made syrup (currently flavored with apple and mint) is really what balances things out.
“Mirror of Truth” junmai (or any sake) at Hannyatou
Drinking at star chef Mutsuko Soma’s intimate new Fremont bar, next to her Japanese soba restaurant Kamonegi, is truly a high-level education in sake. One really can’t go wrong with ordering any of the flights, organized by flavor profiles, but one particular standout pour was the Masumi Okuden Kantsukuri “Mirror of Truth” junmai, a silky smooth offering with hints of melon. Pro tip: order the chicken liver mousse for an excellent snack on the side.
Normandy old fashioned at Roquette
Purists may balk at an old fashioned made with anything other than bourbon or rye, but the Laird’s apple brandy mixed with Calvados Mountreuil used in this concoction at Belltown’s French-influenced lounge delivers sweetness without being overpowering. It fits in well with the Casablanca-like atmosphere.
Odin Black Currant Farmhouse Ale at Skal Beer Hall
Heavy Viking energy marked the spring opening of this new Ballard bar: pelts and axes hanging from the walls, mead and venison on the menu. And the beer list leaned into the Scandinavian style — while we were partial to this smooth brew (with a hint of sweetness and acidity), more seasonal options include a smoked beer from Klostergården Håndbryggeri.
Rieslings at Vinnie’s Raw Bar
The highly anticipated new Belltown spot from Seattle cocktail power couple Chris Elford and Anu Apte-Elford opened in June with an emphasis on natural wine and small snacks. Sommelier Ford Nickel has developed a fantastic wine list for both novices and experts. While we enjoyed dry, fruit-heavy glass pours, such as the Battenfeld-Spanier Trocken, patrons may want to ask for recommendations to navigate the constantly-changing menu.
Tom Yum Fizz at Kin Len Thai Night Bites
This new Fremont Thai restaurant near the Lenin statue focuses on snacks such as crispy pork wontons and banana blossom fries, but the drinks menu is just as enticing. Those who like spicy-sweet flavors should give the tom yum fizz a try, while those craving more dessert-type drinks can opt for kanom tuay talai (“a jar of pleasure”) made with rice wine, pandan syrup, and salted coconut foam.