One day while Radiator bar manager Sara Rosales was tending her former post at the bar of the Holiday Inn near the Space Needle, Dan Bugge of Matt’s in the Market stopped in for a drink. What she didn’t know was that Bugge had already received her submitted application for managing his forthcoming bar and was scoping her out.

“He came into my bar – all incognito – and ordered a Manhattan.” Had the drink been anything less, Rosales said, Bugge would have walked out. As it turns out, Bugge asked for another. But this time, he told her to make him something different – he wanted to see what Rosales could do with some artistic freedom.

Now at a little over three weeks of opening, Radiator Whiskey is chugging along smoothly, Rosales says. Every single one of Radiator’s three-week-barrel-aged cocktails sold out in the first week. And of the 75 hollowed-out books that hide liquor for Radiator’s flask club, 50 have already been filled. Mouths are being stuffed with pig faces (for serious), and Rosales is finally able to utilize the drink-specific toolkit she once kept under her bar at her previous employ—you know, for that once-in-a-blue-moon order of the bartender’s choice.

In regards to her transition, Rosales is pleased. “It’s a totally different world working at Radiator,” she said. “I finally have an audience for the kind of cocktails I want to make.”


Here, five questions for Sara Rosales:

1. What is the most underrated spirit?
Not surprisingly, I love whiskey in most forms. Specifically, I'm an Irish whiskey fan, so for me, Tyrconnell doesn't get enough attention. It's a single-malt Irish whiskey and if you can get your hands on the sherry cask finish you'll want to buy it dinner and ask it up for coffee. And I love mezcal, Fidencio Pechuga. Do it.

2. What is your favorite Seattle bar (other than Radiator)?
For fun cocktails, I'm a big fan of the Sexton in Ballard, they offer more than just the brown and bitter variety of cocktails (which I'm a fan of, of course, but I also love shrubs and seasonal ingredients too). And for the degenerate in me, I love Shorty's. It's the perfect bar.

3. What do you order when you're on the other side of the bar?
I usually drink Jameson, Hornitos and grapefruit with bitters or mezcal, but if I trust the bartender then I love to experiment with them.

4. What's the worst thing you've seen someone do in a bar?
I'm not going to mention names, but I know someone who drunkenly got tired of waiting for the bathroom so he peed in his pint glass and when he was called out on it, he tried to prove his innocence by drinking it.

5. Name three reasons you live in Seattle.
I'm from Arizona originally, so what draws me to Seattle is that it's laid back, beautiful and accessible to everything. Camping, skiing, gambling, drinking...etc.