The History: While a fair amount of modern cocktail culture traces its roots to the golden age of cocktails (from the late 1800s to early 1900s), bartenders today have a greater variety of ingredients to work with, from internationally distributed spirits to herbs and fruits now available year around. This range of products provides daily inspiration for lead bartender Jessie Yoskin at Civility & Unrest (Bellevue, 10455 Bellevue Way NE; 425.454.7076). The award-winning bartender won the first round of Bombay Sapphire’s 2018 Most Imaginative Bartender contest held here last June and was a finalist in Amaro Montenegro’s “Be the Vero Bartender” competition in 2018, and she is happy to improvise when making cocktails. When a recent guest asked Yoskin to create a cocktail that would remind her of walking through a French garden, she dove into the bar’s wide range of herbs, spices and citrus to design A Day in Giverny.
The Inspiration: When attempting to replicate a French garden in cocktail form, Yoskin instantly thought of herbes de Provence, the fragrant dried herb mixture used for cooking. From it, she took rosemary, lavender (in the form of Salish Sea’s lovely organic lavender liqueur, made in Lacey) and mint. For a base, she chose Uncle Val’s botanical gin, aromatic with lavender and sage (seeding the drink’s herb garden), along with juniper, lemon and cucumber. Yoskin added fresh lemon juice for “a bright and refreshing spin,” and a house-made honey syrup for a whisper of smooth sweetness.
The Final Taste: The name “A Day in Giverny” was inspired by Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s famous French garden, and the drink mirrors the subtle artistry and floral inspiration for which that master’s work is known. Light on the tongue, it releases a shower of delicate herb and floral tones, and calls up memories of spring from the first sip. It’s a wonderful counterpoint, in a way, to Civility & Unrest’s cool, dimly lit lounge vibe, where the bar’s front half (great for happy hour) features traditional tall bar chairs and eclectic art, and the back half (open later in the evening) is furnished with sexy, low-slung retro couches and has a more cocktail-lab environment. Civility & Unrest is also slightly hidden, inside the W Bellevue hotel, a bit like a secret garden.
A Day in Giverny
While Yoskin likes Uncle Val’s botanical gin, readily available in most big-box liquor stores (and easily spied, thanks to its green bottle), you could try another botanical gin here. Salish Sea’s lavender liqueur is in many local stores, too, but if time allows, visit the distillery (Lacey, 2641 Willamette Drive NE, Suite D; 360.890.4927; salishseaorganicliqueurs.com)—then you can sample a number of its delicious liqueurs.
4–5 mint leaves
2 rosemary sprigs
11/2 ounces Uncle Val’s botanical gin
1/2 ounce Salish Sea lavender liqueur
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce honey syrup (see recipe below)
1. Strip the rosemary leaves from one sprig and the mint leaves from their stems. Add to a cocktail shaker. Muddle gently.
2. Fill the shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the remaining rosemary sprig. Shake well.
3. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into a Nick and Nora glass or one that’s comparable. Garnish with the remaining rosemary sprig (Yoskin attaches it to the glass with a small wooden clothespin for a cute finish).
Civility & Unrest Honey Syrup
Want to take a trip into a French garden without the taking a transcontinental flight? Try making Civility & Unrest bartender Jessie Yoskin’s enchanting A Day in Giverny cocktail. To do so, you’ll need to this easy-to-make honey syrup.
1/3 cup hot water
2/3 cup wildflower honey
1.Add the hot water and honey to a mixing bowl. Whisk together until the syrup is smooth.
2. Pour into a bottle with a good lid, and store in the fridge. Beyond just A Day in Giverny, you can try this instead of regular simple syrup in other cocktails, or with lemon juice and water to make yummy lemonade.