7 Products We Really Want After Visiting the Arizona Cocktail Week Artisanal Spirit and Cocktail Market
The company: Arizona Bitters Lab (Gilbert)
Lauren Saria Arizona Bitters Lab's line of bitters.
The product: Figgy Pudding bitters
Where to find it: Whole Foods on Camleback, Bev Mo, Sun Devil Liquors, JAM, Wedge and Bottle
Bill and Lillian Buitenhuys have been experimenting with bitters for quite a while now, and if you haven't tasted some of their cocktail concoctions, then you really have been missing out. Of their three products, we appreciated the Figgy Pudding bitters the most, with their natural sweetness from cinnamon, figs, and currents. If you think you don't like bitters, these will change your mind, as they don't leave you with that medicinal taste you might associate with bitters. And Lillian points out, these bitters also can be used atop ice cream or in a cup a morning coffee to add a little kick.
The company: La Bella Terre (Phoenix)
Lauren Saria La Bella Terre's Lemon Bergamot sugar.
The product: Rose Cognac pure botanical sugar
Where to find it: Online, Whole Foods, AJ's
It's been quite a while since we checked in on Terri Nacke, founder of La Bella Terre, a company that makes botanical products. These days, she's got a whole line of botanical sugars made by blending cane sugar with ingredients like rose, bergamot, and lavender. In the cocktail world, these sugars can add a subtle but sweet dimension to any drink by turning them into simple syrups. We were particularly impressed with the rose cognac sugar, which imparted a delicate rose flavor without making it taste as if we were drinking a cup of rose perfume.
The company: Ilegal Mezcal (Oaxaca, Mexico)
Lauren Saria Ilegal Mezcal.
The product: Ilegal Mezcal Joven and Anejo
Where to find it: Distributed by Young's Market Company
Our eyes were opened to the world of mezcal with just one sip of Ilegal mezcal. The company, which operates out of Oaxaca, Mexico, makes high-quality handcrafted mezcals. The Joven, an un-aged spirit, has hints of eucalyptus and citrus that give a nice, almost sweet finish. As such, you could easily use it in cocktails, but to be honest we really enjoyed it on its own. On the end of the spectrum, there's the Ilegal anejo. Aged for 13 months in American and French oak barrels, this mezcal will appeal to scotch drinkers and those who appreciate its flavors of maple and smoke. While it's pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum to the anejo, we thoroughly enjoyed both. Ilegal also makes a four-month aged Mezcal reposado, but it didn't impress us nearly as much as the other two.