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Earthy and apothecary cocktails

By Sheltyn Rose

As the spirit industry innovates with fully-loaded seltzer water and modernized wine coolers, we must not forget the deeply-rooted history and legacy of the craft cocktail.

Dale Cooper, courtesy of Salish Lodge & Spa

While the proliferation of cocktails stemmed from British "punches" of sugar and bitters, some of the earliest "cocktails" were born from the hands and leather packs of apothecaries. Before our Costco pharmacists behind plastic windows, these apothecaries were local healers who would treat their neighbors with herbs and alcohol as their medical medium. They served as natural remedies for everything from fevers to gastrointestinal issues and to allergic reactions. Alcohol was used to preserve flowers and herbs in the beginning and was eventually utilized itself for pain management in conjunction with its digestive properties.

Angostura bitters, for example, were regularly produced to help with upset stomachs and the Sazerac is known as one of the earliest cocktails that was actually used to treat intestinal worms!

I love tea, so I decided to investigate the use of chamomile and discovered its naturally relaxing properties and ability to cure rashes upon contact of the skin. My first thought for its incorporation into a menu was a warm and creamy chamomile latte with whiskey and a chamomile flower garnish. My second thought was a homemade chamomile tonic with vodka or gin which is arguably more appropriate for our approaching summer season. I found this herb to be extremely versatile and the flowers could easily bring whimsy to any glass.

The belief in nature's healing properties is nothing new, but perhaps we could stand to incorporate more of earth's ingredients to our bar regimens. If not to take advantage of this "farm to table" trend in the market, then to simply pay homage to the apothecaries that helped pave the way for our favorite modern speakeasies with tattooed bartenders that can make us feel inferior for not ordering a scratch old fashioned with salted cacao bitters.

I am absolutely fascinated by ingredients that come from the earth, and I especially appreciate cocktail recipes that incorporate locally-sourced tinctures and herbs. The summer season at Salish is one of my favorites to bartend because we finally get to harvest our resident garden for our aromatic and herb-alicious ingredients.

For nearly 100 years, Salish Lodge and Spa has been a true Pacific Northwest gem nestled snugly atop the tallest waterfall west of the Mississippi, with over a 100-foot advantage on Niagara. The essence of the Pacific Northwest runs deep in the bones of the lodge and we do our absolute best to deliver a truly unique and exceptional food and beverage experience to visitors and locals alike.

We are so lucky to work in such a beautiful place, especially coming into what I like to call "Sunset Season", when we get to see the sun's final display before sinking behind the wooded mountains and green valleys. The typical cloudiness of the Washington region often makes for the best projections of purple and pink light against the sky.

This truly is the best time of year to visit the lodge because our summer food and cocktail menus will incorporate juniper, honeysuckle, rosemary, and plenty of wildflowers to help us deliver an amazing summertime experience for our guests. Our groundskeepers do an excellent job at helping us provide these exceptional and unique cocktails, and it's different every year.

HoneyBee Falls, courtesy of Salish Lodge & Spa

Personally, my favorite insight into our menu is the apiary that we house in our garden. Many of our cocktail syrups are made with our very special Salish honey that comes directly from our own beehives! I love to tell kids to make sure they look for our bees when they are walking around the property.

As summer approaches, I'm looking forward to serving a refreshing and inspiring cocktail menu that an age-old apothecary would be proud to serve!

June 2022

Sheltyn Rose is a ten-year veteran of the service industry and has been bartending for 6 years. Over the years, she created her own cocktail menus and helped others do the same. She appreciates a bartender who uses jiggers to make sure each drink is perfect. When not serving and bartending, she is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Digital Marketing at Bellevue College. Salish Lodge & Spa is nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains overlooking the 268-foot Snoqualmie Falls in Washington state. This iconic Pacific Northwest lodge offers regionally-inspired treatments at the world-renowned spa, indigenous Northwest cuisine in The Dining Room and The Attic, an award-winning wine list, and a variety of recreational activities.

Salish Lodge & Spa
6501 Railroad Ave SE
Snoqualmie, WA 98065

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