Behind the bar

Five Questions for the Bartender: Anu Apte

She mixes it up with the big boys at Vessel, and could talk about booze all day.

By Jessica Voelker May 28, 2009

Anu (full name Anita, call her Anu) Apte splits her time between two drinkeries. On weekends she makes cocktails at the second best cocktail bar in Seattle, Vessel, Sunday and Monday she’s over at Rob Roy with Tara M. Her mixology career began six years ago at a Salt Lake City night club—“Yes, they do exist"—and her Seattle experience includes one stint at a dive: since-closed Minnie’s, and another at a Miami-Vicey hotel bar: BOKA. She recently did a guest bartending gig at San Francisco’s Beretta.

“I’ve worked off and on as a bartender for about six years” says Apte. “I thought it was a great way to work my way through University. I’ve since realized that this is what I want to do as a living. I could talk about booze ALL day." You and me both, lady.

Here, five questions with Anu Apte.

What is the most underrated spirit?

That is a hard question given that I work at Vessel. Guests come in searching for obscure liquors—we sell a lot of everything there and everything is appreciated. I think genevers and mescals will gain more popularity in the next few years. Most Seattlelites don’t know them yet. I love the maltiness of genever and its flexibility in cocktails. I enjoy the earthy flavors and distinct characteristics in mescals from different cities and elevations.

What’s your favorite Seattle bar?

You know I’m going to say Zig Zag. I have a long list of favorites, among them Moshi Moshi in Ballard for cocktails, and Hooverville in SoDo for beer and straight spirits. Hopefully, Hooverville will reopen soon after their recent fire. [Ed note: a recent Bethany Jean Clement SLOG post indicates it will.]

What drink do you order at that bar?

I like to try new things and rarely order the same thing twice. I usually steer towards gin when it’s warm out and brown spirits when it’s cold.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen someone do in a bar?

Take a straight shot of Bacardi 151. That is just plain stupid.

Name three reasons you live in Seattle.

The food and beverage culture. The great people. The topography.

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