Stephanie Teslar of Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails: 2014 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Culinary Art (VIDEO)
You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives and the results are in. Introducing our 2014 Big Brain finalists.
Heather Hoch Stephanie Teslar serves up her Border Patrol cocktail at Blue Hound.
Stephanie Teslar has really outdone herself.
While curating the cocktail menu at Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails, she created one of the Valley's most unique and instantly alluring mixed drinks: the Lawless. The show-stopping drink combines whiskey, wormwood liqueur, demerara sugar, and Teslar's handmade "truck stop" bitters, which contain "everything you'd buy at a truck stop," like chocolate, coffee, and tobacco. With that smoky, sweet, and dark combination of flavors stirred and chilled, she smokes a glass with vanilla caramel pipe tobacco and pours in the concoction.
The result is an aromatic, sippable cocktail that embodies all the best elements of drinking whiskey while smoking a cigar. It's this innovative, unique approach that sets Teslar apart.
Teslar got her start as a barback in her hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, when she was 17. Eventually graduating to a role of bartender at the upscale and old fashioned steakhouse, O'Malley's, Teslar began by mixing up the classics -- though she admits she shook up many more martinis than she would've liked to.
Teslar came to Phoenix to head Blue Hound's bar in September 2012 after running Criollo, a tequila and mezcal bar in Flagstaff, and immediately began experimenting with flavor and accessibility in craft cocktails.
"Working in a hotel is a new challenge because I have had to modify my personal techniques for high volume without losing integrity," she says. "I want people that aren't well-versed to find the cocktails approachable, but still be unique enough for the afficianados."
In terms of flavor, Teslar loves using bold, bright local citrus, herbs from local farmers markets, and has recently developed a love of aromatized wines. Her use of local ingredients shines in components like a McClendon's Select blood orange syrup and her in-house infused gin, which features locally grown botanicals like white sage, sorrel, creosote, ribena, and juniper.
Heather Hoch Teslar uses local produce in many of her recipes.