Puyallup native Alysse Zenkner’s studied anthropology and global health at the University of Washington, where she also worked filing government publications at the library—“a lot less excitement than working at Knee High”—before starting at the Capitol Hill speakeasy two and a half years ago. Now she's mixing drinks at the Tin Table, too. Who says liberal arts degrees don't apply to real life?
Here, five questions for Alysse.
What is everyone ordering at Knee High these days? It seems with the cold weather everyone either wants a Spanish Coffee or a Buffalo Cider. If they just want something warm and tasty, I'll make them a hot toddy-style drink with dark rum.
What's the best drink you make? I enjoy making fizzes and have had some great compliments about my Sazerac and personal creations, but I think the best drink would be the one the customer and I come up with together to suit his or her tastes.
What's the most underrated spirit? This is a tough one because so many people enjoy so many different spirits. I would say many people who are new to the cocktail scene seem to shy away from gin, which is very versatile and a key ingredient in some of the most tasty cocktails. Personally, I get way too excited about mezcal and dark rum. I almost always try to share these two spirits with friends and customers.
What's the craziest thing you've seen in a bar? Parkour. Some drunky ran up on the backs of a long row of chairs, then continued to do a half-flip jump thing in front of the bar, into the middle of the crowd and break dance for a lengthy amount of time. Then I realized it was my friend. Luckily, no one was hurt, the staff only had to tell him to stop once and we were all entertained.
What bar do you like to frequent when not at Knee High Stocking Co. and why? There are a few. Zig Zag for an awesome cocktail and good conversation with the knowledgeable bartenders; Montana for the great company, the ginger beer drinks, and pickle backs with Knee High coworkers; and the Hideout for something delicious in a discreet atmosphere with fun local art.