Summer may mean vacations for schoolteachers and therapists, but Seattle's drinks writers were working overtime tracking booze news this season. Here, a few of the biggest stories from the spirited side of the local food and beverage scene.
The city's best-known bartender, who last year won Best Bartender in America honors at Tales of the Cocktail, stunned Seattle drinkers by abruptly leaving Zig Zag Café in May. Citing health issues and a desire to spend more time with his family, Stenson announced he'd be tending a more sedate bar at RN74. But owner Michael Mina told Eater Seattle on June 9 that "Murray informed us that due to personal circumstances, he needs three months before he'll be able to bartend." Three months. You do the math.
And, speaking of RN74, Seattle oenophiles this summer cheered the arrival of the glitzy San Francisco import. The restaurant is a shrine to wine, featuring a cellar stocked with more than 8,000 bottles and a flip-flopping train schedule board to show which wines are on the cusp of selling out. If you're looking to spend serious money on a wine to go with your dinner, there are few better restaurants in which to do so.
Canon still isn't open--although the bar officially entered "any day" territory with a media party last week--but news of Jamie Boudreau's first solo project dominated summer cocktail chatter. Boudreau's stoked the excitement by hiring fellow barkeep Nathan Weber; staining his bar with bitters; issuing a massive cocktail list and promising to install a Fernet Branca tap.
Farmers and food producers aren't always talented salespeople, but they can usually win over customers by offering them tastes of their wares. That hasn't been true for brewers and winemakers, who are hamstrung by liquor laws forbidding alcohol sampling at farmers markets. But the state this summer announced tastings would be permitted at 10 pilot markets, including West Seattle Farmers Market, Magnolia Farmers Market, and the on-street market at Pike Place. The program started last week.