Friday, April 14, 2006


This week, this is becoming more of a “what she drinks” log than what I eat (since I’m mostly eating at home, things like hummus, tuna, toast, etc.). You like how I skimp on food but save cash for drinks? Hey, I gotta be social. So here is some cocktail commentary... Yesterday, a girlfriend and I decided to do a little bar-hopping on a Wednesday night. Our first stop, by my request, was Apotheke, in the Pearl, tucked inside a gourmet complex of sorts—above the upscale Peruvian restaurant Andina (their specialty is ceviche), and with a wine shop in the basement. One night a couple of months ago, I started talking with this cool guy on the streetcar going from Northwest downtown, and he was on his way to meet some friends there. We both knew little about the place, just that they served unusual European liquers. It’s not easy find information on either. Mysterious. The entire room is painted white, yet it’s dark in there, with mod white barstools and low-lit orbs hanging from the ceiling. Sitting in there, you could easily be in Amsterdam. There was a dj right near the entrance playing what I thought was drum and base, although it might have been some other genre of foreign electronica. People were speaking in German.

Apotheke is über-cool, and so are the drinks. Their menu is a multi-page pamphlet, and the first page explains that they don’t serve anything mixed, to thus preserve the true integrity of the each liquor. They have many unusual “digestif” drinks, which taste of various herbs and spices like cinnamon. And there are brandys and scotches and wines. They’ve got such things as Pernod, Chartreuse, Campari. I had a grappa, made by Clear Creek Distillery, a local bottler. The last time I had grappa was backpacking with the girls in Florence, and unfortunately we took the restaurant’s bottle into our own hands that night, and I didn’t wake up for 24 hours. This was a little different. It was a sipper. Made from Muscat grapes (there were 2 other grappas as well), once the alcohol wore away, it tasted like flowers. Like perfume. I loved it. Taking pretty little nips at a delicate little glass. It was lovely.

Next, we headed back to our beloved East-side to Mint’s bar, 820. They have two long lists of fabulous, fresh drinks made with all sorts of wonderful things—rosemary shaken with gin, a mojito made with cilantro, boysenberry puree...After much reading and internal debate, I made a snap decision to order the guava cosmo. And oh was it the right choice. Vodka shaken with guava puree, fresh squeezed lime juice and maybe a little something else? It was the perfect amount of sweet and sour, and totally reminded me of working in the smoothie stand on Kauai as a kid. My cousins and I made the smoothies to sell to tourists for my auntie and uncle, who had the papaya farm. We only had one kind—banana/papaya/pineapple juice with a squeeze of lime. But what we made for ourselves was pineapple and lime, a little ice, thrown in the blender ‘till it frothed. That’s what that drink tasted like and I enjoyed every single sip.

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