Friday, November 02, 2012

Cocktail of the Week: The Bartender’s Choice

One of life’s great pleasures is having a drink made by a skilled bartender who knows you and your tastes, someone who has served as a spirit guide in every sense. On these occasions I am likely to trust myself to them completely, providing minimal direction – “I’m thinking rye” – or simply asking “What do you have that’s different?” and letting them work their magic. I am never disappointed, and often encounter something unexpected that opens up whole new levels of exploration and appreciation.

Such a bartender is Murray Stenson. I wrote about Murray’s recently diagnosed health issues last week. The call has been taken up by the world cocktail community, as this AP article illustrates. Tens of thousands of dollars have already been raised – and that was before the benefits. The one held the night before Halloween at Canon, where Murray works, was a massive success.

And the biggest is about to happen. I met Murray at the Zig Zag Café, the place where he made his deserved global reputation. Sunday night, the Zig Zag is giving back, donating the evening’s proceeds to MurrayAid. There are other Seattle benefits lined up in the coming days, plus events in New York, Washington and elsewhere listed at the MurrayAid site.

If you’ve enjoyed these posts, please consider making a contribution. The cost of a single cocktail would be a lovely gesture.

If you’re one of the many people I’ve taken for cocktails at the Zig Zag or Canon, I will be blunt: you owe me. So come down to the Zig Zag on Sunday and drink to Murray’s health. Rosemarie and I will be there – although to be honest, we probably would have been there anyway. If you can’t make it, try one of the other upcoming benefits. Odds are we’ll be at Bastille for the November 7 event. If you’re in one of the other cities where a MurrayAid benefit is happening, swing by. (New York people, I don’t know if the events scheduled for Monday, November 5 are still on. Even if they’re not, you should stop in. The bars could use your money, and you could probably use a drink.) If you can’t make a benefit, please make a donation. The best cocktails begin with the best bartenders. Murray is in that company.