The first thing I did after I read the email detailing Maggie Savarino's cocktail menu for Westward this morning was search "how to make vermouth."
Savarino wrote The Seasonal Cocktail Companion (which I use and love) and created one hell of a drink list for Madison Park Conservatory during her tenure there as the bar and general manager. She's creating and consulting on the bar menu for Westward (and its adjoining oyster bar and grocery, Little Gull), and Westward's house drink will be The Boat, a refresher made with Westward's homemade vermouth and tonic, on the rocks. Hence.
It turns out that vermouth was, way back when, created to use up oxidized (corked) wine. Vermouth= bum (or use fine, drinkable) wine + a distilled spirit (like Brandy) + herbs, roots, flowers, spices and a little (or more, for sweet vermouth) sugar.
But you're a busy person.
And it's Friday. It's warm outside. And by the time Westward, the new north Lake Union seafood-focused restaurant from Josh Henderson's new restaurant collective, Huxley Wallace (also behind the forthcoming Hollywood Tavern in Woodinville) opens in late June or July Seattle'll be in full summer weather mode.** So leave the vermouth-making to the experts. Boat over (there's a dock!) and plant yourself on the new, expansive, sun-drenched deck and do what I plan to do: drink The Boat.
Or: The Westward Michelada (pictured above), ice-cold lager doused with house-made worcestershire sauce, fresh lime and a "salted Rooster sauce rim." Uh, yeah: Market Spice is making a custom salt mix based on the flavor of sriracha especially for the drink. Also: a Blackstrap cream soda, made with stout and ginger-vanilla soda; house aquavit (fennel-dill, caraway-horseradish, etc) flavored to match the gravlox-of-the-week (let's pause here: there'll be a gravlax of the week!).
Say you're a fruity drink gal (or guy). No shame in that game when you've got fresh, seasonally-aware options like the Nectarine Fashioned, with nectarine-soaked whiskey with a bitters infused cherry; the Cherry Bomb, wherein "Metaxa meets cherry flambee"; or the Slow Gin Fizz, made with blackberry acid.
Look for Westward and Little Gull to open in June or early July. Be thirsty.
**unless I just jinxed us.