Alcohol Alchemy

By Anna Roth December 19, 2008 Published in the October 2008 issue of Seattle Met

WHERE CAN’T YOU ORDER a Corpse Reviver these days? In a town saturated with classic mixers, David Nelson, bar manager at new Spur Gastropub in Belltown, struggled to set his drinks apart. “All the good cocktails have been made,” says the 24-year-old. “The only way to make your mark is to be innovative.”

Nelson and Spur chef Brian McCracken—himself only 27—are fans of Ferran Adrià, the Catalonian chef and luminary in the “molecular-gastronomy” movement. Adrià wasn’t the first to bring the foamy and the freeze-dried to fine dining, but he’s the guy who made science-based cooking famous, and today food-infused foams pop up on menus the world over. Inspired after watching a documentary on Adrià, Nelson and McCracken began experimenting with adding fruit- and alcohol-flavored bubbles to cocktails.

The resulting concoctions exist somewhere between the worlds of food and beverage. A bourbon orange crème (egg-white foam flavored with whiskey, orange and lemon juices, and mandarin orange liqueur) and La Rocio (an egg-white foam with red wine, lemon juice, and sugar combined with tequila, fruit, and more wine) possess an agreeable heft akin to a very light meal. (Maybe we can live on science alone.)

Molecular mixologists are shaking up foamy mixers in cities around the world—Seattle’s Jamie Boudreau was one of the first—but Spur’s are exceptionally delicious, and taste is never sacrificed for novelty. If it still sounds like just a gimmick in a glass, consider this: When you take away the hip factor and the hype, Nelson is still serving up an utterly original cocktail.

Spur Gastropub, 113 Blanchard St, Belltown, 206-728-6706; www.spurseattle.com

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