Cowboy Ciao's Wildly Collaborative Cocktails Are Barely Legal

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
What happens when you take three bartenders and put them to work on one cocktail menu?
You'd think getting three different people with three different mixing styles and three different palates to work together to make one cocktail menu would be tricky. However, Mari Howe, Rich Furnari, and Kiefer Gilbert did just that for Cowboy Ciao's most recent menu -- and they say it was easy.

"The entire team sat down one night and tried our drinks and if they liked it, we put it on the menu," Howe says.

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Meet the 2014 Arizona Last Slinger Standing Bartending Team

Categories: Hooch

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Allie Marconi
How quickly can you make a well-balanced cocktail off the cuff?
The results of last month's Last Slinger Standing tryouts are in and the five competitors have been announced. It's no easy task to get in the finals, as each bartender had just five minutes to craft a well balanced and tasty cocktail using a random spirit base and liqueur of the judge's choosing and no more than three other ingredients. During Arizona Cocktail Week, the five finalists from Arizona will go head to head with teams from Nevada and Colorado until one bartender remains.

Here's who you'll be cheering on:

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Charlie Zeiler Mixes Up Fall Cocktails the Right Way at The Mix Up Bar

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Charlie Zeiler stirs his Vieux Carré inspired Pear of Aces cocktail.
You won't find pumpkin spice syrup or any other artificial junk on Charlie Zeiler's new Mix Up Bar cocktails menu. The Royal Palms' bartender, instead, builds on classic recipes with new ingredients to make unique autumnal drinks. While discussing his new menu, Zeiler explains which ingredients he's using this fall, his dedication to the classics, and what it's like to work at a resort cocktail bar in the Valley.

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10 Cocktail Books You Should Read Right Now

Categories: Hooch, Top Lists

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CircaSassy/Flickr
Learn the ways of craft cocktails, new and old, with these ten books.
Diving into the wild world of craft cocktails and mixology head first is one way to start learning more about them. You can also take one of a few different mixology classes here in town. However, for you bookworms out there, there's a ton of great reads for beginners and experienced cocktail enthusiasts. Whether you're a history buff or an aspiring bartender, there's something on this list for you to get good and booze nerdy over.

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Stephanie Teslar of Blue Hound in Phoenix Uses Sherry in Her Fall Cocktail Menu

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Stephanie Teslar makes one of five cocktails that utilize sherry's complexity on her menu.
The first thing that probably comes to mind when someone says the word sherry is its use in cooking. While the fortified wine does have its place in the kitchen, Stephanie Teslar is using it to mix up five different cocktails at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. If you're not already on the sherry cocktail bandwagon, take note because its combined high complexity and low alcohol content make it a winner for making drinks.

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Desert Spoon Infuses Hospitality and History Into Monthly Cocktail Parties

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Blaise Faber and Cal Lundmark stand in front of their envy-inducing home bar.
On the first Sunday of every month, Cal Lundmark and Blaise Faber invite friends and acquaintances into their home, transforming the Encanto-area duplex into Desert Spoon. Don't get any funny ideas, though: the events, which include a spirit tasting, class, three-course dinner, and a cocktail party to celebrate, aren't some underground (and illegal) speakeasy. Lundmark and Faber are doing it all for the sake of their love of hospitality and craft cocktails--and, to be totally clear, for free.


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5 Ways to Learn More About Liquor and Cocktails in Metro Phoenix This Fall

Categories: Hooch

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Evie Carpenter
Perfect your double strain this fall at one of these five spirit courses.
You might fancy yourself an at-home mixologist and maybe you have been building up that home bar selection into something quite respectable. Well, it's time to put all of those bottles to use and learn how to implement their boozey goodness in the best way possible. Luckily, there are a few spots in town offering up classes for folks who want to learn more about spirits, mixing drinks, and the history and styles of both.

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Barr Hill Gin and Vodka Made with Raw Honey Now Available in Phoenix

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Caledonia's Barr Hill vodka is definitely not your standard potato or grain liquor.
Hailing from northern Vermont, Caledonia was known for a long time for their local, raw honey. The beekeeping family, now led by Todd Hardie, ventured into the spirit distilling world about five years ago and now the unique vodka and gin from Caledonia Spirits is hitting Arizona. Using the honey from Hardie's farm, the spirits, and specifically the gin, have a great botanical quality lent from the flowers the bees pollinate in the area.

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Arizona Cocktail Week and Arizona Beer Week 2015 Are Double-Booked -- Again

Categories: Hooch

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Evie Carpenter
February 14-21 is going to be a very busy time for you if you like cocktails and beer.
At the end of last week, I got two e-mails. One announced 2015 Arizona Cocktail Week, the other 2015 Arizona Beer Week. I should be excited. But I'm just kind of annoyed because both take place February 14 to 21. No big surprise, as that's happened the past few years without fail, and yet I really don't understand why this must be the case.

While the upcoming festival season is looking bright, the competition between events is frustrating in a town that would be better served by the two culinary events building each other up and reinforcing the state's beverage culture, rather than forcing people to pick which is worth the time and money.


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8 Ailments You Can Cure or Prevent with Liquor

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Drink up, doc's orders.
It's probably best to begin by saying any of the claims made in the following post apply only to moderate alcohol consumption. In case you didn't know, overindulging in spirits and cocktails is actually bad for you. Go figure.

Acting as the spirit guide, Last Drop bartender Travis Nass schooled me on some of the purported benefits, both past and present, of imbibing liquor. Whether or not you believe it is up to you, but there is certainly scientific evidence to support some of it.

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