You can’t beat $2 for a glass of rosé, available at happy hour at this Sicilian-inspired bar and outside along its sidewalk cafe. A purchase of happy-hour food is required. That’s not a hard sell: James Beard award-winning chef Maria Hines’ happy hour includes chilled melon soup with prosciutto ($6) and spaghetti cacio e pepe ($10), the mac-and-cheese for grown-ups.
Happy hour daily 5-6:30 p.m.; 709 N. 35th St., Seattle; 206-547-9747, mariahinesrestaurants.com
And since we’re on an Italian theme … Summer, especially this scorcher, calls for downing spritz al bitter during apertivo at this Italian bar. Apertifs and amaro drinks cost $6. For something different, try the refreshing Cynar Collins. For something stronger, there’s always a stiff martini or old-fashioned (also $6). Meatballs, salumi and other bites (all $8 and cheaper) are available to fortify you between amari.
Happy hour weekdays 5-7 p.m. and again on Friday night from 10 p.m. to closing. 1535 14th Ave., Seattle; 206-251-7673, artusibar.com
Copperworks Distilling Co.
The whiskey company that was anointed best craft distillery in America in 2018 by the American Distilling Institute has a new release, its wildest experiment yet, a “plum cask gin.”
The Copperworks team aged gin with 200 pounds of plums from Orcas Island in an American oak barrel for a year. The result is a floral and fruity gin with notes of apple skin, lilies and roses, said co-owner Jason Parker.
The guys behind Copperworks have been on a roll. Known more for their single malts, their Copperworks’ Cask Finished Gin was named the “best barrel-aged gin” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last year. Their latest limited release, the plum cask gin, is expected to sell out by the end of August. You can only sample and buy it at the Copperworks tasting room near the downtown waterfront. (Call ahead to make sure it’s not sold out already.)
1250 Alaskan Way, Seattle; 206-504-7604, copperworksdistilling.com
This bar in Bellevue might as well be a speak-easy. Few seem to know it runs one of the best cocktail programs on the Eastside. Or that it boasts one of the best whiskey selections. At $12 and less, the drink deals are a steal; from the staples of vodka and whiskey to brandy and cognac cocktails. Or for $20, you get a flight of three Manhattan variations. Check out its glowing 400 amber bottles in the back bar, including some rare finds, such as a 24-year-old bourbon from Parker Heritage Collection. Every bar carries lots of bourbon, but Monsoon East also has more than a 100 Scotches and 40 ryes. At a time when many bars are disgracefully serving only 1.5-ounce pours without telling patrons, Monsoon East offers the standard 2-ounce pour. You can also request a 1-ounce pour for half the price.
10245 Main St., Bellevue; 425-635-1112, monsoonrestaurants.com/bellevue