Breaking the Ice

New techniques, flavors, and ingredients are being used at Brimmer & Heeltap this summer, and not just in the kitchen. Getting our guests excited about trying something unexpected is one of our very favorite things, and, lucky for us, there are many things to get excited about these days thanks to our fantastic bartenders.

Ever curious and passionate about libations, B&H bartender Nick Barkalow has extensively researched and tested new techniques as a way to continue elevating the bar program at the restaurant. Such care and time spent innovating our offerings has resulted in a list of phenomenal new cocktails, including one standout dubbed the “Clear Cut.” Inspired by Dave Arnold’s James Beard Award-winning book Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail, Nick set out to create crystal-clear ice cubes, a task that is surprisingly complicated. Suddenly, a drink that would normally take 2 minutes to make takes over 48 hours; elevating a process as simple as freezing water in order to enhance the entire cocktail experience is one of the things that makes Nick such a fantastic bartender.

 Nick's "Clear Cut" cocktail.

Nick's "Clear Cut" cocktail.

Have you tried Nick’s “Clear Cut” cocktail yet? A beautiful thing to behold, at first glance it looks like nothing more than a clear spirit filling your glass. After a moment though, you’ll notice the sharp edges of a large square ice cube – hand carved and clear as crystal – floating among a balanced combination of gin, Salers, Pisco, Lillet Blanc, and bitters. It is the perfect cocktail to sip on as you begin your meal, and can also stand alone if you fancy a cocktail experience sans food.

Of course, this is just one of a handful of new drinks Nick has created just in time for summer. “My summer menu reflects what I would want to drink if I was sitting on the patio enjoying our famous steak tartare or our incredible duck fried rice,” Nick recently told Seattle Magazine of his food-friendly, imaginative cocktails. The “Porch Reviver” is another standout. A play on the classic “Corpse Reviver” that utilizes mezcal, Cocchi Americano, Ancho Reyes, and lime, this cocktail embodies Nick’s idea of a great summertime drink in all of its smoky, citrusy glory. 

 Ryyan hard at work stirring something delicious. 

Ryyan hard at work stirring something delicious. 

These cocktails are fantastic to sip on before and during a meal at Brimmer & Heeltap, but we suggest trying Nick’s take on espresso to really end your night on a high note. Inspired by the idea of an after-dinner espresso, our bartenders have been infusing scotch with a rotating selection of fantastic coffee beans from Seattle-based Slate Coffee. The 24-hour infusion creates a delicate flavor profile that evokes espresso in a completely inventive way. Served with a side of soda water to cleanse the palate, this after-dinner drink option is truly not to be missed.

Summer isn’t the only time you’ll find thoughtful, creative techniques elevating beverages behind the bar; ongoing projects spearheaded by our bartenders are giving us lots to look forward to year-round. A house-made eggnog recipe that utilizes tequila, scotch, and dry sherry was recently perfected, batched, sealed, and is now being aged for 5 months. We can’t wait to taste the finished product this coming holiday season when it will be ready! Our Bloody Mary, tested and tweaked with great care by our brunch bartender Floyd Bender, is another cocktail that takes hours and hours each week to prepare. The homemade Worcestershire sauce alone takes 5-7 days to develop its funky flavor, Floyd says, not to mention the homemade pickles, freshly made tomato-based mix, and the careful execution of the cocktail itself each weekend during brunch.

 Floyd spends hours each week perfecting our Bloody Mary recipe for brunch. 

Floyd spends hours each week perfecting our Bloody Mary recipe for brunch. 

Do carefully prepared ice cubes make cocktails taste better? How could we make awesome Worcestershire sauce in-house? What if we infused scotch with some of the best coffee beans in the city? How can we inspire our guests to get as stoked about mezcal as we are? It’s the questions that our bartenders continue to ask – and the creative, playful answers they come up with – that make sitting at the bar such a treat. Come in soon for beautifully executed cocktails and the chance to geek out on libations with some seriously talented bartenders.

Cheers!

Blog Author: Caitlyn Edson

Images: Will Foster Photography