Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Food Writer Maureen Clancy Writes about Her Favorite David Nelson Bourbon Cocktail at Spur

Clancy was through town again and, in addition to dining at Tavolata, Art at the Four Seasons, and Vessel, spent an evening at Spur. In recent travels, Clancy’s been seeing an increase in interest in bourbon cocktails. In her article, she mentions some great ones including an old fashioned at NYC's East Village hot spot PDT, a fig-infused one at City Bar in Boston, and a new twist on the Manhattan at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill.

And after hearing of those recent bourbon adventures, what a treat it was to have her cite Spur’s Kentucky Tuxedo cocktail, created by David Nelson, as her very favorite bourbon drink of late. Wow.

She said,

“But nothing I’ve tasted – and I do try to get around the trendy bars of any city I find myself in -- can beat the "Kentucky Tuxedo" concocted by bartender David Nelson at Spur Gastropub in Seattle. This marriage of Bulleit Bourbon, Sherry, lavender syrup and homemade orange bitters, is smooth and elegant, with a come-hither aroma and layers of flavor.

(Bulleit Bourbon was developed by Tom Bulleit in 1987 using the “recipe” of his ancestors who journeyed from new Orleans to Kentucky in 1830. It’s made from “soft limestone water” that’s supposedly found only in the Bluegrass region of the state, corn, barley, malt and rye.)

Bartender Nelson who’s been working in restaurants since he started flipping burgers at the age of 15, is a real presence at Spur. Folks gather around the bar to watch him work and talk about his art (which includes hand-making his own bitters and syrups).

His cocktail menu includes such temptations as the Lover’s Lock (Aperol, grapefruit juice and Absinthe), Gentleman’s Lemonade (Gentleman Jack, lemon and honey) and the Cara Carina (Cara Cara (orange-scented) bourbon, Punt e Mes, Chartreuse and blood orange bitters).

Nelson’s passion is part and parcel of the artisanal mixology craze that prizes fresh squeezed seasonal fruit juices, homemade infusions, even housemade mixers like tonic water. And versatile bourbon, a constant presence behind the bar for a couple hundred years, is an ideal fit in drinks that balance classic tastes with newfangled presentations.

By the way, there’s great stuff to eat at Spur, too. The menu’s Pork Belly Sliders with heirloom apples, mustard and bourbon, are famed in Seattle. The slow-cooked butterfish with fennel and brown butter is very special, too. And I wrote an earlier post about the Sockeye Salmon Crostini that leaves every diner wide-eyed and at a loss for words."

For the full article visit Maureen Clancy’s Matter of Taste blog at

Thank you Maureen!

Photo by Kristin Zwiers for Spur.

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