When the holiday season hits Seattle, we get excited about elaborate gingerbread houses, strolling Candy Cane Lane and finding the one weekend afternoon without rain to put up the Christmas lights. In true Seattle fashion, it's also an exciting season for coffee. Cue the holiday drinks because caroling with a caffeine buzz is the best way to go.
Capitol Hill's Ghost Note Coffee has the menu covered when it comes to seasonal drinks. Co-owner and coffee director Christos Andrews said that while the pandemic has been challenging, it's brought about a few changes to the shop that consumers are pretty thrilled about, including their famous coffee drinks in jug form to take home.
"This has been fun and creative for us because we love making these amazing drinks and super unique things for people to take home," Andrews said. "It kind of gave us the creative freedom to do what we do, whether it's entertaining a crowd or just having it at home."
The lineup for Ghost Note Coffee jugs this holiday season includes oatnog, a gingerbread spice latte and a mulling spice latte, as well as several custom creations Andrews has handcrafted. Every jug drink on Ghost Note's menu is made from a recipe Andrews has perfected.
His favorite seasonal jug this year is the gingerbread latte. "I'm really proud of the gingerbread syrup recipe," Andrews said. "It took forever to get down, but, in my opinion, it's the best syrup I've ever made."
Andrews starts with fresh ginger and boils it down for at least three hours with a ground spice blend before adding vanilla and dark brown sugar for the ideal combination of sweet, spice and warmth.
If gingerbread isn't your favorite holiday flavor, Ghost Note still has you covered. Order a Nefertiti jug with vegan drinking chocolate and espresso. Customize this jug by adding one of Ghost Note's in-house bitters like cacao and macadamia, orange, peppermint or cinnamon. Unlike most specialty coffee drinks, Ghost Note doesn't use heavily sweetened syrup to add flavor. Instead, they often use house-made bitters.
"It's a nice way of getting a flavored drink without oversweetening it," Andrews said. "Since we're using bitters, it balances out the flavor and gives it a much better aroma that's really unique."
Another highlight of the Ghost Note seasonal menu is the Naima jug — Andrews' vision of a cookie butter latte. Two years in the making, the Naima is ready to come home with customers. It starts as oat milk infused with espresso and then gets dressed up with cookie butter and gingerbread syrup, followed by a non-alcoholic amaretto and cinnamon bitters.
Using coffee beans from Broadcast Coffee, Ghost Note's mission is to be a progressive coffee bar, constantly producing more delicious beverages.
"My concept of Ghost Note is to be forward-thinking in everything," Andrews said. "My motto has always been 'there's a better way to do what you're doing,' so this means whatever you're doing in a creative sense, there's a way to take it apart and assemble it better."
Andrews said part of this philosophy is based on his ADHD, which keeps him constantly moving forward with creative projects and exploring new ideas. When it comes to Ghost Note, this translates to creating new specialty drinks.
"I get bored of doing the same thing a lot," he said. "The biggest motivator for opening Ghost Note in the first place is that I need to keep growing, I need to keep trying new things and I need to keep exploring."
Ghost Note Coffee is located at 1623 Bellevue Terrace on Capitol Hill. Open seven days a week, pre-order jugs online for in-store pickup as well as gift bundles and craft chocolate.