Food

Mix It Up

Bellingham Cocktail Week

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The time in her life when Sara Holodnick concocted Mad Dog 20/20 martinis and margaritas from “just add tequila!” mix is long gone.

These days, the Bellingham-based history tour cofounder/writer/photographer/blogger/artist/tarot reader/whatever the hell else she sets her mind to/bartender is known for her masterful mixes, which are known to utilize everything from songs to spirits. (Example: “Major Tom,” a cocktail tribute to David Bowie combining gin, vermouth, Angostura bitters, and bitter lemon.)

“I started to conceptualize what it meant to translate story or feeling to flavor,” Holodnick says of her epic evolvement. “I eventually started a blog where I explored these ideas further (http://www.saragalactica.com) and then took my creations public.”

Via hosting “A Study in Drink” watching and tasting parties at Temple Bar, creating singular sippers for the Pickford Film Center’s annual Red Carpet Affair, and bartending at various events throughout Whatcom County, it’s safe to say Holodnick is well-qualified to get behind the wheel for the second annual “Bellingham Cocktail Week,” which will take place Feb. 1-8 at a variety of venues ranging from downtown Bellingham (Black Sheep, the Redlight, Uisce, Pickford Film Center, Temple Bar, Rook & Rogue) to Fairhaven (Ovn Wood-Fired Pizza, Gainsbarre) and beyond (Northwater, the Blue Abode. BelleWood Acres, and more).

Special drinks and food menus, a cocktail art competition taking place during the Feb. 2 Art Walk, a CLUE-style murder mystery featuring themed cocktails and small bites, whiskey flight tastings, a vermouth showcase, a visit with St. George Spirits and a BCW Recuperation Brunch dubbed “Bellingham Rhapsody” are among the many offerings.

“Bayou on Bay is sponsoring a Bloody Mary brunch, Bellingham Coffee Roasters will be making a coffee cocktail and the fine folks at PFC will be showing Wayne’s World,” Holodnick says of the latter event, which takes place Feb. 4 at the Pickford Film Center. “It’s all a fundraiser in support of PFC’s 20th anniversary programming, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday.”

When attendees are mixing it up, learning more about what they’re drinking and supporting the various bars, restaurants and distilleries taking part in the celebratory week of happenings, they should also remember to imbibe responsibly, and to take note of the fact that one of the goals of Bellingham Cocktail Week is to pay homage to the area’s stellar bartenders.

Holodnick has a few ways to spot the pros.

“I think a combination of creativity, comfort with improvisation and good social skills are probably the first qualities that come to mind when thinking of what makes a good bartender,” she says. “We are awash in talented, thoughtful humans looking for where they fit in in this town, and I don’t think it’s a mistake that some of our best artists just so happen to power the bar/restaurant industry here.”

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