Blood, sweat and tears in the Seattle cocktail scene

I live in west Seattle, but decided to expand my horizons to try a number of bars outside of my hood. I decided on Ballard, Belltown and Capitol Hill.

I started in Ballard where I stumbled into Hazlewood. Ballard is a long way from home, so I was hoping for a great evening. I got one.

Move over Disneyland, Hazlewood is the happiest place on earth for adults.
My first thought was, "This is Ballard. We'll probably end up going fishing and pickling the herring we caught."


Maybe I'd get some weird Scandinavian drink with aquavit?

Wrong again.

Here's how the night went down. After walking into the packed bar, I was greeted by friendly staff who didn't ignore me or pretend I was too uncool for them to serve.

At the bar, I picked my poison - tequila - but the surprisingly sociable bartender suggested I try a "Rodeo Rose."

It ended up being the perfect choice. The drink was beautiful, with an unbelievable smell like nothing I had ever had before. The flavor was similar to wicked tequila with a hint of rose and cherry. My friend Cindy had the "Blood and Sand," which was also amazing.

Hazelwood was a hit, but a girl cannot get too attached to one cocktail. Next, we stopped by Ballard's Moshi Moshi, where I had a "death poem" and Cindy had a "naughty Sven," a nod to Ballard's Scandinavian roots with a dab of Aquavit. The cocktails were good, but a little spendy.

I couldn't shake the memory of my first drink of the night, so we decided to return to Hazlewood. The bartender shared a little background about my first drink, the "Rodeo Rose." Turns out, the tequila used in the drink is distilled locally. I always feel great supporting local businesses.
And, the liquor's slogan is "Ladymade Liquor," how cool is that?

After my fabulous night, I highly recommend Hazlewood. It's like going to France - elegant and classy - with none of the pretension and LOTS of delicious drinks.
The next night, I decided to venture to Belltown with my boyfriend, George, in tow. Before hitting the bar scene, we settled on dinner at Local 360. This restaurant replaced Flying Fish, which used to be on First Ave. What a great place for date night! The food is fantastic. I recommend the mac and cheese. The burger, topped with a tasty bun, is also fantastic. Before dinner, we opted on a few cocktails.

Our server recommended a great new local line called Brovo. She recommended a "lemon balm martini" with Ebb and Flow vodka. The drink was lovely, with a gentle and friendly taste. The lemon balm took the edge right off the vodka. George ordered a margarita with Clear Creek raspberry in it- also lovely.

The highlight of the meal was peanut butter and jelly bon bons for dessert. There is nothing better than deep fried peanut butter. Ever. Really.

We were full and happy, so we grabbed a nightcap at Cyclops. Belltown can be a little crazy at night, but we managed to find two spots at the bar. I had "Pink Eye" (trust me, it's much better than it sounds). George had a Maker's Old Fashioned. Cyclops was a great was way to end the night before heading home.

On my third night, I decided to visit Capitol Hill - the home of cocktails in Seattle - with my buddy Fran. She can be a little fussy, so I decided we should ease into the night at Liberty. Although service is a bit slow here, the atmosphere has a relaxed, lounge-style vibe.
I asked for an off-the-menu, rye-based drink I read about online called the "Toronto." Fran asked for a cocktail with Japanese whisky. Both drinks were delicious.

After cocktails at Liberty, we travelled to Barrio for dinner. Barrio is a great place if you are looking for a Mexican place in Capital Hill. The food is decent, the cocktails are solid, and the people-watching at the bar is unbelievably good. We split chicken enchiladas and yucca fries- both of which were good.

It seems every restaurant in Seattle is keen to Brovo. Barrio also had a bottle on its shelf, but this time Douglas Fir flavored. The bartender, Jermaine, gave me a sample. It tasted like drinking a Christmas tree.

Fran tried it and liked it so much she had it over ice! It was really nice and light. I never thought drinking a tree would make me happy, but I left full and delighted.

Three nights and what did I learn?

There are some really great cocktail bars in Seattle - all over the place. Seattle bartenders are mostly friendly, although they do scoff at you if you order vodka. Hazlewood makes me happy. Local 360 has great food and drinks and all from close to home! And I want to find out more about this new line called BROVO.