The Watering Hole: Brave Horse Tavern, 310 Terry Ave. N., 971-0717, SOUTH LAKE UNION.
You're looking at my girlie drink, aren't you?
The Atmosphere: The converted loft space easily fits two shuffleboards, an expansive horse-shoe bar, an open kitchen turning out homemade pretzels by the hundreds, and ample picnic bench seating with enough room leftover for all of Tom Douglas's James Beard nominations. Oh, yeah. For those of you who haven't heard, Brave Horse Tavern is Tom D's newest concept: A highbrow pub for the SLU crowd.
The Barkeep: Rob Moscovitz. Booze and boozers are nothing new to this Texas native who moved to Seattle nearly 12 years ago. This young(ish) buck owned Cypress for two years before selling it to Linda Derschang who turned it into Smith. "I used to manage Contour, McCoy's Firehouse; you name it, I've been around," says Moscovitz, who recently turned 35. "I've been bartending since I was 18, because in Texas, you can start serving at that age."
So, how is working for Big Tom different than all of the other places he's tended?
Moscovitz sums it up in two words: "It's weird."
"It's a Tom Douglas place which, as everyone knows, he does really well. It's corporate run but it doesn't feel that way. (Tom) takes extremely good care of his employees and, for the most part, everyone is happy to be here. It's strange to see so many happy employees running around. I'm totally amazed by it, actually. People in Seattle are loyal to Tom Douglas. They'll go anywhere he goes."
The Drink: Moscovitz immediately tells me he's going to make me two drinks -- one a crowd pleaser, the other his favorite drink. I'm intrigued. And scared. The first cocktail to arrive is girlie. No, wait, it's gurrrrly. I'm told it's a drink he first started making at The Viking, where he still bartends a few nights a week.
Ruby Red will hurt your head.
"Basically, it's for women who don't know what they want to drink but that men can also appreciate because it has a decent amount of booze in it. Unless you don't like grapefruit, there is no way on earth you can dislike this drink."
It's called a Ruby Red: fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, ruby red grapefruit vodka, cranberry juice, a squeeze of lime, shaken up and poured into a martini glass. Or shot glass, depending on your mood. "You can drink it or shoot it. You can shoot it in the morning," Moscovitz recommends.
The Verdict: It's refreshing and delicious, just like you'd expect. It's not a complicated drink, it's basically fruit punch, but I'm not complaining. Well, maybe just a little. Perhaps it's my escalating age or just bad decision making, but before the Ruby Red came into my life, I had consumed nearly two glasses of red wine at Brave Horse. I suspect that's why I woke up in the middle of the night with one of the worst headaches I've had in ages. So, while I highly recommend the Ruby Red, I don't recommend you let it take red wine for a spin in your liver.
Thank the booze Gods I didn't drink Moscovitz's second drink. Can you guess what it is? Here's a hint: Besides Brave Horse and The Viking, you can usually catch Moscovitz drinking in a dark corner at either Mecca Cafe or The 5 Point:
Trading in his high horse for a high life.
"I can make all the fruity girlie drinks in the world, but when it comes down to it, I like a cheap beer (Miller High-Life), and a decent whiskey. I go Jameson."
In case you were wondering, the combo didn't go to waste on me. Moscovitz gave it to an unknown patron at the bar who I assume can hold their liquor and isn't partial to pink things. I like to think it was Tom.