Deep insights into rum, whisk(e)y, brandy, tiki and bars
Death & Co Book Event and Rob Roy Takeover, Seattle
New York City’s Death & Co is one of the world’s most well-known and lauded bars, including having won the 2010 Spirited awards for Best American Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu, and coming in at number 21 on the 2013 World’s Best Bars list. In keeping with the recent trend of books from the brains behind well-regarded bars (PDT, Clyde Common), Death & Co owners David Kaplan and Alex Day, along with writer Nick Fauchald, have given us “Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails.”
In promoting the new book, David Kaplan and a rotating staff of Death & Co bartenders have been traveling to cities around the country, staging “takeovers” of a local bar for an evening. Attendees get a copy of the book and enjoy “bottomless” (i.e. all-you-can-drink) cocktails crafted by the Death & Co team.
Thanks to a friend who provided me with an early heads up, I was able to snag a ticket for the Feb. 10 takeover at Rob Roy, one of Seattle’s most respected craft cocktail dens. The ticket cost about $60, which included a copy of the book, a $40 value (although Amazon offers it for $30). The evening’s cocktail list featured eight different offerings from the book; in perusing event write-ups from other cities, the list is the same at each stop.
Going into the event, I wasn’t sure if the cocktails would be batched or crafted assembly-line style. Luckily, neither was the case. We simply worked our way up to the bar and ordered. The most I waited in line was about ten minutes, as the three and sometimes four bartenders churned though drinks with ridiculous speed, but without taking shortcuts. Okay, one shortcut I noted: Citrus peel garnish was done in advance, but that’s certainly allowable in the context of an event like this. Over the course of three hours, I worked my way through six of the eight drinks–for research purposes only, I assure you. All were something I’d happily have paid a typical Seattle cocktail price for ($13 or so at the moment).
David Kaplan addressing the crowd, Rob Roy, Seattle.
Midway through the event, David Kaplan got the crowd’s attention and gave a short speech, introducing the hard-working bartenders and thanking the Rob Roy crew for their hospitality. Other than that, it could have been any other busy night at Rob Roy, although with most of the patrons dressed a bit nicer than usual. And without the need to close out a big tab at the end of the night! As the event closed down, David Kaplan took time to personalize and sign books.