Do you know your rye from your bourbon? What about bourye? Reporter Tan Vinh rounds up the latest news from the bar and booze scene.

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You don’t know your rye from your bourbon: Or so says a new Washington State University study, which concluded that the average consumer can’t distinguish between the sweet corn whiskey and spicy rye. “There are differences between rye and bourbon. But they aren’t nearly as different as we think they are. In a blind test, it’s really hard to tell …,” said Tom Collins, WSU assistant professor in viticulture and enology. (No joke. That’s his name.)

Murray on the move: The estimable Murray Stenson now works behind the bar at Vittles in Belltown Tuesday through Friday.

Harder to get than Pappy Van Winkle: The most sought-after whiskey just arrived in Seattle: the 2016 Yamazaki Sherry Cask. The suggested retail price is $350, but it sells on the secondary market for up to $3,000. Only a few bars got their hands on a bottle, including Rob Roy, The Whisky Bar, and El Gaucho in Seattle and Bellevue. The going rate at bars is $125 for a 1.5 ounce pour. The best deal I’ve seen is at Momiji on Capitol Hill, where a shot goes for $75.

Whiskey to grab before it sells out: Bourye from High West Whiskey in Utah. (Then again, if you can’t tell your bourbon from your rye, does it matter?) Many whiskey aficionados project this bourbon-rye blend to sell out by August. But it’s flying off the shelves at a much faster rate around Seattle. (It sells for $80 a bottle.) Beautifully structured, it’s aromatic, gingery on the nose and tastes of molasses and caramel with a spicy finish.

Stateside’s bar to open in June: The city’s hottest restaurant may be weeks away from opening its anticipated cocktail lounge, Foreign National. Scheduled to debut sometime in June next to the restaurant, the lounge aims for a “secret expat-watering-hole”-kinda vibe, a small, dark den with shimmery ’70s wallpaper from France and a 4-foot disco ball. Asian-inspired snacks will be served in the 28-seat bar.

The end of Nitelite as we know it?: The popular dive closed recently, and social media went bonkers over rumors that it will reopen as a restaurant. Management said Nitelite is temporarily closed for a “remodel,” but won’t confirm or comment on what it will become. Many patrons are keeping their fingers crossed that it will remain a dive. It wasn’t a pseudo-dive like many bars on the Hill; it had soul, a piece of grungy, old-school Seattle.

Reuben’s Brews takes gold at the World Beer Cup: The Ballard brewery won big last Friday at the prestigious international contest in Philadelphia for its “Triumvirate” IPA in the “Australian- or International-Style Pale Ale” category.

Summer must be near: RN74 downtown will open its outdoor seating with a happy hour on May 19. And the patio at Canon will open in two weeks with seven tables, 25 seats. And speaking of Canon …

Seattle drink featured at James Beard Foundation: As a 2016 Outstanding Bar Program semifinalist for a James Beard award, Canon was asked to create a cocktail inspired by a TV show. Owner Jamie Boudreau came up with the Transfusion Cocktail in honor of “The Walking Dead.” It’s served in an IV bag because “the only chance to beat zombie infection is to swap out your blood for booze.”

Transfusion Cocktail

Makes 2 cocktails


2 ounces bourbon

2 ounces cognac

1 ounce Ancho Reyes chile liqueur

1 ounce Crème Yvette liqueur

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

½ ounce raspberry liqueur

3 drops organic red food coloring

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Lemon wheels or raspberries. for garnish


In an IV bag (available at medical-supply stores) or pitcher, add ice with the bourbon, cognac, Ancho Reyes, Crème Yvette, juice, raspberry liqueur, food coloring and bitters. Shake the bag well and serve beside two chilled glasses, garnished with lemon wheels or raspberries.