Our livers hurt. The Stranger's First Annual Local Liquor Taste Tests were conducted by staff drunkards, joined by thirsty/curious members of the public, at the fine cocktail lounge Liberty on Capitol Hill over three nights last week. Owner and Washington State Bartenders Guild president Andrew Friedman was our proctor and educator—his knowledge of liquor is so vast as to be somewhat unsettling—and for fairness' sake, the local liquors tasted were chosen out of a hat. They were identified only by number during the tasting. We tasted four local vodkas, along with (secretly) Ketel One; four local gins, along with (ditto) Plymouth; and five local wild cards—local liqueurs, absinthe, etc.

If you'd like to take the taste tests yourself, Liberty is administering them all this week ($5 per person tasting fee for each test). We do not advise that you try to do them three days in a row (especially during a snowstorm), but it's a free country. recommended