From the Bar to the Altar

New York Times Features Wedding of Audrey Saunders and Seattle’s Own Robert Hess

From "occasional lovers" to matrimony: The NYT chronicles the romance between two craft-cocktail luminaries.

July 31, 2011

Pegu Club owner and recent bride Audrey Saunders now splits her time between Seattle and New York City.

Photo: Tales of the Cocktail

This July, Robert Hess—Microsoftee, founder of the Drinkboy website, and an important figure in the international craft-cocktail scene—married Audrey Saunders, owner of the Pegu Club in NYC and first lady of gin cocktails.

And in an article published July 29, the New York Times’s Robert Simonson tells the story of how their romance unfolded despite the inconvenience of living on opposite coasts.

Of the couple’s first meeting, he writes:
He parked himself right in front of her, and properly introduced himself. ‘Here was this lovely, soft-spoken guy with very gentle eyes,’ recalled Ms. Saunders.

He also documents the slow-moving nature of their bicoastal romance:
Over the years, they’d see each other at liquor industry events. Occasionally, they became lovers.

Simonson reports that the official vows ceremony took place at a private property on Vashon Island. Some of [the guests], including much of the staff of Seattle’s Rob Roy lounge, jumped behind the bar to execute a reproduction of the Pegu Club’s cocktail menu—modern classics like the Gin-Gin Mule and Old Cuban—as well as a couple of inventions by Mr. Hess.

The couple followed up with an unannounced celebration at Tales of the Cocktail, the annual cocktail convention in New Orleans, on July 23. Writes Simonson: The bride, in a loose white, flowered dress, and the bridegroom, in a powder-blue tuxedo and white platform shoes, were led into the room by a brass band playing ‘What a Wonderful World.’ The couple then danced their way through the roughly 1,000 revelers to a platform directly behind a long, glowing bar staffed by star mixologists from New York, Boston, San Francisco and elsewhere.

Read the whole story here.

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