Five Questions for the Bartender: Miller's Guild's Bex Karnofski
"One guy slapped the other in the face then grabbed him and kissed...the whole thing was just very animated."
Bex Karnofski had a very “Seattle” set of jobs before finally becoming a bartender: barista, graphic designer, burlesque dancer. She’s moved away a couple times but always come back for Seattle’s imminent sun-inspired blossoming, the sea and the woods, and of course the plethora of gastronomic pleasures. Catch Bex at Bar Cotto, Miller's Guild, and most recently Liberty.
Here, five questions for Bex:
What's the most underrated spirit? Fernet Branca has become a widely popular spirit but most people don't realize that there are a variety of fernets out there. My current favorite is R. Jelinek Fernet from the Czech Republic. It's a bit sweeter and more cinnamon forward than Branca and is so delicious.
What is everyone ordering at Bar Cotto and Miller's Guild these days? The original specialty cocktails. We have a cocktail on the Miller's Guild menu that I worked on called the Scouts Honor which is Four Roses Bourbon, Zirbenz Stone Pine liqueur, maple syrup, and lemon bitters with a smoked salt rim and rosemary garnish that has been selling really well.
What's your favorite cocktail recipe using a local spirit? I love a Martinez made with Ransom gin. It's such a great classic cocktail and the maltiness of Ransoms Old Tom gin really shines.
What is the craziest thing you've ever seen happen in a bar? Once while working at Liberty we just closed the doors and two of our regulars were still hanging out outside in front of the windows. Myself and the other bartender watched as one guy slapped the other in the face then grabbed him and kissed him and then took his glasses off and was obviously gesturing for him to slap him back. We couldn't hear anything being said of course...the whole thing was just very animated.
What bar do you like to frequent when not at Bar Cotto and Millers Guild and why? Zig Zag for EVERYTHING, Suite 410 for a late night cocktail, Mezcalaria Oaxaca for a shot and a beer, and Sun Liquor for inspiration and great conversation.