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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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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