Top Five Drinks for Celebrating a Birthday

Contributing writer A.J. Rathbun details his celebratory cocktails of choice

By Seattle Mag February 4, 2016


This may seem a little self-centered, but today is my birthday. And, as every day is someone’s birthday, it seemed like a good idea to have a list of the top drinks served up in local bars that I think are most fitting of this celebration. I’ll admit, these might also be the ones I’d like to have bought for me as a birthday treat if anyone’s feeling generous. Now, I couldn’t really have all of these tonight, or it’d be quite a long day tomorrow. But if my tolerance was unlimited, I’d have them all this evening.

Leaf & Silo, Rob Roy: Created by Kathleen Manley, this cocktail boasts a combination of bourbon, Cocchi Americano (the now-popular Italian aperitif), Branca Menta, caraway tincture, and spearmint extract. Something about the multiple mints underlined in a tasty manner by the bourbon and spices makes this deliciously memorable, like a good birthday, and a good drink, should be.

Americano, Damn The Weather: Admittedly a classic that’s perhaps finest in the warmer months, but with a winter birthday I often dream of summer on the big day, and more often dream of Italy, where this drink originates. You can get it at most spots, but at Damn they do it right, and have the requisitely continental atmosphere that you want when sipping a Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda hit.

Kentucky Road, Essex: A part of the popular pre-batching and pre-bottled cocktail trend (which sometimes delivers excellent results, as in this case), this fresh number is delivered to you in the bottle, so you can pour its mingling of bourbon, scotch, lemon, house-made ginger syrup, and a stitch of vanilla at will. It’s good to be in control, and also good this is served at the bar closest to my house.

Bobby Burns, Teacher’s Lounge: As an ex-teacher, and someone who loves poetry, this bar/drink match is impossible to resist on a day when one tends to think about their life – and if the thinking gets too much, the bar’s scholastic trapping provide a nice diversion. The cocktail’s combining of scotch, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and Angostura bitters helps ease the birthday along in a poetic way, too.

The Red October, Liberty: Okay, I had this not too long ago, and wrote an article about it for Seattle magazine, but ever since then I can’t get it out of my mind, so it makes the birthday list. There’s something so rich about its conversing flavors: bourbon, lemon juice, house made winter syrup (that’s cardamom and spices), house cherry syrup, Scrappy’s Lavender bitters, and dry red wine. It’s ideal for chilly days – and birthdays.


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