Cocktail: The Carreras
This delightful springtime drink uses the Campo de Encanto brand of pisco—the much loved brandy made in Peru and Chile—as its base. It’s a little odd that pisco, an amiable and mixable grape-based spirit that’s also available from a number of other brands, isn’t used more often in cocktails, although its appeal is growing in the U.S. In this cocktail (its moniker is derived from a common Latin surname, including that of famous Chilean General José Miguel Carrera), pisco converses nicely with choice ingredients from France: Giffard pink grapefruit liqueur and Kina L’Aéro d’Or, an aperitif made from white wine infused with cinchona bark, which delivers a hint of quinine, along with orange peel and other spices. The end result: bittersweetness combined with lingering hints of tangy citrus, with an overall character of lightness, perfect for the season.
Dominated by a beautiful U-shaped bar that’s topped with hexagonal white marble tile and accented with tawny wood, Artusi (1535 14th Ave.; 206.678.2516; artusibar.com) is a cozy spot, ideal for enjoying an aperitif before heading next door to its sibling, Spinasse, for dinner. But it’s also fantastic for la dolce vita; a few hours spent here after work sampling the rotating cocktails and Italian-inspired food menu is a swell way to relax. But arrive early, because it fills up quickly.
The Bartender: Connor O'Brien
With an easygoing manner and a deep knowledge that often turns bar visitors into regulars, head bartender and Carreras cocktail creator Connor O’Brien, who opened Rumba a little farther south on Cap Hill, has spent time at some of Seattle’s favorite spots, including Vito’s and others. He’s been shaking things up at Artusi for the past one and a half years, delivering cocktails that both meet and expand the borders of the bar’s Italian leanings. He lives with another celebrated local bartender, Rob Roy’s Kathleen Manley. I can only imagine how delicious the drinks are at their house!
The U-shaped bar is the focus at Artusi
1 ½ ounces Campo de Encanto pisco
½ ounce Giffard pink grapefruit liqueur
½ ounce Kina L’Aéro d’Or
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place everything in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass.