Andrew Calisterio and Micah Olson of Crudo in Arcadia: Spring Cocktail Guide, Continued

Categories: Hooch

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Shelby Moore
'The Wishing Well' is comprised of stirred cucumber syrup, mezcal, rum, celery bitters and creme de menthe.

One of the questions I like to ask bartenders is what they throw on the stereo while they're opening or closing -- when no one, save for their co-workers, are listening. Because what really speaks more to the essence of a bar: the curated playlist for paying customers -- you know, that paints a pretty picture, or the stuff that knocks out prep, rounds out brainstorming, and un-zombifies those who sleep by day and work by night?

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Libby Longlott and Michael Allmandinger of The Parlor in Phoenix: Spring Cocktail Guide, Continued

Categories: Hooch

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Shelby Moore
The Parlor's Libby Longlott and her finished cocktail creation, 'The Roosevelt.'

Want firm proof that Phoenix's cocktail scene is growing? The hot new openings are cool, sure, but if you read last week's Spring Cocktail Guide with The Clever Koi's Joshua James, I'm going to connect some dots.


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Spring Cocktail Guide: The 'Little Sheba' with Joshua James of The Clever Koi

Categories: Hooch

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Shelby Moore
The 'Little Sheba' is the right kind of spring cocktail: festive and refreshing.

Like many restaurant teams in town, the guys at The Clever Koi may not have slept much recently, with a weekend of Devoured under their belts and media types knocking on their doors to ask about Spring menus. All the same, Joshua James, co-owner and Beverage Director, was dressed for a successful interview -- and dinner service, likely, too -- about the upcoming changes to his bar's cocktail menu.

We'd asked him to pick one drink, and one drink only, to share with us before its release. We got the 'Little Sheba' in return. It's mostly Fortaleza's Reposado Tequila, for an earthy and oak-aged backbone, some St. George Raspberry Brandy, some Giffard-brand Orgeat, lime juice, and more than a few dashes of 50/50 bitters to "help dry it out." James mashes strawberry at the bottom of a collins glass and stacks tinted, zested ice above it. Then he shakes the rest and fills. The end result? A delectably festive, delightedly not-too-fruity, decidedly un-sweet and balanced cocktail. A straw is your pipeline to drink a bit too quickly from the bottom up -- so, bottoms up. There will be a couple more like it when the 'Little Sheba' hits the menu in a couple weeks.

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Searching for Orange Wine in Phoenix? We Found It.

Categories: Hooch, Vine Geeks

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Shelby Moore
An unexpected glass of orange wine at Hillside Spot for only $7.
I'll have to begin by saying that I was completely oblivious to orange wine -- yes, I'll explain myself here in a moment -- until nearly a season ago while surfing Instagram, a wonderful place where I learn new things from my favorite tastemakers (I like the personal and off-the-cuff pulse for the culinary world that no wikipedia page or google search can offer: it's just more honest, and often slightly more inebriated).

The foodie in this instance is Oliver Strand, a foremost coffee journalist. He was dining at the Builders Arms Hotel in Fitzroy, Australia where among the list of vinos sprawling from Barossa Valley syrahs to natural proseccos and the stuff of Australian co-operative wineries, he pointed out quite literally the first very thing he saw: "Orange gets top billing."


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Counter Intuitive in Scottsdale: Painkillers and Bacon Beignets at Peter Kasperski's Latest (Rotating) Concept

Categories: First Taste, Hooch

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Lauren Saria
Micah Olson makes a New Orleans-inspiried cocktail at Counter Intuitive in Scottsdale.
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

This one, by the way, is more of a First Sip.

Day-drinking be damned. Weekday drinking, too -- or so the story goes for the highly-anticipated cocktail concept from Cowboy Ciao and Kazimierz World Wine Bar owner Peter Kasperski, which is now open to the public as Counter Intuitive. Only awake from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., the menu features cocktails from top-shelf Valley talents Micah Olsen and Jason Asher and will change themes every few months. First up: Infused bourbons and a Bourbon Street-infused menu with a back story: a New Orleans estate sale for the deceased, sadly fictitious Bartholomew Chesterfield Ignatius Sugarman.

We went to pay our condolences.

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A Cocktail Vocabulary Lesson for the Novice

Categories: Hooch

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Chow Bella
Resolve to figure out that whole cocktail thing.
We've been reading up on lists of new trends that are predicted to become popular in the coming year, and there was one in particular that seemed to come up again and again. No, not the one that suggests that bartenders begin garnishing their drinks with literal pine and juniper branches -- the one about being nice.

It seems that this year, the cocktail and mixology community at large wants to try to bring back kindness to their customers, and change from that caricature of the stuck-up jerk with a handlebar mustache who just can't believe that you can't recite all 43 ingredients in Licor 43.

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Sochu House in Metro Phoenix Offers Hundreds of Sake Choices. Here's a Little Background to Get You Ready

Categories: Hooch

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Chow Bella
The bar at Sochu House.
The average American experience with sake begins and ends at a Benihana or similar teppanyaki-style Japanese restaurant. It's usually served warm, in little ceramic carafe with matching shot glasses or it's set on top of chopsticks over a glass of some nameless Asian lager and shaken by an earthquake of drunken hands until it falls into the glass below to be quickly guzzled down as a quirky dinner game for college students having a "nice dinner out."

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3 Grapefruit Cocktails at Metro Phoenix Bars

Categories: Hooch

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Melanie MacEachern
Windsor, #4

Winter in Arizona means more than people wearing heavy down parkas in 50 degree weather, it also means citrus season. In yards all over town and in groves outside the city limits, grapefruit are nearing their peak size and weighing down branches.
Lots of people have their own thing that they do with these tart giants--bake it with brown sugar and a maraschino cherry!-- but three Valley bars have cocktails on their menus that truly celebrate the imminent arrival of the grapefruit.

Windsor, No. 4. ($9.50)
This drink is served in a short glass with one large ice cube in the middle. It's interesting that a grapefruit cocktail in it's color and size and shape could look so strikingly like the fruit of which it is primarily composed. New Amsterdam gin is always a great gin base for citrus cocktails, as it's not too floral or spicy like other gins and works well with bold flavors like bitter citrus. Cardamom syrup balances out the fresh, tart juice but doesn't negate the texture and aroma of Bitterman's Hopped Grapefruit Bitters, which are generously added to the cocktail. Rather than overpowering the whole cocktail, these bitters just add a hint more citrus rind flavor--and of course hops--and a truly lovely scent. Perhaps the cutest thing is that in the center of the large ice cube is a little slice of grapefruit, just as a garnish and to give the drink a little extra color.


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Chow Bella's Quick Holiday Guide to Sparkling Wine

Categories: Hooch

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Melanie MacEachern
Impress your friends -- bring real Champagne to the next holiday party.
Hey, did you know that Champagne can only be called Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France? If it's not, it's just called sparkling wine.

It is one of those painful truths that at every holiday party in which someone opens a bottle of festive bubbles, a guest must declare this "fun fact." This fact is no longer fun, now it is one of those cliche party facts that everyone knows -- like switching your car insurance to save 15 percent or more. But there is so much more to sparkling wine than that one little tidbit of Internet knowledge.

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Pomo Pizzeria's Matteo Schiavone Shares His Secret Limoncello Crema Recipe

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Complimentary shots and desserts at Pomo.
If you've ever stopped in for one at Matteo Schiavone's authentic Neapolitan pizzas at Pomo, you likely remember how your meal ended. Every customer (of legal drinking age, of course) is treated to a complimentary shot of Schiavone's handmade limoncello crema along with a side of fried chiacchiere or fried dough covered in powdered sugar. If that's not the picture of generosity in and of itself, Schiavone also gave us the recipe for his tasty, one-of-a-kind limoncello.

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