Booze News

Tini Bigs Juices Up Its Cocktails

The watering hole known for unapologetically oversized martinis takes juice-based drinks in an un-citrusy new direction.

By Allecia Vermillion February 17, 2012

Savory juice meets booze at Tini Bigs. A carrot-lemon-apple juice is served with gin or tequila, the glass rimmed with dried carrot.

While Seattle bartenders’ affinity for freshly made juices can be traced back to (more or less) the 1990s, Tini Bigs is setting aside the usual fruity blends and launching a little cocktail program centered on more savory juices.

Each day, the lower Queen Anne cocktail lounge is crafting a new juice blend, offering two daily flavors. When I visited during the testing phase, bartender Shane Sahr had whipped up a carrot-apple-lemon juice, and a more herbal cucumber-lemon offering.

And what better way to consume such a nutrient-rich creation than with booze? Patrons can either name a base spirit, or take a bartender recommendation. That same carrot-lemon-apple combo tasted refreshing and balanced with gin, and darker and smokier with tequila.

The daily duo of juices will also become components of two different bartender’s choice creations. Sahr blended that carroty version with amaro, cynar, Aztec chocolate bitters, and Dolin Blanc vermouth. To garnish, a slice of slightly bruleed carrot. Too often juice-based drinks just taste like…juice. That was emphatically not the case with this particular concoction.

Tini Bigs owner Keith Robbins has been making juice at home for a decade, but says the idea of taking it in an alcohol-fueled direction stemmed from a conversation about creating cocktails from local ingredients, which is hard to do when you’re relying predominantly on citrus from Florida. The recent interest in juicing documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead doesn’t hurt either. The juice-based cocktails will use local produce when possible, though Robbins allows that such goals are tough this time of year. “Unless you want to spend $40 on a juice drink.” These drinks, for the record, are $11.

But do the health benefits of the juice get negated by the booze? Says Robbins, “It’s probably better than having a gin and tonic.”

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