Rich Heider Whips Up Heavenly Hot Chocolate Cocktails at Market Street Kitchen

Categories: Bar Fly, Buchanan

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Rich Heider
Market Street Hot Chocolate
Rich Heider -- head bartender at Market Street Kitchen and the guy who whips up the most outrageous, boozed-up hot chocolate in town -- cringes at the word "mixologist," so let's put terminology aside for a moment. He's a booze-slinger in possession of a sophisticated palate (the good ones always are) who happens to love Chartreuse. So much so that he has the Triumphant Cross -- the symbol used by the Carthusian monks -- tattooed on his forearm.

See also:
-- Buttered Popcorn Tequila and Other Boozy Infusions Make for Seriously Good Cocktails at Searsucker
-- Just in Time for Christmas, J&G Steakhouse Resurrects the Tom & Jerry

What, you might be wondering, do monks have to do with Chartreuse? Absolutely everything (and I'll get to that in a minute). And why mix Chartreuse with chocolate? Because it's an unbelievably good -- if unlikely -- combo. Here's the backstory.

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8 Tips on Mixing the Perfect Cocktail from 4 Local Mixologists

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Courtesy of Salt Agency
Lynne Rossetto Kasper talks cocktails with top local bartenders
What does the cocktail enthusiast with no bartending experience need to know to make an awesome craft cocktail? Lynne Rossetto Kasper -- the sonorous talk show host of NPR's The Splendid Table asked that question of four of the Valley's top mixologists at the Hotel Palomar last weekend, and she got some terrific answers.

See also:
- Tastemaker #30: Travis Nass
- Lynne Rossetto Kasper Dishes on a Caller Who Cooked a Turkey in Hot Tar and Being a Reluctant Rock Star

Kasper had come to Phoenix to help NPR (and affiliate station KJZZ) with their fund drive, hosting a cocktail-education event that drew a crowd of mostly older listeners whose interest in craft cocktails is dubious. Truth is, most of them were probably there to see their favorite foodie in the flesh. And Kasper was everything her fans imagined she'd be:

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Product Review: Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry

Categories: Bar Fly

The SoCo Bold Black Cherry flavor wheel
We never really had a problem with the original Southern Comfort. Sweet and interesting, the spiced liqueur served its purpose as the standard cola mixer, and even made its way into the occasional cocktail. Then they started coming out with new flavors, like lime and pepper, which confused us -- if we wanted lime and pepper in our SoCo, could we not just add it ourselves? But the company continued onward, and now, today, in unnecessary liquor variations, we have Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry.

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Blue Wasabi's Rocks and Rolls: Can a Men's Night Succeed?

Categories: Bar Fly

Here's the thing about Ladies' Night: It's not for the ladies.

Sure, they enjoy the tangible benefits -- no cover, discounted or free drinks, the occasional clothing/salon/massage giveaway -- but the real genius of a night for ladies is that it draws in men. Bar owners know as well as anyone that if you get the girls to come, the guys will follow.

So does it go both ways? Would a night that offers dude-centric discounts actually attract more ladies? We traveled to Scottsdale's Blue Wasabi to find out. The hip sushi bar rolled out its first "Rocks and Rolls" men's night on Wednesday. Running from 6-10 p.m., the weekly event features a discounted, manly menu as well as Diamondbacks ticket giveaways during the first month.

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Mixologist Travis Nass Creates Cutting-Edge Cocktail Program for The Hermosa Inn

Bartender extraordinaire Travis Nass
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.

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.

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Thirteen Reasons to Get Excited About World of Beer in Tempe

Categories: Bar Fly, Top Lists

When we first saw that the American Apparel on Mill -- which had for the past several years been housed in the old Tempe National Bank Building -- was shuttering its doors, we were distraught. Where would we get our hipster glasses, unnecessary scarves, and bright pink hot pants? But then we found out what was taking its place: World of Beer.

The craft beer-focused franchise is set to open its Tempe location on July 23. We stopped by the under-construction building to talk with general manager J.P. Watts and product manager Tyler Brown about what makes this beer bar different.

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Jimmy Eat World Bassist to Team up with Four Peaks for New Distillery in Tempe

Categories: Bar Fly, News
Brewing and distilling go hand in hand. When boiled with hops and grain, the liquid in the mash tun becomes wort, which a meeting with yeast will turn into beer. When grain is boiled without hops or other solids, however, the mash produces wash, the building block of whiskey distilling.

Collaborations between brewers and distillers can be lucrative -- brewers provide the wash for distillers to make into whiskey, and distillers provide used barrels for aging bigger brews like stouts and barleywines.

And it looks like we may see one such alliance come together in Tempe very soon. 

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Bartender vs. Mixologist: What's In a Name?

Categories: Bar Fly, Buchanan

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"What's in a cocktail?" was the question posed in this 1962 book.
There was a day when a bartender was a bartender. Period. The end. But in recent years, more and more bartenders have begun calling themselves mixologists, a term with a distinctly academic ring to it.

You don't have to be a semanticist to imagine how that sits with some people, particularly old-school barkeeps who were slinging booze before these whippersnappers were even born. To old-timers (and to customers, as well), calling a bartender a mixologist sounds as pretentious as calling a janitor a sanitation engineer.

I get it, but I beg to differ.

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Glenfiddich's Cask of Dreams

Categories: Bar Fly

Zach Fowle
We all have dreams, though some might be more easily attainable than others. Is your dream to travel to a foreign country? Easy. Is your dream to be CEO of a company? Tough, but not impossible. Is your dream is to taste a Scotch aged in casks inscribed with the hopes of thousands of American dreamers? That's oddly specific, but you're in luck.

To kick off its 125th anniversary of crafting single malt Scotch, Glenfiddich recently launched the U.S.-exclusive bottling of Cask of Dreams, a whiskey aged in wooden barrels onto which people had written their dreams and aspirations.

"The way it came about initially was one of our ambassadors who rolled a cask through New York for people to sign it," says Mitch Bechard, a Scotch whisky expert and Glenfiddich's ambassador to the Western United States. "Within four months, we had designed this whole plan around it."

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Calimocho and Diesel: You Got Coke in My Booze!

Categories: Bar Fly

Coke is misused as a mixer. While we often employ it as a cheap, sweet vehicle for carrying bottom-shelf rum or whiskey, cola is better-suited for pairing with less powerful alcohols. In a Diesel, it can bring life to a dull lager; in the Calimocho, it covers up the inadequacies of a seriously cheap wine.

First, the Calimocho. Also known as Kalimotxo or Cocavino, the drink is usually made using a simple one-to-one mixture of Coke and cheap red wine. It's thought to have been created at a festival in Algorta, Spain, in 1972, when some young entrepreneurs discovered something was horribly amiss with the wine they intended to sell. They added Coke to mask the rancid flavor, and the drink became an improbable success.

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