Hotel 1000, at First & Madison in Seattle, is a 120-room urban haven; its 120-seat restaurant is called Best of Kitchen Artistry, BoKA for short. The modest chef, top left, is Peter Birk, and his menu is as mouthwatering as ever. Enter now bar manager Cory Duffy, who is also the owner of Rain City Spirits on East Marginal Way, concocting cocktails to match the food. A gin & tonic for example, with tuna sashimi. No ordinary gin, either: locally distilled Big Gin, barrel-aged, cask strength, and infused with grapefruit and coriander. Sangria to accompany oyster-mushroom arancini; a black tea martini to accompany the duck; a dark rum punch for the braised lamb; a variation on the venerable Vieux Carré for a filet mignon.
Duffy argues in favor of lower alcohol cocktails that won't overwhelm the palate to drink with meals. That's the longtime argument in favor of wine, of course. But spirits have an advantage: while they can prop up any number of wacko combinations thrown together by amateur mixologists, spirits provide a sturdy palette for artists who truly understand flavors. At BoKA, they get it right.