Raising the Bar

Sip-worthy South Sound cocktails for every mood

Whether you want your cocktail shaken, stirred or on the rocks, or hot and smothered in whipped cream or perhaps made with housemade cereal milk, there is a drink in the South Sound for you. It was tough research — but here are some sip-worthy candidates. Cheers!


Harkonnen. Photos by Parker Miles Blohm and Rachel Coward


Mezcal, rum, and smoked salted turbinado, served over large ice
Where to get it: Hilltop Kitchen, Tacoma
Drink this if: You’re a huge fan of Frank Herbert (Tacoma native) and the Dune series that he created.

Earl Grey Sour

Amaretto, brown butter bourbon, lemon, Earl Grey, egg white
Where to get it: Marrow Kitchen and Bar, Tacoma
Drink this if: Your British accent needs work. It will get better with every cocktail!

Cucumber-Jalapeno Margarita

Sauza Gold, triple sec, lime, lemon, agave and chipotle salt rim
Where to get it: The Matador, Tacoma
Drink this if: The fiesta in your mouth needs to be kicked up a notch.


Honey whiskey, English cucumber and dry vanilla soda
Where to get it: Maxwell’s Speakeasy and Lounge, Tacoma
Drink this if: You need a moment’s peace from F. Scott and Zelda’s bickering.
Bartender Ryan O’Donnell also recommends the Six Shooter if you like sweeter drinks. “It’s coffee tequila, rye whiskey and chocolate bitters. It has a sweet, dessert flavor.”

The Blue Mermaid

The Blue Mermaid

The Blue Mermaid

Hpnotiq, coconut vodka, Alize, curacao, limoncello, lime juice and pineapple juice
Where to get it: Indochine, Tacoma
Get this if: You need a tropical escape.
Indochine’s Russel Brunton serves The Blue Mermaid, garnished with a pretty purple flower. He also recommends the coconut martini. “It’s fresh, creamy and refreshing.”

Hot-Buttered Crown

Their twist on hot-buttered rum
Where to get it: Crown Bar, Tacoma
Drink this if: You lost a mitten in a slush puddle and need to keep warm.
Bartender Amy Hassett also recommends the West Slope Honey Bee, made with rum, honey, simple syrup and grapefruit.

Argentine Zombie Slayer

Gin, Chambord, blackberry puree, lemon juice, simple syrup and soda
Where to get it: Asado, Tacoma
Drink this if: A tough work week has left you walking dead. (It’ll have you tango-ing in no time!)
Bartender James Schwartze also recommends trying Asado’s refreshing orange margarita.

Simply The Best Bloody Mary

Tito’s handmade vodka, top-secret ingredients, garnished with garlic-stuffed olives, pepper jack cheese, Italian salami, tomato, pickled green beans and celery
Where to get it: Crockett’s Public House, Puyallup
Drink this if: Your New Year’s resolution is to be healthier. Hello tomato juice!

FullSizeRender[2]HG Fresca

Tanqueray gin, lime, orange, triple sec float, splash of pink grapefruit juice and soda served on the rocks
Where to get it: HG Bistro, Puyallup
Drink this if: You need a light and slightly sweet drink to lift you into the clouds.

Double “0” 25

Hendricks gin, Grey Goose, and French apertif
Where to get it: Brix 25*, Gig Harbor
Drink this if: You need some help waiting to gaze into Daniel Craig’s eyes in Spectre.

Old Smoky

House-smoked whiskey, brown sugar, housemade cedar bitters and cherry foam
Where to get it: Smoke+Cedar, Tacoma
Drink this if: A cozy fire, tweed blazer and cigar are your must-have accessories.

Hot Apple Cider

Apple pie moonshine, cinnamon whiskey, hot cider topped with whipped cream
Where to get it: Topside Bar and Grill, Steilacoom
Drink this if: You need a warm all-American hug on a rainy day.
Bartender Sarah Peoples loves to sip the rosemary lemon drop. “It’s not too sweet and the rosemary is really subtle. There’s a good balance between citrus and herb.”

Ritz Cocktail

Cognac, triple sec, lemon, maraschino liqueur, topped with sparkling wine and served in a champagne flute
Where to get it: Dillinger’s Cocktails and Kitchen, Olympia
Drink this if: You just saw the room service bill after a night at the Ritz-Carlton.
Bar manager Sherilyn Lightner makes the Ritz Cocktail — it’s pretty and packs a powerful punch.


Northwest Manhattan

Northwest Manhattan

Four Roses bourbon, Scrappy’s cardamon bitters and B.G. Reyonolds hibiscus grenadine
Where to get it: Dockside Bistro, Olympia
Drink this if: You need a taste of the Big Apple in the home of the best apples.
Bartender Kailey Caldwell (left) and Haley Williams serve up the Northwest Manhattan. Caldwell also recommends the basil martini. “It’s really refreshing, especially in winter. It makes me feel like its summer.”

The Ways and the Means

Bourbon, housemade cereal milk, root liquer, demara gomme syrup, egg white and cinnamon
Where to get it: 1022 South, Tacoma
Drink this if: You’re looking for a (delicious) liquid breakfast.
General Manager Rose Peterson serves up The Ways and the Means, one of the most creative cocktails on this list. She even uses demara gomme syrup rather than simple syrup. Gomme (French for gum) syrup was popular in the 19th century. It gives cocktails a silky mouth feel and takes this drink up another notch.

The original Trader Vic’s Mai Tai

Aged rum, lemon and lime juices, almond syrup and topped with dark rum
Where to get it: The Forum, Tacoma
Drink this if: Your true life calling was to sail off with Captain Jack Sparrow.

Adriatic Ambrosia

Raspberry vodka, fresh lemonade, cranberry juice shaken and chilled
Where to get it: Adriatic Grill Italian Cuisine and Wine Bar, Tacoma
Drink this if: You need your daily intake of fruit to wash down the stellar food here.

Rock Island Bucket

Rock Island Bucket

Rock Island Bucket

Skyy vodka, New Amsterdam gin, Cruzan rum, triple sec with a float of Bacardi 151
Where to get it: The Rock, various locations
Drink this if: Someone else has the car keys!
The Tacoma Rock’s John Brooks serves up the bucket — literally served in a bucket. He also recommends brave ones try their Don’t Fear the Reaper.

Pina Colada

Fresh cored pineapple chunks, coconut cream and lime blended with light rum
Where to get it: Tacoma Cabana, Tacoma
Drink this if: You like getting caught in the rain …

Lavender Blonde

Fresh oranges, lavender bitters, sugar, egg whites, vanilla, Pinnacle whipped vodka topped with Harmon blonde
Where to get it: Harmon Taproom, Tacoma
Drink this if: You want the best of both worlds.

A Classic Negroni

Aviation gin, campari and sweet vermouth
Where to get it: Bite, Hotel Murano, Tacoma
Drink this if: You want to sip something timeless while enjoying art.

Bartender’s Choice

Tell your bartender a little bit about yourself and what you like to drink, and you’ll get a personalized cocktail.
Where to get it: Hilltop Kitchen or Marrow, both in Tacoma
Drink this if: You don’t like making choices.
You’ll find Chris Keil tending bar at both Hilltop Kitchen and Marrow. He doesn’t like his photo taken, but he will give you drink advice all day long. He loves to sip the Harkonnen at Hilltop. “It’s one of my favorite drinks ever. It’s sweet, smoky and salty so it ends up tasting like a sweet salted caramel.”

3rd photo courtesy HG Bistro

is a South Sound contributor.
Find Out First
Learn about South Sound food, arts
and culture, home design, and more.
no thanks