First Call is a weekly Voracious feature in which our writers walk into a bar and ask the bartender to make us his or her
The Bar: Shadowland, 4458 California Ave. SW, 420-3817, West Seattle
First Call is a weekly Voracious feature in which our writers walk into a bar and ask the bartender to make us his or her favorite drink.
The Tender:Krystal, who says "you can just put 'Spring'" for the last name. Okey dokey, Krystal Spring.
The Drink: "It's a Saintly Gloria Swanson, it's pretty sweet."
It doesn't sound like she's particularly into the Gloria Swanson so I re-explain the First Call rules: "Seriously, make me whatever you drink, if everyone goes home and you secretly crack a PBR, let's have that."
But Krystal insists this is a favorite.
For the Gloria Swanson, she explains, she wanted to come up with a way to use the bar's St. Germain, a sweet elderflower liqueur, without letting it get over sugared. So she started with silent film star Gloria Swanson, because, you know, where else?
Gloria Swanson apparently whet her whistle with a blend of cognac and champagne. Krystal uses a dry champagne to cut the sweet and added the St. Germain. It's served in a tall glass with ice and a straw.
My boozing companion eyes my sweet drink skeptically and orders the smokey martini, a blend of Absolut and Glenlivet 15. The Glenlivet is mostly just used to flavor the glass before adding the chilled vodka. I'm delighted to report that after swirling it around, Krystal poured the remaining liquor into a tumbler for sipping. Waste not, sober not, as the saying goes.
Both, it turns out, are just what they should be. My Saintly Gloria Swanson has a hint of elegant sweetness, which is something I usually lack. The smokey martini is musky and mysterious, and my companion is neither of those things--though she does wear a lot of black, which matches nicely.
Those kinds of odd little quirky contradictions are really the whole spirit of Shadowland. While we sit, contentedly sipping as Krystal flits across the bar, filling requests, we watch a Wisconsin/Ohio St. game, followed immediately by the King and I, the Rogers and Hammerstein musical starring Yul Brynner. It doesn't necessarily make any sense together, but somehow it all works.
It's the kind of bar where a mixologist who really isn't into sweet drinks might actually love a little Saintly Gloria Swanson.