Nothing beats a cold, refreshing soda on a hot day—we've had quite a few this summer, so this theory has been tested, repeatedly. While Seattle is home to a few larger soda companies (like Jones and Dry Soda,) we also have an incredible movement of restaurants serving smaller-scale but equally (if not more) delicious sodas that are innovating their way into our hearts.
Of course, not everyone is in it for the non-alcoholics: Boozy bottled cocktails have been making the 21+ crowd go bananas (and saving bartenders a ton of time mixing drinks.) The grey is coming friends, live in Summer a little longer by checking out these spots serving deliciously nostalgic soda and bottled cocktails.
Seattle Seltzer Co.
Local bartending legend Anna Wallace's celery soda is delicious, and surprisingly food-friendly. What began as a fun project for her sweetheart's butcher shop now has a cult following of loyal soda lovers, craving that East Coast flavor often found in New York's delicatessens (dating back to the 1860's Cel-Ray Tonic.)
While this soda has yet to be bottled and available to the masses, you can find it on tap at Rain Shadow Meats in Melrose Market and Pioneer Square, Delancey/Essex in Ballard, and The Whale Wins in Fremont. What's up next for Seattle Seltzer Co.? Wallace's version of a classic "orange pop".
Where: Rain Shadow Meats, Delancey/Essex, The Whale Wins
Alcoholic: Anna's celery soda is as delicious in a cocktail as it is straight out of the tap.
Ba Bar's bottled cocktails are best over a glass of ice, however staff may set one in front of you with a straw, so ask for that ice ahead of time. They're dainty, floral, and if not consumed with ice, pretty syrupy sweet. Take it to the next level with a plate of Ba Bar's macarons and you'll be in sweet lady heaven.
Where: Ba Bar
Alcoholic: Definitely, but in a tea party with the girls (or boys) kind of way.
The first offering by the recently founded Scapegoat Trading Co., Marley's Tonic (named for founder Marley Tomic Beard) is a delightful treat for gin lovers. This small batch tonic made in West Seattle is a delicate blend of ginger, citrus, botanicals, and raw sugar cane, fortified with quinine from the cinchona tree. While not yet bottled, you can find Marley's Tonic in a few restaurants around Seattle with more to come.
Where: Walrus and the Carpenter and a few other local restaurants.
Alcoholic: Try it in your next gin and tonic.
[Rachel's Ginger Beer]
Canon's carbonated bottled cocktails are proudly "powered by the Perlini bottling system" and made by real humans. How do you know? It says so on the label, which is signed by the maker—an appreciated personal touch. Canon offers a few cocktails at once, each substantially different from the other, but all carbonated. With so many delicious options, the question is not which bottled cocktail, but can you try all three in one evening without feeling terrible the next day? I think you'll find the answer is yes, yes it was, and please pass me the RGB because I'm feeling awful right now.
Where: Canon Whiskey + Bitters Emporium
Alcoholic: Why yes.
Rachel's Ginger Beer
Rachel's Ginger Beer is a Seattle soda staple. It's pretty hard to find a bar these days where you don't get offered RGB in your whiskey ginger. Whether it's classic or one of their special flavors (Blood Orange for the win) Rachel's Ginger Beer is not to be missed. Pro tip: The "Xtra-Ginger" is great for cooking: It spices up salad dressings, makes an incredible marinade, and has been known to cure hangovers.
Where: Their flagship in Pike Place Market, or over 150 bars, restaurants, and markets around Seattle.
Alcoholic: With so many businesses using RGB you're bound to find a variety of cocktail options, but the Moscow Mule at their flagship Pike Place Market store is a solid pick. (They're served in official RGB Moscow Mule Mugs.)
Bottled cocktails are the best thing that's happened to your Friday night since the emergence of the 45 minute process that is waiting for a craft cocktail on Friday night. Speaking of Rachel's Ginger Beer, you'll find it spicing up the El Diablo at King's Hardware (or maybe it's that house infused habanero tequila.) Can't take the heat? Get a Zombie instead. With four rums, four juices, brown sugar, bitters, and simple syrup, this baby is sure to hit right with anyone who's too broke for a tropical vacation but looking for a little sun. Full disclosure: Writer Tallulah Anderson's mother is Linda Derschang, who owns King's.
Where: King's Hardware in Ballard
Alcoholic: They've done the work for you. Just be careful, because they're not kidding when they say the Zombie has four kinds of rum.
Soda Jerk is all about unique flavors, environmentally friendly practices, and delicious soda with as little added sugar as possible. Instead of simply recreating classics, Soda Jerk combines flavors that defy what we think soda can and should be. Current offerings include Blackberry Cardamom, Watermelon Basil, and Lemon Lavender.
Where: Farmers markets: Ballard on Sundays, Wallingford on Wednesdays, Queen Anne on Thursdays. Their Tamarind Ginger Soda is on tap at Chuck's Hop Shop in the Central District, with more bars and restaurants to come.
Alcoholic: Yes, please. These sodas make great mixers, and with lower sugar content they won't leave you with that "I drank four blended drinks and now I want to die" hangover.
The first legal cannabis soda is about to hit the recreational market, with flavors like Rainier Cherry and Lemon Ginger. Mirth's special sodas are guaranteed to be a serious problem for productivity. But fear not boss, their cannabis cold brew coffee is right on the horizon, thank goodness, and then we can get back to business.
Where: Coming soon to recreational marijuana stores statewide.
Alcoholic: Best not to mix this one, that THC will do the trick.
Mystery Soda Machine
Okay sure, this is not artisan soda made with hand-squeezed juice and the blood, sweat and tears of hipsters, but everyone loves a good mystery, even people in skinny jeans. Diet coke? Rarely. For a few quarters you'll discover flavors like black cherry Fresca, or Diet Coke with lime. Where does the soda come from? Who knows. It's a Seattle soda mystery.
Where: 918 E John St