Monsoon East has one of the Eastside’s most impressive cocktail programs: labor-intensive but not fussy, complex but not intimidating. All this comes courtesy of Jon Christiansen and Noah Momyer, whom Christiansen snapped up (after a stint at MistralKitchen) when Monsoon owner Eric Banh gave him the green light to revamp his Bellevue restaurant’s bar offerings.
Right now most people come to Monsoon East to eat, not solely for cocktails, says Momyer. He and Christiansen are working to change that. Currently “citrusy drinks are a lot more prevalent than spirit-forward stuff,” but Momyer knows that sea change requires patience. “Surely one person comes in for a smoked cocktail, and somebody sees that and wants one and it’s a chain reaction.” He’s also ready for more regulars to sit down at the bar and challenge him to come up with a drink on the spot that suits their palate. Especially if said palates prefer rhum agricole.
Here, five questions for Noah Momyer.
1. What is the most underrated spirit?
At this point I think everything has had its day in the sun. But that being said, I would personally like to see more rhum agricole drinks on cocktail lists. Guess I should get on that.
2. Where else do you drink on the Eastside?
Sadly, I haven't really had a chance to explore the Eastside—living in downtown Seattle makes it hard to hit the bars and then figure out how to get home. However I do make it to Lot No. 3 occasionally, and Naga is at the top of my to-do list.
3. What do you order in that bar?
My drink preference changes pretty much daily, but my go-to is a whiskey neat and a cider.
4. Do you have a preferred hangover cure?
Anything with egg whites, or a spicy bloody Mary.
5. What's the worst thing you've seen someone do in a bar?
Pretty much everything I witnessed everyday that I have ever worked in a nightclub, was the worst thing I have seen in a bar. Never again.