It’s always nice to see a quality bartender (and, in this case, pal) get a little public recognition, as Andrew Bohrer does in this Seattle Times article about the new Chantanee/Bar Naga combo. And if I did write about them a little earlier (here), then all the better. A good bar needs all the public words about it that are possible, so that people find their way there, take advantage of the tasty cocktails, chat up the friendly bar staff, eat snacks, be merry, dance around a bit, and then tip accordingly and stumble home. That’s just makes the world a better place, friends. Oh, as a side note, when I myself was at Chantanee/Naga last Friday, Andrew did indeed toss around a Blue Blazer like in the picture (said picture taken by photog Baydra Rutledge–go Baydra!), as a remedy for my cold, and as entertainment for patrons. It was a kick, and went down divinely. I felt better almost immediately. At least by the second one. Now, go read that article.
Just two on this lucky day–but two good ones (well, one good drink and one good post). And it’s lucky because A: it’s Friday the 13th (I tend to want to turn around bad luck omens on their heads, so I think of this day as lucky for anyone not camping near a lake. But if you’re silly enough to do that on a day like today, then, well, maybe it’s best you are camping near that lake), and B: yesterday was pal and rapidly-shaking Seattle bartender Andrew Bohrer’s birthday. In honor of said luck, here are two links from his blog, CaskStrength. A blog that’s been a little lonely lately, but only because he just opened a new bar, Naga (which I mentioned more in-depthly here), and is working ferociously to ensure you (yep, you) get the best drinks possible. Which means, if you want to be really, truly lucky, you’ll head out to restaurant Chantanee where bar Naga is (doubly lucky, by the way, cause the food in the restaurant is just amazingly tasty: have the crispy spicy tofu before you dodder on into the afterworld or call your life incomplete), and have him mix you up a drink. Then buy him one for his birthday. And then have him mix you up one. And so on, into the sunset.
Penelope’s Pit Stop: This is way deep in a longer post about elfin-magic-potion Chartreuse, but any drink that combines tequila and the just-mentioned Chartreuse and lemon juice and a muddle pear for gawd’s sake demands to be tried. Or at least be talked about. Or, if not that, be thought about for the rest of this day (a Friday, after all) until you can’t take it any more and rush home to make yourself one. That’s my take on it.
How to Carve an Ice Ball: Okay, this isn’t a drink at all, but whiskey is a drink, and one that I (and most I know) have all by its lonesome on occasion, over a bit of ice usually, and this post from Andrew is about carving an ice ball to serve your whisky over, so as to maximize the ratio of ice to booze. It’s pretty darn cool. And Andrew has ice balls at Naga (and if anyone doesn’t have a childish, 12-yr-old boy laugh at the phrase “Andrew has ice balls at Naga” then they need to go soak their head), and is a bit obsessed with ice balls (I saw him carving one on the bus once), so it’s a worthy post to read.
Though the actual opening day of new Bellevue hotspot (well, soon to be. And I mean “hotspot” in the good way, and not the overly ironic condescending way that I might use it usually) Chantanee is today, I was lucky enough to be able to slip in last weekend, to check out the bar set up by bar manager, WSBG officer, pal, and Cask Strength blog writer Andrew (that’s Andrew Bohrer, by the way, and not Andrew Friedman, Liberty Bar owner, WSBG officer, pal, and Alchohology blog writer, though admittedly it does get confusing having them both here in Seattle. It’s a nice confusingness, since they’re nice fellas, but I’ve started thinking they need nicknames to differentiate them more easily, like big Andrew and little Andrew, but that seems a bit, derogatory, somehow, and so I think I’m going to start calling them “Bohrer!” and “Friedman!” loudly, in a Sgt Schultz kind of accent). And, I must say, I was darn impressed by the set up, and overwhelmed by the in-depth and tasty amount of booze and accoutrements. I think they have like 10 choices or more each of rye, bourbon, and gin, enough liqueurs to have a hot-tub party in, and lots of bitters, tinctures, and more. Fun stuff indeed. I suggest, even if you have a Bellevue aversion (I’m speaking to those Seattleites who don’t travel well, or are afraid of water, or what-have-you), that you get off the couch and make your merry way out to test the drinks your-own-self, and soon, because not only is the bottle line up worth bowing too, the drink menu is also swell, with a balance of classic and new cocktails (though the full drink menu may not be in effect quite yet). I took a couple quick pics (and was lucky enough to be having the preview with the always fun DrinkBoy Robert Hess as well as the affable Amanda, one of the Naga bartenders), so you can get the feel of the place, and be tempted–and jealous.
Here’s the drink Andrew whipped up for me, a Cat’s Pajamas (notice the ice ball, which was a very cool touch. Also, notice the way I used “cool” both to denote style and temperature):
And here’s Andrew (a bit blurry, but hey, I was drinking and snapping all at once), enjoying the bar manager’s prerogative (which in this case was a Manhattan accented by homemade brandy’d cherries):