Andrew Bohrer, Head Bartender, Mistral Kitchen
2020 Westlake Ave, 623-1922
Along with being head bartender at the sleek new Mistral Kitchen, you're secretary of the Washington State Bartenders Guild. What's it like being the designated note- taker in a room full of bartenders?
As secretary, it's my job to tell people to shut up. If you get a bunch of bartenders together, someone will invariably start talking about a bottle they just bought or begin telling a story about last night. People will say things like, "Oh yeah? Three people vomited in my bathroom!" Then it's my job to make sure we get back to the agenda.
What led you to leave Chantanee in Bellevue?
I came to Mistral so I could work directly with chefs. The culinary potential of bartending hasn't been fully realized, and I wanted to work in a place where there were no "weird" or "bad" ideas. When I tell chefs something stupid I want to do, they never hesitate to do it. A prime example is "Chainsaw Thursday," when we use a chainsaw to carve ice for our drinks.
So you came here for greater collaboration and experimentation, and yet you've kept drink recipes to a mere three or four ingredients.
It's all about creating a simple flavor balance. A bartender once told me that if you have four ingredients in a drink, that's one too many. You also don't need all those sweet and cloying spirits bartenders tend to use... Enough of this Bacardi coconut crap. What we need are more independently distilled spirits served unpretentiously and with great attention to the desires of customers. I'm not opposed to serving tiki drinks, either, because tiki drinks are fucking fun. I will always have a tiki drink on my menu.
What are your other favorite bars?
I'm a big fan of the Rob Roy. It's a really weird mix of frat boys, cocktail nerds, and homeless people. I went there with a book a little while ago, sat in the back, and had an awesome time.