6 Don't-Miss Events During AZ Cocktail Week: Feb 16-22
|Courtesy of AZ Cocktail Week|
|Bitter Peach Bellini|
Eight restaurants are offering their own cocktail-paired dinners, and many of them are places (and chefs) I like a lot. Do I want to eat Bernie Kantak's food? Or Matt Carter's? Yep, all day long. But we're talking about cocktail dinners here and so I'm also swayed by the beverages involved. Most restaurants are running with a theme (bourbon and scotch at The House, Guinness cocktails at Citizen) but at Blue Hound, mixologist Shel Bourdon has taken a more scatter-shot approach, pairing each course with a cocktail using a different spirit: vodka, gin, whisky and Kahlua. I love the opportunity to try completely different spirits with my food, and frankly, Chef Stephen Jones had me at smoked rum raisin push pop.
Imbibe n' Dine -- Lon's at the Hermosa, Feb. 22, 6:30-9:30 p.m., $69++
Travis Nass, the "spirit guide" and perfectionist at The Last Drop (the tiny bar inside Lon's), has made me some beautiful cocktails over the years, so I feel the same way about him as I do my favorite chefs: if you're making it, I'm having it. Nass will be featuring liquors from Haus Alpenz a small importer from Minnesota who offers obscure liquors from Austria, Indonesia and Jamaica. Chef Jeremy Pacheco's food menu AND Nass's cocktail menu make my mouth water.
Here are two examples: Dungeness Crab Salad with spicy local greens, Lon's garden grapefruit and yuzu-curry sorbet paired with a punch composed of Batavia Arrack Hum Botanical, grapefruit oleo saccharum, green tea and ginger bear; Duck Confit Croquette with pretzel crust, duck prosciutto, arugula, blood orange vinaigrette and blood orange compote with an aperitif of Royal Dock gin, Cocchi di Torino, Byrrh and St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram. Exotic? Hell, yeah! And really fun. Each course is just this interesting, so I'm all the way in on this one.
By the way, if more restaurants had their menus posted on the Arizona Cocktail Week website already, I'm pretty sure they'd be getting reservations by now. And I know my decisions on Imbibe n' Dine might have looked different. Then again, I don't think there's a wrong choice in this category. It all depends on what you like to eat and drink.
Go to the Arizona Cocktail Week website to make reservations or get more info. Then get out there and carpe diem. Just make sure somebody else is driving, okay?