Move over, Drunk History, Seattle’s Fairmont Olympic Hotel is now splashing some local history into its cocktail program. Launching this month, “The Olympic Through the Ages” menu features six key moments in the hotel and property’s history through the decades and brings them back to life through inspired cocktails.
The first drink on the menu, On Denny’s Knoll, tells the story of how Arthur Denny, one of the Emerald City’s founders, donated a small knoll on the southern end of his property for the city university, which is the same land that now plays host to the hotel.
The original site of the University of Washington, the Olympic pays homage to its location in this cocktail using fresh ingredients from the chef-grown rooftop garden.
Here, The Terrace Lounge manager Sam Thompson muddles cherry tomatoes with oregano and shakes the veggies with gin, aquavit, agave nectar and lime juice.
“The way this drink works is similar to a Bloody Mary or Red Snapper, but much fresher and lighter,” Thompson says of the classic cocktail comparison. “The gin brings in floral notes and enhances the citrus. The gin really is the backbone and gives the drink structure, where the aquavit complements the oregano and cherry tomato from the caraway, fennel and anise that creates that base of the spirit.”
Though in-house the cocktail uses Hendricks gin, Thompson recommends any local gin that is “super flower, with a good amount of citrus to combat the dominant flavors of the cherry tomatoes and oregano.” He suggested Heritage Distilling Co. Elk Road or Sun Liquor’s Hedge Trimmer. For the aquavit, he is a fan of the Old Ballard Liquor Co.
When he snags a plate off the Terrace’s menu alongside this cocktail, the bartender’s go-to are the honey salmon bites. “I think the freshness of the drink and herbaceous notes pair so well with salmon,” he adds. “It also helps clean the palate so the smoky salmon seems more and more intense each bite.”
On Denny’s Knoll
Makes 1 cocktail
4 cherry tomatoes
1 sprig oregano
1 ounce gin
1 ounce aquavit
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
Garnish: skewered cherry, fresh oregano sprig
In a pint mixing glass, muddle tomatoes and oregano. Add spirits, juice and agave. Fill shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish.
Photo courtesy the Fairmont Olympic Hotel