Never mind sipping in the rain, in Seattle bourbon goes year-round. Versatile and complex, the distinctly American spirit flexes easily to adapt to its pairings. While in winter you can serve bourbon neat and sip on it for sustenance, come spring all it takes is a bit of mint and simple syrup and crushed ice to transform it into a perfect mint julep.
So, what are the best ways to drink bourbon in Seattle this summer? In a cocktail or just plain neat, says Heartwood Beverage Director Amanda Reed.
Best Bourbon Cocktails for Summer
For the best bourbon cocktails for summer, Reed suggests citrus, but also feels that “stirred and bitter cocktails still have a place in the summer”, says Reed, “and I think people in this town really gravitate toward those styles of cocktails. But adding different fruits or citrus elements changes the style of the drink completely.” Going old-school with egg whites in a bourbon sour is also a very fun way to brighten up the spirit, says Reed.
Last summer’s bourbon and jackfruit based Hello Poppy cocktail added additional Far East influence to the Heartwood cocktail menu. This summer, the Old Pal—which is featured on the happy hour menu—is a negroni-like cocktail. Here, the essential addition of dry vermouth gives the cocktail a lighter twist.
Straight Advice on Bourbons to Drink Neat or Over Ice
As for how to drink bourbon straight in summer, Reed suggests trying new producers.
“While I like to hear what people like from their bourbon if I was to gravitate toward one for summer it might be Blanton’s, which is on that brighter side. Four Roses small batch is also quite light and bright.”
Regardless of what bourbon you choose, this summer Reed encourages going for one that is softer and more floral rather than big and full of spicy notes. And, because knowing spicy from floral can be hard when just reading a label, Reed and team are glad to offer advice. Flights and single-pours of roughly 50 different bourbons are on the menu daily at our downtown Seattle restaurant.