Kim Haasarud: What Phoenix's Cocktail Scene Needs and the Perks of USBG Membership

Categories: Hooch

Heather Hoch
Culinary technique finds its way into the mixology world more and more, according Haasarud.
In the end, the winning cocktail was a powerfully flavorful, yet still balanced, combination of Finlandia grapefruit, fresh grapefruit, date syrup, lemon juice, ginger, and a foam made from eggs, honeydew melon, and La Bella Terre's grapefruit and hibiscus sugar. Haasarud says you can see the craft in these events, with bartenders using torches to brulée and a focus on making things from scratch.

"The role of the bartender has changed back to more of what it was when it was seen as a prestigious career," she explains. "There's more synchronicity between the bar and kitchen."

However, Haasarud also says these events just help promote Phoenix's bartending scene in general.

"Events like this raise awareness and help elevate the craft" she says. "It's really all about education and putting Phoenix on the map for cocktails."

Heather Hoch
Creativity and quick-thinking are encouraged for USBG competitive events.
When Kim Haasarud joined Phoenix's USBG chapter, there were about 25 members. Now, she's proud to say there are about 150 guild members, though she's always looking to include more. While cocktail enthusiasts get access to events like cocktail dinners and more if they join, Haasarud says the more bartenders that join, the better the cocktail scene will be for everyone in town as well.

The future of Phoenix's USBG will focus on expanding and collaborating with bars in Tucson and Flagstaff, forming a novice-level educational series, and working on consistency and standards for bars in town-- even the divey ones.

Upcoming events include the Bombay Sapphire competition sponsored by GQ that pretty much launched local cocktail legend Jason Asher's career in 2010 as well as a Veev poolside pitcher cocktail competition. Some past favorites include tiki, ice cutting, and punch seminars led by L.A.'s Marcos Tello.

For more information on joining the USBG and its events, you can visit the organization's website.

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City of Scottsdale parking lot, Scottsdale, AZ

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Isn't "mixology's" fifteen minutes about up at this point? Seriously. It's such a professional poseur show. Just make me a drink and spare me the homemade bitters baloney.

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