Mixologist Travis Nass Creates Cutting-Edge Cocktail Program for The Hermosa Inn
Ever since Fred and Jennifer Unger breathed life into the quietly crumbling Hermosa Inn in 1992, the property has been beloved for many reasons, including its '30s-era architecture, rich history, splendid dining patio, and modern American food.
Bartender extraordinaire Travis Nass
Now it's poised to be the city's number-one destination for cocktail culturists, as well, a cutting-edge watering hole meant to rival Sanctuary's Jade Bar in its heyday. Why? Because having a bona fide cocktail program and a mixologist to create and maintain it is every bit as important, these days, as having a great wine program with a sommelier to back it up.
The guy who's been hired to make it all happen is bartender extraordinaire Travis Nass, recognized all over town for his quirky handlebar mustache and bowler hat.
Ironically, Nass got the job with a little help from a friend, namely Jason Asher -- currently the corporate mixologist for spirits distributor Young's Market Company, previously the hot shot mixologist who made the cover of GQ Magazine for his innovative work at Jade Bar.
Here's how it played out:
The Hermosa wanted to hire Asher to create a cocktail program for them, but he told them what they really needed was someone to execute everything perfectly day in and day out. He recommended Nass.
Nass began his new Hermosa gig by cleaning house, getting rid of spirits he believes a high-caliber property shouldn't sell and re-stocking the back bar with premium spirits like Chartreuse products and boutique gins, including ultra-pricy Nolet's Reserve -- which Nass says is carried by only three bars in the state.
He's contemplating creating a reserve cocktail list using such incredibly high-end spirits that single cocktails could run $100 or more.
In the meantime, he and his talented new crew -- Julie Hillenbrand (who also tends bar at J&G Steakhouse) and Alexa Bowler (Cuoco Pazzo) -- have put together a much more down-to-earth cocktail menu for Lon's (the resort's signature restaurant), focusing on the classics, some of which are downright obscure.
5532 N. Palo Christi Road, Paradise Valley, AZ