Anu Apte, owner of Seattle's Rob Roy cocktail bar, gets her creative spark from the familiar Indian tastes of her childhood, Mexican coke and beyond.
Q. Do you remember where you had your first real cocktail?
A. Yes! It was at the only cocktail bar I knew of when I first moved to Seattle, Zig Zag Café, and the legendary Murray Stenson poured me a Satan's Soul Patch. It's a whiskey variation on the classic Satan's Whiskers, which he made for me with Scotch. I was young and thought it was supercool to be drinking Scotch.
Q. Your childhood seems to have had a big impact on the style of drinks you make.
A. My parents are from India, and we always had delicious Indian food. When I was young, my mom used to make a mixture of turmeric, black pepper and cloves topped off with soda water when I was feeling sick. And now, one of our most popular drinks at Rob Roy is called a Blue Bark Rickey, made with turmeric syrup. I like using ingredients that are earthy and unusual. I've been experimenting with myrrh oil recently.