Now that the carnage of midterm elections is over, let's turn our attention to the anniversary of some thwarted carnage that happened more than four centuries ago in England. (Our obsession with historically driven intoxication is not limited to our nation's borders.)
Every November 5, the United Kingdom remembers the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, wherein a Catholic dissident named Guy Fawkes and 12 co-conspirators were foiled in their attempt to blow up the House of Lords and off King James. Britons celebrate this aversion of fire and mayhem by...creating fire and mayhem, via bonfires, fireworks, and burning the pope, or politicians, in effigy. Sure, these celebrations get a little off topic, especially with those creepy masks, but it's not nearly as strange as translating the birth of Jesus into sitting on an old man's lap at the mall.
Really, you could celebrate Guy Fawkes Day around any booze-serving firseside or anarchic protest. But here are a few places around town that excel in their command of both British history and booze.
Yes, the gunpowder punch at Belltown's original haven of craft cocktails is made with actual gunpowder. Not enough to blow up an entire branch of government, but enough to add a distinct, slightly metallic funk to an otherwise harmless conspiracy of rhum agricole, gin, lemon and orange, and various spices. Hoist a glass and toast the last person to enter Parliament with honest intentions. Zing!
Black Raven Brewing
Redmond's most badass brewery often turns to mythology to inspire its beers, but every November 5 it releases a Gunpowder Plot Nitro Porter inspired by Fawkes and his crew. Treacle pairing optional. It's made with a custom roast from Duvall's Anchorhead Coffee Roasters, as well as bourbon and cocoa nibs. Check out Washington Beer Blog's post for a technical description that's heavy on treason metaphors. It's only available at Black Raven's taproom. (On nitro. Because...British.) No word on whether the staff is burning any Budweiser products in effigy in the parking lot out front.
A history degree (or a black belt in Star Trek references) is helpful to decode some of the drink names at this excellent little cocktail bar on the edge of downtown shopping. But why order a Picard Maneuver or a Don't Give Up the Ship when the cocktail list includes a drink named for Britain's favorite thwarted anarchist? The Guy Fawkes is made with rum, allspice, lemon, and...a gunpowder green tea tincture. Pour a little out for the man himself, who was ultimately put to death.