Monday, November 16th, 2015
Guide to Bellingham Cocktail Week
Teresa Schmidt

Bham Cocktail Week Logo
For four years now, Bellingham beer lovers have had a week (plus a few days) all to themselves, to indulge in everything even remotely beer-related, from brewery tours and food pairings to tap takeovers and fun runs. And today I’m beyond excited to announce the inaugural Bellingham Cocktail Week, when cocktail aficionados will do the same. Minus the running. Instead, they’ll be crawling.

The festivities start Monday, November 30 and run through Sunday, December 6, at bars around downtown Bellingham and in Fairhaven, too. I sat down with one of the organizers, Temple Bar owner Chelsea Farmer, to get all the details so you can plan accordingly.

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Chelsea has been tossing around the idea of Cocktail Week for a while, and this year she joined forces with Rebecca Ogden (of Redlight) to make it happen. Together with eight other venues, they’ve planned a week’s worth of educational events for industry folks, as well as bartending competitions, learning experiences, and just a lot of fun imbibing for the rest of us.

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Why Bellingham Cocktail Week? First, to celebrate Bellingham’s cocktail scene. After all, there’s a lot more going on here than just beer! Additionally, Chelsea loves the idea of collaborating with other bar owners to learn from each other and promote their craft. I can’t think of a better way to get people excited about cocktails!

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Bellingham Cocktail Week Events

There is something amazing happening every day of Bellingham Cocktail Week! Here are all the highlights to whet your appetite before you wet your whistle:

Monday, November 30

Launch Party/Mod Hour at Temple Bar, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Temple Bar is kicking off the week with 50s and 60s-classics: Martinis, Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, plus free toothpick hors d’oeuvres.

Temple Cocktail  Real McCoy Cocktail

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Holiday Cocktail Tasting at Redlight, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Your perfect holiday party cocktail is waiting for you at Redlight. Taste a variety and take the recipes home.

Northwest Flavors at Keenan’s at the Pier, 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Cocktails made from local spirits, paired with regionally sourced snacks and entrees.

Redlight cocktail

Tuesday, December 1

Chuckanut Distillery Night at Rock and Rye, 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Try some special cocktails made with Bellingham’s own Chuckanut Distillery liquors.

Daphne's Cocktails

Wednesday, December 2

Whiskey and Women at Temple Bar, 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Calling all women who whiskey! Learn more about what’s out there, whiskey-wise, with flights, snack pairings and cocktails.

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Thursday, December 3

Fernet Branca Night at The Real McCoy, 4:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Tastes and cocktails, some history and insider’s tips presented by the Brand Ambassador of this bitter liquor, which is known and loved around the world.

Scotch and Cigars at Uisce, 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. If scotch is more to your liking, head to Uisce and try one or more of their excellent selection. If you’re feeling extra spicy, pair one with a cigar from the Senate Smoke Shop.

Infusion Tasting at The Racket, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The Racket makes a wide array of infused liquors to drink alone or in a cocktail, and here’s your chance to taste and find a new favorite.

Sun Liquor Winter Punch Night at Redlight, 4:00 p.m. Taste three winter punches that will showcase Seattle’s Sun Liquor, using their silver rum, Gun Club gin and Unxld vodka. Expect a few surprises!

Temple Cocktail 2

Friday December 4

The Last Speakeasy at Daphne’s, 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Throwback to the days of prohibition, with cocktail specials, live music and dancers. You’ll need a password to get in, and I’m going to let you figure out how to get one.

Big Gin Cocktail Night at Rock and Rye, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Tastes and cocktails, featuring Seattle’s award winning Captive Spirits Big Gin.

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Saturday, December 5

Brunch Cocktails at The Black Cat, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Start the last day of BCW with a bang and try out The Black Cat’s new brunch menu. You’ll need to sample their innovative takes on brunch favorites—both food and cocktails. There’s more to morning drinking than Bloody Marys! Skip Rock Distillers from Snohomish will be on hand, too. Fill your belly in anticipation of the week’s pièce de résistance:

Repeal Day Cocktail Crawl, all bars, 4:00 p.m – 2:00 a.m. Celebrate the anniversary of the end of prohibition with specials all night long:

  • Temple Bar: Dirty French. Modern and classic French cocktials, food and music by Bar Tabac.
  • Redlight: Bathtub Gin Party. Infused gin drinks.
  • Daphne’s: Classic Cocktails
  • The Real McCoy: Tiki Night
  • Uisce: Bootleggers’ Ball
  • Rock and Rye: Prohibition Party with Horse Heaven Hills
  • Keenan’s at the Pier: Last of the Legal Libations. Pre-prohibition cocktails.

Daphne's cocktail2

Sunday, December 6

Industry/Finale Party at the Shakedown, at 8:00 p.m. We’re all invited to this one! Celebrate with all your new favorite bartenders and servers, and your forever beloveds, too. Music by PhDJ Spencer Willows will ensure a rollicking great time to close out Bellingham Cocktail Week in fine fashion.

Real McCoy Cocktail 2

Week-long Extras

Temple Bar will be serving pies (yes, pies!) with ingredients that go into classic cocktails. Like the Sazerac pie: local apples, tossed with rye whiskey and Peychauds bitters, with absinthe caramel and orange whipped cream. Oh. My. Word.

Daphne’s will be offering Amari flights each evening from 4:00 – 8:00, from producers based in the Italian Piedmont and French Alps regions. Amaro is Italian for “bitter,” and Amari is the plural and common name for this rich, bitter liqueur traditionally enjoyed all over Europe.

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Industry-only Events

William Grant Portfolio at Rock and Rye, Thursday December 3 at 1:00 p.m.

Tequila and Mezcal Tasting at Casa Que Pasa, Saturday, December 5 at 1:00 p.m.

casa que pasa

Participating Bars

Downtown Bellingham:

Temple Bar, 306 W. Champion St.

The Real McCoy, 114 Prospect St.

Uisce, 1319 Commercial St.

Casa Que Pasa, 1415 Railroad Ave.

Redlight, 1017 North State St.

Rock and Rye, 1145 N. State St.

The Racket, 1220 N. State St.

Fairhaven:

Keenan’s at the Pier, 804 10th St.

Daphne’s, 1200 10th St.

The Black Cat, 1200 Harris Ave., 3rd Floor

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You do not want to miss this celebration of Bellingham’s cocktail culture. Just as the breweries have done, our locally owned and loved cocktail bars are putting Bellingham on the map as a place to explore, for more than outdoor activities. Inside, at the bar, you can also expand your horizons by learning what’s new and exciting in the world of craft cocktails. From new takes on vintage favorites to the use of fresh produce, herbs and plants to give a special concoction a real sense of place, Bellingham’s cocktail crafters have elevated our palates and exceeded our expectations.

 

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About the Author:

Teresa Schmidt, a copywriter who owns and operates Sprout Creative, comes from a long line of brewers, bootleggers and saloonkeepers. She moved to Bellingham 13 years ago to write, hike, ski and paddle—but it was the beer that really sold her. She also loves wine. And cocktails. And good food. To work it all off, she runs around in the woods at every opportunity.