I distinctly remember the first time I heard about the Zig Zag Cafe. I was out at another bar, discussing classic cocktails with the bartender there. He asked me if I had heard of this new bar that had recently opened up called "Zig Zag". Indicating that I hadn't, he said that he was recently talking with one of the bartenders there, and he had claimed that they had all of the classic cocktail ingredients, and could make any of the old drinks. The challenge of course was more then I could pass up, and with a knowing wink to the bartender, I made plans to check out the Zig Zag on my next trip downtown.
Apparently the Zig Zag had only been open for a short time, and when I dropped in for my first visit they only had a light crowd. I was impressed right at first by the overall comfortable feeling that this little restaurant held. It was slightly hidden off of the stairway that led from the famous Pike Place market down to the Seattle Waterfront. The interior was dimly lit, and even though the walls were basically just painted concrete, it still had a cozy and relaxed feel to it.
I naturally ordered an Old Fashioned as my first drink, which Ben mixed up expertly. Choosing to use simple syrup instead of sugar, and thus not needing to add any water to this excellent drink. By the time I got to the real challenge, I had already decided that the Zig Zag clearly had the passion that I looked for in bartenders that truly understood their art. While I normally don't try to ask a bartender for a cocktail that they probably not only won't know, but won't have the ingredients for, the challenge had been made, and I felt it was necessary to find out if they really could make any of the classic drinks. So for my last drink, I ordered an Aviation, knowing full well that they probably didn't know the recipe, and almost certainly didn't have maraschino liqueur, the necessary ingredient for this classic, but forgotten, drink.
As I suspected, they did not have maraschino liqueur, but by know the interest of both Ben, and Kacy, the other bartender who happened to be working up their bar menu at the time, was piqued. By now, we all knew that amongst us we shared a clear passion for classic cocktails made with the attention to quality that they deserved. For me, a clear indication of the dedication of these two young men, was that when I returned for a surprise visit the following night, I was pleased to see a tall bottle of maraschino liqueur behind the counter. Even though this ingredient was (at that time) very hard to find in Washington State, they had taken the time to quickly track down and acquire some.
It has now been a several years since that first meeting at the Zig Zag, and as one might expect, their have been various changes that have occurred. Ownership of the Zig Zag recently changed, but fortunately the change was that Ben and Kacy are now the owners, instead of just the bartenders. And they have extended their culinary passion to the food menu as well as the drinks menu.
The cocktail culture in Seattle is definitely going through some exciting changes, and the Zig Zag Cafe is the place in Seattle to experience the best that this city has to offer.
- 2 ounces gin
- 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
- 1/4 ounce lemon juice
|Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.