My recent acceptance into Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) found me with a homework assignment: attend one of ten or so bars around Seattle known for well-crafted cocktails and report back. Sambar and I finally had an excuse to meet. Here is the result, illustrated by my photos.
The entrance reminds you that Sambar is closed on Sunday and Monday.
The weather was close to warm, so I took a seat in the garden, facing out to the street. Lined with roses and a variety of potted plants, you could be just about anywhere when you're ensconced there.
My favorite cocktails include rum, so I started with La Martinique, which had rhum agricole vieux (old sugar-cane based rum from Martinique), lime juice, and Clement Creole Shrubb (a rhum agricole-based orange liqueur). Served in a martini glass, it came with a large piece of orange peel, which you don't see everywhere. The drink was well-made, having that general citrus-y bite you get when you combine rum, citrus, and citrus-based liqueur. Could the glass have been a little bit more full? Hard to say, but I'd have ordered another one either way.
Oh, and I ordered the very French cheese board to accompany my cocktails which came with plenty of delicious bread.
I branched out for my second cocktail and tried the Freya, made of aquavit, kirsh, sour cherry, lemon, and maraschino. Aquavit on its own is not my thing (much to my aquavit-loving Father's chagrin) but I thought the other ingredients would balance it out nicely. They did! And it was nice to look at too - such a beautiful ruby color in the highball glass! The taste was fruity but not too fruity and sweet but not too sweet. A perfect refreshment for a late spring day.
I can do no comparing to past cocktails at Sambar, but these were as well-crafted as any others I've consumed around Seattle, including the Zig Zag. I'll visit Sambar again this summer and while the garden was lovely, I really enjoy watching my drinks being made, so next time I'll sit at the bar. But if Seattle ever sees a hot summer day this year, look for me back in the garden, cocktail in hand.
Sambar is located at 425 N.W. Market Street | Seattle, WA 98107
More photos of Sambar on my flickr page.