Whiskey Wednesdays: Beginning at Ballard Loft

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The departure of Tequila Tuesdays' regular correspondent left a high-ball-sized hole in Voracious, one that needed to be filled with an entirely new flavor of alliterative alcoholism. Hence, in this column, I will try to comb my way through Seattle's bars for the perfect presentation for my preferred poison: whiskey

Whiskey Wednesday comes with a very big problem of its own: There just aren't a lot of colorful quaffs you can pour out of a bottle of rye. Tequila has margaritas, rum has mai tais and caipirinha, and vodka goes well with just about anything bright and fruity.

The whiskey cocktail, however, is an elusive and dangerous thing that should only be asked of the most trustworthy of bartenders, like the ones at the Ballard Loft.

"I don't know... whiskey isn't something I really improvise with," says Seth, star bartender of the Loft. Well put.

So should I stick with the old standbys? Try to track down the perfect Jack and Coke? Pretend I get anything out of a Manhattan besides wishing I'd ordered a Martini? Get into another pointless argument with a bartender about how a Seven and Seven doesn't necessarily have to be made with Seagram's (YOU DON'T EVEN MAKE IT WITH 7-UP ANYMORE HOW IS THIS A POINT OF CONTENTION)? Punch out the first person to serve me an Old Fashioned with muddled fruit in it? None of these goals seemed to be very sustaining for a weekly column (or very self-sustaining, in the latter two cases).

Breaking my brief moment of doubt, Seth nodded his head and told me he'd try to think of something. A few minutes later, I had an amber cocktail glass in front of me with cranberries floating on top.

It pretty much just tasted like Fireball. And it made my stomach hurt.

Don't get me wrong: Seth is one of the best bartenders I've ever encountered in Seattle, and I'd take the Ballard Loft's eagerness to please over most Ballard haunts' aim to fashionably alienate. This really just goes to show how volatile of an element whiskey can be when it comes to mixology. And how tough the journey ahead may be...

 
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