Bitters 101 with Bill and Lill Buitenhuys of AZ Bitters Lab

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
This is about half of Bill and Lill Buitenhuys' bitters collection.
If you haven't been building your bitters collection, it's time to start. Bill and Lill Buitenhuys, the couple behind AZ Bitters Lab, explain that chefs have spice racks and bartenders equip themselves with an arsenal of bitters, which act as the seasoning element to finish and round out any cocktail flavor. If you're looking to up the ante for your cocktail recipe relatively inexpensively, bitters are the way to go. From there, it's just a matter of what kind you choose, and they told us everything you need to know about where bitters came from and what kinds are available.

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Second Story Liquor Bar's John Christie on How to Make a Proper Punch

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
John Christie does everything the old fashioned way at Second Story Liquor Bar.
It's pretty sad what people think is punch nowadays. What once was a delightfully strong alcoholic blend of juices, spices, tea, sugar, and liquor is now pretty much thought of as an artificially flavored fruit drink for children. Well, John Christie over at Second Story Liquor Bar in Scottsdale is here to change all of that, giving the historic beverage that pretty much helped found America and was the precursor to modern cocktails its chance back in the limelight.

His take on the classic Philadelphia Fish House Punch is infinitely more delicious than the name suggests and it's the perfect drink for your next pool party.

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5 Best Barrel-Aged Cocktails in Metro Phoenix

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Citizen Public House's aged Negroni has a salty secret.
Barrel aging can transform a cocktail from its typical flavor to a smoother, richer, and more cohesive final product. As the cocktail mixture sits in the barrel, it develops much like a bourbon does as it barrel ages. While cocktails typically spend much less time in barrels than the spirits they're made with, the month or two that they're generally aged at makes all of the difference. Whiskey, gin, or rum, there are several bars around town barrel-aging cocktails to suit every taste.

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How to Make Bitters Designs on Cocktail Foam with The Parlor's Michael Allmandinger

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Michael Allmandinger shakes up his Parlor Star cocktail.
When it comes to drinking cocktails, Michael Allmandinger says "the bitter, the better." While his cocktails have a strong herbal element by using infused syrups and bitters as well as liqueurs like Génépi, as he does in his trademark, competition-winning Parlor Star cocktail, calling his creations bitter wouldn't do justice to the balance he achieves in drinks. But the real showstopper of Allmandinger's drink is the thick, heady foam adorned with bitters designs, which he showed us just how he executes.

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15 Essential Spirits Under $50 to Stock Your Home Bar

Categories: Hooch

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Rob Ireton/Flickr
Home bars don't need to have everything-- here's a good place to start.
If you're looking to start or just beef up your home bar, it can be pretty tricky to know which spirits and liqueurs will get you the most bang for your buck. Without going low on the liquor shelf, we've assembled a list of fifteen recommendations under $50 that will keep you experimenting and mixing up a variety of classic and modern cocktails at home without completely breaking the bank. While it isn't a complete list, leaving off a multitude of cordials and even some more basics spirits, it's a good place for any home bartender to get started with classic recipes. Unfortunately, you're on your own when it comes to the syrups, citrus, and herbs.

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Crafted Taste Sends Everything You Need to Make Fancy Cocktails to Your Door

Categories: Hooch

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Crafted Taste.
Kat Rudberg's cocktail subscription service features mixology from across the country.
Like a boozy BirchBox, Kat Rudberg's brand-new subscription service, Crafted Taste, will send craft liquors, fresh ingredients, bar tools, and recipes direct to your door every month. With recipes from top bartenders all across the country and specialized liqueurs, syrups, and bitters, Rudberg has combined her love of travel and craft cocktails into her business, offering hard-to-find ingredients and expert instruction for the more hermitic aspiring mixologists.

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Anthony Felsianes of Chennai Chettinaad Palace Offers a Sneak Peek at His Indian-Inspired Cocktails

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Anthony Felisanes puts the finishing touch on his Limca Gin Fizz.
While we noticed Asian-inspired cocktails making a showing from both Clever Koi and The Gladly at Devour's Bartending Competition, one Valley bartender is infusing the flavors of the East into every cocktail he makes. You can expect mango, rose, and coconut flavors from Anthony Felsianes' brand new cocktail menu at Chennai Chettinaad Palace, along with some imported Indian sodas and even a wine cooler.

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3 Classic New Orleans Cocktails from Geoffrey Wilson of Barrelhouse

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Geoffrey Wilson puts the finishing touches on one of New Orlean's best drinks.
Although a search for Mardi Gras cocktails could lead you on a dark path of artificial ingredients and goofy garnishes, Geoffrey Wilson of Chandler's Barrelhouse is here to keep you from being led astray. While working with the legendary New Orleans bartender Chris McMillian, Wilson learned a fair amount about the history of each of the delicious craft drinks he makes. With an infectious level of passion and excitement for bartending and a love of Big Easy-style imbibing (although he is a New Jersey native), Wilson showed us three of the most classic and delicious drinks NOLA has to offer, along with one of his own creation.


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Arizona Cocktail Week 2014 Ups the Ante for Culinary Events in Metro Phoenix

Categories: Events, Hooch

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Heather Hoch
This sample-size homage to a scorpion bowl showcases Smuggler's Cove's tiki cocktails.
If you chose to devote your time to Beer Week events this past weekend rather than taking advantage of the impressive lineup of seminars and mixers put on by Cocktail Week, you messed up and we're sorry.

There are several days left before Cocktail Week comes to a close, so you still have time to right your wrongs, but last weekend's events, mostly held at Hotel Valley Ho, were an exciting mix of informative, passionate, historical, fun, and delicious that pretty much knocked our socks off.

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Devour Bartending Competition Announces Its Winner, and It's Not Who You Think

Categories: Hooch

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Evie Carpenter
Joshua James of The Parlor mixing up his Love Oolong Time cocktail.
The fifth annual Devour Bartending Competition on Sunday sought to showcase some of the Valley's best bartenders and their creative cocktails, and we certainly had some unique ones. Although the competition portion only spanned 10 minutes, the two hours of milling and mingling at Crescent Ballroom with ounce-and-a-half cocktails in hand gave attendees the opportunity to meet the mixologists and talk technique. While our pick, the people's pick, and the judges' pick all would've yielded different results, only one bartender was crowned, though several cocktail-centric superlatives were handed out as well.

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