"I'm.... dreamin'... of a white.... Christmas," Bing Crosby croons on the speakers while gaggles of tourists discuss what Emerald City site to see next over platters of oysters.
You wouldn't know it to look at him, but this guy is a 10-year vet of the Seattle Schmance bartending scene.
Avoiding the waterfront is a holiday tradition for most Seattleites. The last thing we need are over-dressed out-of-towners and the interminable loop of holiday standards. It's easier to retreat to Capitol Hill or Ballard and wait out their departure after the new year.
So here's why you should just get over it and brave the crowds at Elliott's Oyster House: warm bourbon with mixologist Levi Colinas.Colinas says he's been slinging drinks in Seattle for a decade, first at the Metropolitan Grill and now here at Elliott's. When asked to make his favorite drink, he only slightly hesitates: "Really? Alright, that's easy."
Usually when someone questions the First Call premise then comments that their favorite drink is "easy" it means a shot. Maybe a chaser.
But Colinas' definition is apparently quite different as he begins muddling mint. "It's a mint julep," he explains. "Because I love bourbon and mint."
As we begin slurping our own oysters and sipping the cold julep, Colinas notes that if we like the julep, we might like his favorite winter drink, a hot julep.
Okay, it's not Colinas' fav, but it's damn delicious!
Instead of ice, Colinas adds hot water and tops the drink with a brown sugar foam, puffed up with nitrous. It's sweet, smooth, minty, and warms you to the tips of your toes. Like everything you want from an Irish coffee with out the pesky coffee getting in the way of the booze.
The cold julep is technically Colinas' favorite drink meaning this First Call should probably dwell more on that (and his is a decent version). But the hot julep is the reason you should hustle your frozen backside down to the waterfront, suck up Sinatra's version of Silver Bells, ignore the tourists discussing the giant star at Macy's in too-loud voices, and belly up to the bar at Elliott's.
Cheers and Merry Christmas!