Michael Rupp “travelled religiously” during college at the UW, so it’s not surprising he landed at the highly cosmopolitan RN74. After growing up on Orcas Island, Rupp moved to Seattle and then Spain where he taught English before returning stateside He's spent the past two years behind the bar at Michael Mina's lively spot at Fourth and Pike.
Here, five questions for Michael.
What's the most underrated spirit? I feel like gin is written off too often as just tasting like pine needles. Too many people have only been exposed to low quality dry gins, had too many shots out of plastic half gallons before they knew any better, and haven't gone back since. Those who really take the time to explore some quality Old Tom gins or original Dutch genevers find a whole new world of malty and complex spirits to complement their dry and crisp counterparts.
What is everyone ordering at RN74 these days? The Downtown Donkey is definitely our top seller. It's a twist of sorts on the old school Moscow mule with vodka, fresh lime juice, muddled cucumber, ginger puree, and a little sugar, served in the always sexy copper mugs that everyone loves so much. If it's not that, it's some form of old fashioned or Manhattan.
What's the best drink you make? Sticking with the gin theme and my personal preference, I think my Martinez is pretty tasty. Old Tom gin, sweet vermouth (preferably Carpano Antica), maraschino liqueur, and a couple dashes of orange bitters makes for a great drink. I like Ransoms Old Tom or, to mix it up a little, I go for Big Gin's barrel aged gin; although not sticking to the original recipe, that stuff is pure gold.
What is the craziest thing you've ever seen happen in a bar? I had the rare pleasure of watching one of those movies scenes unfold where a woman throws a glass of red wine in her date's face and walks out. It was early on in the date though and the guy took it like a champ, dried off, drank the entire bottle of wine, and finished both entrees before leaving. Not sure what instigated the wine throwing but I'd like to think that's how I’d handle it, too.
If the bar and restaurant world suddenly disappeared, what would you do? Even when booze was illegal bartenders still weren't out of work, but I guess theoretically speaking I would try my hand at flipping houses. My general rule of thumb is: Anything someone on reality TV can do, I can do better. So I'm confident it would be a sure bet.