Warming Winter Beverages
When “tis the season” becomes plain old winter and the body craves a bit of warmth, many of us find ourselves reaching for a cozy beverage whether said beverage is literally warm or known for its warming powers. Everything from coffee to Scotch can be found just around the corner in Bellevue. And what better way to experience the city than on two feet, coffee cup in hand?
The Northwest’s favorite beverage, coffee is something of a religion in this neck of the woods. Shots of Redmond-based Caffe Lusso (translation: Luxury Coffee) form the base of coffee beverages at Café Cesura located on 108th Ave NE. Roasted to “the point of nuance,” Caffe Lusso delivers consistent, balanced flavor perfect for starting the day. Bellden Café, located on Main Street, sources its coffee from Portland roaster Coava Coffee. Not only is the product delicious, but it echoes Bellden owner Claire Sumadiwirya’s dedication to charity and community. Each season, Bellden donates proceeds from a specific food or beverage item to a different charity raising both money and awareness for causes close to her heart (winter proceeds benefit the Overlake Medical Center Fund).
Third Culture Coffee serves as a great weekend walk starting point, located just across the street from the south entrance to Bellevue Downtown Park. The menu offers an eclectic mix of caffeinated beverages including global specialties like the Spanish Bombon – a shot of espresso mixed with a dash of condensed milk; and Vietnamese coffee featuring a larger ration of condensed milk. Get it to go and take a loop around the half-mile walking path that circumnavigates the park. If it’s “12-o’clock somewhere,” Third Culture Coffee also serves flights of port that will have you cozy in no time.
Drinking chocolate at Dote Coffee Bar in Lincoln Square South comes with or without a shot of espresso, but the main event is the chocolate ganache base crafted by Swiss master chocolatier Ewald Notter. Traditional dark chocolate to progressive turmeric ginger lattes are available daily, while a peppermint-white chocolate lollipop can be stirred in seasonally. And the chai tea latte at Belle Pastry on Main Street is positively swoon-worthy.
Mulled wine bridges that gap between warm and warming beverages. At Purple Café on 106th Ave NE, they infuse a house-made blend of cinnamon sticks, star anise, allspice berries, cloves, and black peppercorns with citrus peel, honey, and red wine to create a spicy-sweet sip-able beverage.
Monsoon Bellevue has one of the Eastside’s largest whiskey collections including bourbon, Japanese whiskey, Scotches, and Irish whiskey. Monsoon bartenders love to pour shots and flights from some of the more obscure bottles with a side of whiskey education if customers show interest. They also make custom barrel-aged cocktails – each available for a limited time only. Another whiskey hotspot, Lot No. 3 is an ideal place to request a warming dram or expertly balanced brown-spirit cocktail like the “Man of Constant Sorrow” made with Russel’s Reserve 10-year bourbon, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, China China Amer, and rosemary.
Spirits were first distilled by European monks for medicinal applications. Many of the more herbal liqueurs and aperitifs hail from this heritage including the Italian amaro spirit Fernet Branca, available at Civility & Unrest in Lincoln Square South.
Article written by Julie Arnan.