If you’ve ever wanted to check out Bellingham’s numerous cocktail bars but weren’t sure where to start, Bellingham Cocktail Week (BCW) is the event for you. Running February 1 – 9, 2020, the citywide BCW celebrates all things cocktail-related around Bellingham. With “Into the Cosmos” as this year’s theme, Bellingham Cocktail Week 2020 is a rocket into the diverse universe of Bellingham’s cocktail scene. All aboard!
More than just cocktails, BCW celebrates the entire Bellingham cocktail community. Bartenders are given creative control to concoct themed drinks for the event. Cocktail drinkers can choose from daily events to attend, ranging from simple tastings to a full-blown expo and gala. And as for the cosmic cocktails themselves? They look out of this world!
As part of the Cosmic Bartender Challenge, bartenders from around town have created “celestial body” inspired drinks. These special creations can be found at participating bars throughout the month of January and during Bellingham Cocktail Week dates (February 1 – 9, 2020).
For example, Emma at Temple Bar concocted Black Hole Sun, made with Saffron infused New Amsterdam gin, Yzaguirre Blanco Vermouth, St. George Bruto Americano, a Black Ice sphere and edible “star dust” garnish. The result is a gorgeous, glittery cosmic swirl in a glass.
One more example: Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Jellyfish by bartender Nichole at Keenan’s at the Pier. Utilizing Empress Gin, fresh grapefruit, house sage & cinnamon syrup, Scrappy’s Grapefruit Bitters, egg white and “Space Dust” edible glitter garnish, this indigo indulgence looks almost too spectacular to sip.
I could spend all afternoon ogling these gorgeous cocktails on BCW’s Instagram (it’s possible that I already have). But enough looking. It’s time to hear about the event from the organizer herself — and then get out there and taste some cocktails!
Bellingham Cocktail Week Origins
Bellingham Cocktail Week kicked off in 2015. With the growing popularity of Bellingham’s cocktail scene and the success of Bellingham Beer Week, an event shining the spotlight on cocktails was bound to pop up sooner or later. BCW is now an annual event that gets better every year.
Project Manager Sara Holodnick took the wheel in 2018. As co-founder of Good Time Girls — a local business that hosts “Sin and Gin” tours of downtown Bellingham and Historic Fairhaven — Sara is no stranger to the Bellingham cocktail scene. She partnered with Happy Chap Creative to give BCW a facelift, and the results are as fresh and fun as a French 75.
“Our city is known for its healthy beer scene. But at Bellingham Cocktail Week, we want to showcase Bellingham’s vibrant cocktail scene and highlight other delicious ways to imbibe responsibly.”Sara Holodnick
Bellingham Cocktail Week 2020
We checked in with Sara to find out what’s new for BCW in 2020.
What’s new for Bellingham Cocktail Week this year?
The two-day craft distillery Tasting Expo will be hosted in the historic Hotel Leo in the heart of downtown. Attendees will be able to try tastes of a variety of spirits and purchase bottles to take home. Bottles will be sold to attendees tax-free, and all proceeds will benefit the Downtown Bellingham Partnership. Confirmed exhibitors so far include Kuma Liqueur, Bellewood Acres, Heritage Distilling and many more regional distillers.
The Cosmic Gala will be in the Leopold Ballroom on Saturday, February 8 from 7:30 – 11:00 p.m. There will be music, dancing, and merriment. Dust off your sparkliest outfit, and head to the ballroom to sample the Atomic Highball, a new take on a signature cocktail from Hotel Leo’s post-Prohibition heyday. Admittance includes one drink ticket & appetizers.
Tell us about the “Into the Cosmos” theme
We thought that adding a theme to Bellingham Cocktail Week would help make the events and specials happening around town feel more cohesive. It only felt right to go Into the Cosmos in 2020, in honor of a new decade of interstellar opportunities.
Which event(s) are you most looking forward to this year?
Whew, there are SO many events this year it’s hard to choose. I’m personally excited about our Cosmic Bartender Challenge. Throughout the month of January, the general public can taste contenders’ cosmic-themed drinks at their establishments and vote for their favorite using our Voyager’s Passport.
Community votes will be combined with judges’ scores to determine three finalists who will compete at the LIVE bartender competition at the Bellingham Cocktail Week finale at Rumors Cabaret, Sunday, February 9 (time TBA).
What else should we know about Bellingham Cocktail Week 2020?
With more than 20 participating bars and restaurants, there are events and specials suitable for any taste. From events celebrating non-alcoholic “mocktails” to spirit-specific flights and cosmic cocktail specials galore, this year’s Bellingham Cocktail Week will show off the full range of talent and creativity from all of our local bartenders.
Visit the Bellingham Cocktail Week website for the full schedule of events. You can also follow BCW happenings on Facebook and Instagram. Finally, you can pick up free, official BCW guidebooks at participating bars around town. See you in the Cosmos!