The pandemic's been rough for everyone, and people are re-entering our new reality at different paces, depending on their vaccination status and comfort around crowds. No matter when that happens, it seems reasonable that you'd want to celebrate with something special in your glass. Whether that means something extravagantly expensive or just a personal favorite local cocktail is up to you, but we have some suggestions.
Woodinville Smoked Manhattan ($16)
1898 Public House, 2010 W. Waikiki Rd.
1898 Public House just feels special. The restaurant abutting the Kalispel Golf & Country Club, first established as the Spokane Country Club in 1898, has killer views of towering trees and lush fairways that run up to the Little Spokane River. And the food menu ranges from pricey seafood and steaks to utterly reasonable sandwiches and salads. Whether or not you're eating, a trip to 1898 for a cocktail is a worthy endeavor, and the Woodinville Smoked Manhattan is a celebration in a glass for bourbon lovers. The west side distillery makes a mighty bourbon, and this version of a Manhattan includes house bitters infused with applewood smoke, along with sweet vermouth and Luxardo cherries. (DN)
Hair of the Dog Bloody Mary ($20)
Bark, A Rescue Pub, 905 N. Washington St.
Maybe you adopted a pandemic puppy in the last year, or maybe you've finally decided that it's time for one. Head to Bark, A Rescue Pub, which not only offers up pub grub and libations but gives patrons a chance to adopt dogs and cats through the Spokane Humane Society. If you do happen to find your own furry friend, you can celebrate with Bark's appropriately titled Hair of the Dog Bloody Mary, a signature menu item that's adorned with enough fried condiments to serve as an appetizer unto itself. The drink is topped with pickled jalapeno, asparagus and cucumber, green olives, celery, pepperoncinis and a fried pickle. Oh, there's more — shrimp, breakfast sausages, tater tots seasoned with salt and vinegar, and a chicken and waffle slider. Throw in a treat for your new four-pawed family member. (NW)
Henriot Brut Souverain NV Champagne Blend ($50/two-glass bottle)
Beverly's, 115 S. Second St., Coeur d'Alene
A wise woman once told me, "It's always a celebration when you have bubbles on hand." If we're talking about a serious celebration, we're going out to somewhere nice, and there are few places that feel more upscale than Beverly's at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. They have an insane wine selection, but we're sticking with bubbles, and we're going for champagne. You know, as in, from Champagne, France. The idea of clinking glasses of this highly regarded champagne — "perfumed with delicious apple and peach fruits" according to Wine Enthusiast — at a table overlooking gorgeous Lake Coeur d'Alene seems like a dream after the past year. (DN)
Mezcal Blood & Sand ($11)
Mizuna, 214 N. Howard St.
Few spots in Spokane make one feel more urbane than Mizuna. The restaurant's interior offers intimacy as well as a cheerful-if-subdued atmosphere, and the menu offers delights throughout. You can say the same for its cocktail list. Popping into Mizuna for a drink before a play or concert was a staple activity for me before the pandemic; a return visit to celebrate the world reopening seems in order, too. The Mezcal Blood & Sand is a refreshing delight, the smoky mezcal flavor offset by the sweet blood orange juice and Luxardo cherry liqueur. Mezcal isn't for everyone, but if it's a flavor you enjoy, this drink is for you. (DN)
Baby Bar, 827 W. First Ave.
After a long, slow 2020, bars are starting to welcome customers again, and the reopening of downtown mainstay Baby Bar and its attached restaurant, Neato Burrito, was highly anticipated by local foodies and cocktail lovers alike. It's been a go-to late-night hangout for years, whether you're grabbing a takeout quesadilla following a concert or knocking back a few rounds of PBR after a movie. But any regular knows that the signature Baby Bar cocktail is a greyhound, made with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, salt-rimmed glass optional. The drink works with either vodka or gin, and Baby Bar drink slinger extraordinaire Patty Tully prefers Seagrams brands (though Tito's vodka or Opihr gin are worthy substitutes). Maybe you want to commemorate your recent vaccination, or simply raise a glass to the return of a beloved institution. (NW)
Louis XIII Cognac ($200/ounce)
Chinook Crafted by Chef Adam Hegsted, 37914 S. Nukwalqw, Worley, Idaho
Casinos are legendary for having some insanely expensive options available for the high rollers who want to celebrate a big slot machine jackpot or roll of the dice. If you want to treat leaving the house as your jackpot, head to this restaurant inside Coeur d'Alene Casino and throw down for this cognac blend that includes some parts more than 100 years old. Cognac is a brandy made from grapes, and this ultra-rare brand made by the Remy Martin company can cost $2,000 a bottle. A half-ounce pour here will set you back $125, and a two-ounce pour is $350. I can only guess that it tastes amazing. (DN)
The Kalispel Royal ($120)
Masselow's Steakhouse, 100 N. Hayford Rd., Airway Heights
Any time you walk through the doors of Northern Quest Resort & Casino, you're offered ample opportunity to splurge. If you happen to be playing the slots and end up striking it rich, then you might be looking for a way to celebrate and indulge. In that case, we recommend you head over to Masselow's Steakhouse, which has a number of splurge-worthy cocktails, but none more decadent than the Kalispel Royal. It isn't listed on the menu proper, but the bartenders are happy to indulge you if you ask for it. What makes it so divine? It's made with the aforementioned Louis XIII cognac, Hibiki whiskey that's aged 21 years (hey, old enough to buy a Kalispel Royal!) and Carpano Antica vermouth, and mixed with grapefruit bitters and honey. The finished product is a little sweet and a little acidic, and bursting with notes of citrus and vanilla. It's for serious high rollers only. (NW) ♦