Seattle eats mainstay Ethan Stowell Restaurants (ESR) has gone somewhere no restaurant has gone before: opening a kitchen in a seltzery.
“Think winery or brewery but for seltzer — it is the first of its kind,” says Sennen David, ESR food and beverage director.
Flinging open its doors in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood last week, San Juan Seltzery Taproom, Kitchen & Bar brings hard seltzer and island-inspired food together.
As the region’s first hard seltzer company and the nation’s only branded “seltzery,” San Juan Seltzer was born out of summering in the San Juan Islands and the desire for a craft hard seltzer made out of PNW ingredients. Founder Katy Enger teamed up with ESR to put that seltzer to seafood, focusing on that “island feeling,” David says. “Seafood is such an important and representative cuisine for the Northwest so it seemed a fitting pairing for this iconic NW brand.”
The intimate restaurant brings that same vibe with the light and airy island atmosphere, weathered wood tables and chairs and a 400-square-foot heated patio with Adirondack chairs and a fire pit. The all-day menu’s shellfish state of mind includes dishes like Dungeness crab cakes, oysters on the half shell, moules fries and San Juan clam chowder.
For David’s bar program, he dove right into the San Juan Seltzers and lends us this recipe for readers to give one of their offerings a go at home. A rum-forward special tribute to fans of the 1987 cult movie classic, “The Princess Bride,” the Dread Pirate Katy is also a homage to Enger.
“Katy and I were talking about our both being big rum fans and we joked about it being a fitting drink for a couple of pretend pirates,” David says of the seltzery’s founder. “Katy is so charming and agreeable that it reminded me of [“The Princess Bride”] line, ‘No one would be afraid of the Dread Pirate Wesley.’ I had wanted to name a drink in her honor and so thus the Dread Pirate Katy was born.”
While the Dread Pirate Katy features rum, orgreat and lime, the Huckleberry seltzer that tops the drink provides a little Northwest to the pirate profile.
“Seltzer is a great substitute when you want to add a little bubble and just a little sweetness or brightness to a cocktail,” David says. “A seltzer-based mojito was the very first place our minds went but after that, we had a lot of fun playing around with pairings that you might not expect.”
The Dread Pirate Katy
Makes 1 cocktail
1 1/2 ounces Plantation 3 Star Rum
1 ounce Lime
1/2 ounce Orgeat
2 mint sprigs, extra for garnish
4 ounces San Juan Seltzer Huckleberry
In a mixer, shake the rum, lime orgeat and mint with ice. Fine strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top with the seltzer. Garnish with mint.