Cocktail Guide Extras

Category: Web Extras Issue: March 2015
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Our Cocktail Guide overfloweth. See our web extra for extended Q&As with bartenders, more top drink picks, photo extras and more.

Photo by Chadwick FowlerTop Five Lists
Our picks for the best of breed at Valley bars and restaurants.

Best Breakfast Cocktails
1. Bloody Mary & Burger at Bootleggers: Served “Southern style” in a mason jar, Bootleggers’ classic Bloody comes ready-paired with a savory, plump pork belly cheeseburger garnish that brings out the cocktail’s zesty tomato tang. 3375 E. Shea Blvd., Phoenix, 602-996-4228, bootleggersaz.com.
2. Milky Way at Lux: Espresso and Cynar artichoke liqueur lend this new addition to Lux’s menu a potent bitterness that rivals a strong cuppa black. 4402 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-327-1396, luxcoffee.com.    
3. Anastasia at Caffe Boa: Boa’s bottomless bellinis are a big draw, but the fresh muddled strawberries and smooth vodka of mixologist Christine Wisniewski’s Anastasia are crisp and refreshing, sans tummy-rumbling bubbles. 398 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480-968-9112, cafeboa.com.  
4. Verde Bloody Mary at Windsor: Part of Windsor’s $5 bloody bar, this spicy take on the brunch classic gets its healthful color from poblano, jalapeño and roasted Anaheim chiles, with cucumber and watercress to quiet the heat. 5223 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-279-1111, windsoraz.com.
5. Prickly Pear Mimosa at TQLA: Sweet cactus syrup brings out the subtle fruit notes in Whitecliff sparkling wine. 1840 S. Val Vista Dr., Mesa, 480-813-8752, tqla.com.

Best Dive Bars
1. Little Woody: More hipster speakeasy than shady no-sign bar, this hidden gem from The Vig’s Tucker Woodbury combines the comfort trappings of a pub (think darts, wood beams and cheap brews) with masculine, old-school cocktails and affordable top-shelf pours. 4228 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix.
2. Shady’s Fine Ales and Cocktails: A working jukebox and vinyl booths make this dark, retro haunt a suitable home for well-crafted vintage libations. 2701 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 602-956-8998.     
3. Rips Ales & Cocktails: Known for industrial music nights and funky themed parties, the family-owned Rips offers darts, pool and classic drinks priced to match the, er, “historic” wood panel bar and chromed bar stools. 3045 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602-266-0015, ripsbar.weebly.com   
4. Yucca Tap Room: Billiards? Check. Live music? Near daily. But the biggest draw here is the adjacent tap room with 200+ bottled brews, 28 taps and whiskey selections to rival a Wild West saloon. 29 W. Southern Ave., Tempe, 480-967-4777, yuccatap.com.
5. Jupe’s: A true neighborhood sports joint, where everyone remembers your name (and the score of the big game) even after a dozen $2.25 happy hour pints. 2655 W. Guadalupe Rd. #32, Mesa, 480-897-1006.

Best Brewery/Tap House
1. Arizona Wilderness Brewing: With a warm, outdoorsy lodge feel and creative beers like lemon pepper saison and paprika-tinged Pusch Ridge Porter, it’s no wonder homebrewer Jonathan Buford’s suds shop nabbed Ratebeer.com’s Best New Brewery award (2013). 721 N. Arizona Ave., Gilbert, 480-284-9863, azwbeer.com.
2. Mother Bunch Brewing: The only equal to Mother’s eclectic rotating tap selection – ranging from cherry scented Pie Hole Porter to malty, housemade IPA – is the high quality of comfort eats like tangy beer mac and balsamic burgers. 825 N. 7th St., Phoenix, 602-368-3580, motherbunchbrew.com.  
3. Angel’s Trumpet Ale House: This sleek, modern adaptive reuse project offers an excellent rotating selection of 31 craft brews (including two nitro taps), with just five feet between keg and spout. 810 N. 2nd St., Phoenix, 602-252-2630, angelstrumpetalehouse.com.
4. Fate Brewing Co: Always a new experience, Steve McFate’s tiny brewhouse churns out fun, small-batch brews that surprise – for example, a hearty purple saison made with 30 pounds of fresh beets. 7337 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-994-1275, fatebrewing.com.
5. Desert Eagle Brewing: Yet another amazing homebrewer-owned taproom, Desert Eagle is big on crisp, refreshing brews ranging from a light blonde made with Pacific Northwest barley to the 12% ABV oatmeal IPA that knocks guests off their feet. 150 W. Main St., Mesa, 480-656-2662, deserteaglebrewing.com.

Top 5 Classic Cocktail Spots
1. The Duce: With cocktail birthdates printed on the menu, hep cats enjoy swing dance and vintage libations here including Harvey Wallbangers and a circa-1928 basil gimlet. 525 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-866-3823, theducephx.com.    
2. The Gladly: The successor to Citizen Public House, The Gladly’s take on classics – such as a signature Manhattan with Russell’s Reserve bourbon and Guinness maple syrup – are anything but stodgy. 2201 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-759-8132, thegladly.com.
3. Second Story Liquor Bar: Whiskey guru John Christie’s classy cocktail program spans the decades, from early entries like an absinthe-laced Sazerac to a floral gin fizz and sweet yet potent Corpse Reviver. 4166 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-945-5555, secondstoryliquorbar.com.
4. Durant’s: Proving that sometimes it’s best to return to the beginning, bartenders at this 60+ year old fine dining joint can whip up nearly any Rat Pack Era drink imaginable on the fly. 2611 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-264-5967, durantsaz.com.
5. Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour: B&T pays homage to its location in the historic Luhrs building with a multi-page menu of swanky cocktails such as The Vesper, featured in Ian Fleming’s 1953 James Bond novel Casino Royale, and a fruity Singapore Sling. 1 West Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602-340-1924, bitterandtwistedaz.com

Photo by Chadwick FowlerTop 5 Mojitos
1. Mojito at Havana Cafe: The classic combination of rum, mint, sugar, lime juice, club soda and bitters offers an authéntico taste of Cuba at this homey cafe. 6245 E. Bell Rd., Scottsdale, 480-991-1496, havanacafe-az.com
2. Mojito Classic at The Breadfruit & Rum Bar: Matusalem Platino rum, created with the solera technique of combining rums from different stages of the aging process, elevates the mojito at Phoenix's rum hub. 108 E. Pierce St., Phoenix, 602-267-1266, thebreadfruit.com
3. Mojito at Hanny's: The bartenders at Hanny's mix a strong drink, and this blend of Bacardi Limon and Gosling's dark rums, agave nectar and bracing ginger ale is no exception. 40 N. First St., Phoenix, 602-252-2285, hannys.net
4. Garden Mojito at The Parlor Pizzeria: The minty-fresh mojito gets an even more invigorating boost with the addition of basil and cucumber from the Parlor's garden. 1916 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-248-2480, theparlor.us
5. Barrel Mojito at Barrel Grill & Modern Saloon: Cuba meets cowboy with this multi-culti mojito, served in a Mason jar-inspired goblet with a sugarcane swizzle stick. 15703 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria, 623-776-2429, barrelgrill.com  

Top 5 Mocktails
1. Elderflower Press at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour: Floral, fragrant elderflowers give the herbal punch of a liqueur sans the alcohol in this elegantly refreshing draft. 1 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602-340-1924, bitterandtwistedaz.com
2. Raspberry Mule at Last Drop at the Hermosa Inn: You can have your copper mug and drink it, too, with fresh lime juice, raspberries and ginger jazzing up this dry mule. 5532 N. Palo Cristi Rd., Paradise Valley, 602-955-7878, hermosainn.com/lons/last-drop-bar/
3. Hangover RX at True Food Kitchen: Even teetotalers will delight in this “remedy,” a sweet and soothing tropical mélange of coconut water, pineapple juice, orange juice and vanilla. 15191 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-265-4500, truefoodkitchen.com. Other location: Phoenix (602-774-3488)
4. Hibiscus Cooler at Pomegranate Kitchen: Hibiscus flowers, berry tea and coconut sugar take pomegranate juice to the next level in this seasonal sip, with tantalizingly tangy and sweet results. 4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix, 480-706-7472, pomegranatecafe.com
5. Fruit Mocktails at Sala Thai: Pick your tropical poison, with mango, strawberry, banana and coconut slurries, or turn your favorite milk tea into a creamy mocktail. 7448 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, 623-435-6949, salathaiaz.com. Other location: Phoenix (602-971-1293)

Photo by Chadwick FowlerBest Old Fashioneds
1. District American Kitchen & Wine Bar: The Woodford Reserve bourbon in the Arizona Hickory Smoked Old Fashioned makes spicy-sweet mixology matrimony with Singh Farms local honeycomb. $12. 320 N. Third St., Phoenix, 602-817-5400, districtrestaurant.com
2. Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour: An angostura and orange bitters-infused sugar cube and perfectly unobtrusive custom ice cubes elevate the Buffalo Trace bourbon-based Old Fashioned at this hip tipple hangout. $10. 1 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602-340-1924, bitterandtwistedaz.com
3. Second Story Liquor Bar: Old Grand Dad 100-proof whiskey, bottled in bond, gives this Old Fashioned newfound glory. The balcony view and complementary caramelized cashew popcorn are also winners. $12. 4166 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-945-5555, secondstoryliquorbar.com
4. The Duce: “Produce meets Prohibition” in this refurbished warehouse, where the super-smooth Old Fashioned is based with Makers Mark bourbon, muddled with organic orange and cherry and sweetened with agave. $10. 525 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-866-3823, theducephx.com
5. The Upton: The Upton's twist on the Old Fashioned, “Sunday in the Park,” includes Lillet Blanc, which gives the George Dickel bourbon-based drink myriad mulled herb and fruit flavors. $12. 7216 E. Shoeman Ln., Scottsdale, 480-991-6887, theuptonaz.com

Best Martinis
1. Durant's: The martini here – gin, vermouth and green olive garnish – is as classic as the Mad Men-esque environs, yet not as subdued as 60-year-old Durant's black buttoned leather booths and red flocked wallpaper. Destination drinking at its finest. $12. 2611 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-264-5967, durantsaz.com
2. Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour: English gin and Russian vodka get along fantastically in The Vesper, their relationship facilitated by French apertif Lillet Blanc and lemon twist garnish. It's like the United Nations of libations. $11. 1 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602-340-1924, bitterandtwistedaz.com
3. Blue Martini Lounge: Garnished with a blue glow stick, Blue Martini's namesake 'tini is more than just a Smurftastic looker, thanks to the deeply fruity fusion of Van Gogh Blue Vodka, Blue Curacao and orange juice. $12.50. 5455 E. High St., Scottsdale, 480-638-2583, bluemartinilounge.com
4. AZ 88: One of the first high-end cocktail lounges in the Valley, AZ 88 makes many mean martinis, but the Aviation flies high with its blend of Nolet's Gin, maraschino liqueur and crème de violette. $13.50. 7353 Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, 480-994-5576, az88.com
5. Hanny's: Appletinis are all well and good, but the lesser-known Peartini at Hanny's didn't fall far from the tree of perfection. D'Anjou-dappled Grey Goose La Poire vodka meets Amaraetto Disaronno with lemon juice, and they live happily ever after. $9. 40 N. First St., Phoenix, 602-252-2285, hannys.net

Photo by Chadwick FowlerExtended Mixologist Q&A: Jason Asher
Jason Asher

Scottsdale native Jason Asher, deemed GQ magazine’s “most inspired bartender” 
of 2010, is informally known as the father of Phoenix mixology, thanks to pioneering the influential culinary cocktail program at Sanctuary Resort’s Jade Bar. We caught up with the former culinary student, now director of craft spirits and mixology for distributor Young’s Market Company, to discuss his pedigree, culinary techniques and the city’s newest craft cocktail lounge.   

What were your goals in creating the cocktail program at Jade Bar at Sanctuary Resort? Was there anything like it in town at the time?
“For that first year, we really just kept those wheels turning. We didn't do much, we didn't change much. About a year in was when we decided we had our feet underneath us and we were ready to go, so let's take this culinary approach to crafting great drinks. And obviously, if you know Jade Bar – Elements and Sanctuary resort in general – we were doing 300 to 400 cocktails a night, in some cases. To do that many handcrafted cocktails, you really have to think about the speed of service, and finding ways to still incorporate amazing flavors without compromising the integrity of the drink or your technique or any of the things that I view to be very important when building a cocktail... over a very short period of time – two years – we became a pretty well-known and well-respected [program]. We got accolades in every major culinary publication in the country.”

What's your culinary background?
“I grew up out here, and when I finished school, I went to ASU and when I finished that, I decided that architecture was definitely not something I was super in love with. I wouldn't say it was that architecture was not lovable; it was that I didn't have a whole lot of patience. And architecture takes a lot of time and patience. At that young age, I hadn't really mastered that part of my world yet, so I chose to go the culinary route, because I'd bartended my way through college, starting at 18 years old, and worked my way through a lot of different bars. I worked at a lot of different places. I was really one of the few who was responsible at a young age, so I found myself in management pretty quickly. I loved it, and I decided that I was going to go to culinary school. I picked up, moved to San Francisco... and began to get a degree in the culinary arts, and fell in love with it. I loved it. I never had any dream of becoming some world-class Food Network-style star chef. I think that if it happened, that would be awesome, but that really wasn't my goal. My goal, while falling in love with the bar side of what I was doing, was to eventually own a restaurant, and I felt in order to own a restaurant, you have to know everything. And though I could cook, I didn't know the fundamental principles of actually cooking. Yeah, we hold a knife, but are we holding it right? I'm cutting this up, but what does this mean? How do you take a chicken and properly break it down into pieces? All these questions, I didn't have answers to. How does the chef create food costs, and what part of the business side of what I know can I implement into the kitchen side of it, so I'm a much more well-rounded individual to gain a better job or own my place? So that's really why I went to culinary school.

I [left San Francisco] in 2004 or 2005, and I went to some weird restaurants all over the country – and again, bartending to pay the bills – I came back to Arizona, and I had this vision of doing culinary-style drinks. Bartending was something I was really good at, and cooking was something I was really good at. Talking to the same three people every day of my life on the line did not sound entertaining to me. So I naturally went and found my way into a bar, and they said, 'If you know a lot of people, we'll hire you.' And I said, 'Yeah, I know a lot of people, but can we do it this way – this cocktail thing?' And they said 'If you want to buy and bring in your own ingredients, that's fine.' [I said] 'Can I put it on the menu?' [They said] 'No.' Well, damn. So I went over to Sanctuary because I said to myself, 'If anybody can afford a cocktail program, it's a resort,' right? And Sanctuary was not a corporate place. It was a very unique property – family-owned, family-operated – and every bit of the three and a half years I was there, that's really how I felt. Even when I go back there now, it's still like going over to my family's house. I'll sit down with [Chef] Beau [MacMillan], with the bartenders or whoever's around, and it's just like we haven't skipped a beat. So I went there and applied for a job, and they said, 'OK, that sounds great. We'll call you in eight months.' Again, I figured, that's another 'Thank you, but no thank you.'… So I went and worked in catering, believe it or not, and hated every minute of it. I learned more in that six months than I learned working in any kitchen. The concept of mass production is a whole other ball of wax. You really have to learn how to take a high quality and product and make it look just like it looks when you make it right there on the stove, but you have to do it outside, on the sidewalk, with a portable burner. It was crazy. I learned a lot. While I was there, eight months later, the phone rang and it was Sanctuary. They said, 'OK, we're ready.”

How do you feel about the “father of Phoenix mixology” label?
“I'm very humbled by that – I think it's great. I think that statement you said, it does definitely hold some weight in this community out here – not necessarily with the actual bartending community, but more so with the restaurateur community. Walking into a restaurant that is looking for some help – and that's what I've done for the last three and half years – walk into a restaurant and say... 'Who do you want to be? Let me help write that road map to get you there.' That's my job. And because of those accolades and working at Sanctuary and all the things that have happened since 2007, when it all started, I can walk into those accounts and they listen.”

What are some of the culinary principles you use to create your cocktails?
“I use a lot of culinary techniques, things like sous vide. We all know what sous vide is. You never really see it applied in the cocktail world, but I use it all the time. You can do rapid infusions in nine minutes. If I want to take, for example, a vodka and infuse it with say, cilantro, I could put it in a very, very low temp roll for nine minutes and it would come out bright green and taste like cilantro. So that's one technique. Taking a look at historical spirits – I'm going to get back into the tools I use, but I'm gonna talk a little more technique right now – looking at things we use all the time. A common ingredient you see on menus around the country is Apple Jack... it's an apple spirit... if you look at the history of that, you find it's called 'jacking' – that's how they used to make it, that's where the term 'apple jack' comes from. Another term for it would be 'freeze distillation.' So essentially, they would allow apples to ferment, and alcohol would start to be produced inside the fruit, and when they would freeze it, the alcohol would not freeze, and they would leech it out, so you would have this hillbilly moonshine, or 'jack.' Apple Jack. So that technique – if you think about the science behind it, what's happening is, the juice that is freezable inside the apple is beginning to freeze and rupture cell walls as the ice crystals form. Those crystals allow it to leech the juice out of it. If we take frozen fruit – let's say blueberries – and I put them into bourbon, because it was frozen fruit, the crystals have ruptured the cell walls and they're frozen, so the minute it starts to thaw, it rapidly infuses the spirit. I can do a full fruit infusion that way, without having to have a cooked fruit flavor – because when you cook fruit, it obviously changes the flavor – I can do that in 24 hours, when it normally takes a week, at least, to do a fruit infusion.”

What can you tell me about the bar you're opening with Micah Olsen?
“Well, that was shot down because it is illegal for me to do that. So I'm super bummed. I'm still gonna help. Micah and I are gonna be working with Peter Kasperski on that project, and that bar's still gonna open. It's just... we can barely be there. I might guest-bartend one night a month or something, to help out, but that's about it.”

Is it a conflict of interest with your employer?
“Basically, the liquor bar said I could own up to 10 percent, I just can't work there. But I gotta tell you the story on this place. This place is amazing. So I went into Cowboy Ciao earlier this week, and Peter's there, and he hands me this piece of paper... so I read it, and it's an obituary of this fictitious individual that once lived in New Orleans. And it is the beginning of what Counterintuitive is all about. Counterintuitive is the name of the place, and it's all about a time or a place or a person or a thing – it's a noun. And he wrote this obituary – and let me pause for a minute and digress – he went to a bunch of thrift shops and antique stores and bought a whole bunch of stuff that was really interesting, and then he wrote the story about this guy's life, his obituary, around the items that he bought. And they will be selling all the items over the next couple months at what they're calling an estate sale, and then in May, that will be his funeral procession, and they'll throw a party and celebrate this guy's life. And then it'll start over, and it will be something else. So it might be – he made it sound like this: 'Detroit in 2042.' A place or a time. It can be any of these things… Micah will be there to pioneer this program for the first couple months, until they open their next restaurant. I'll be there a little bit here and there to help out when I can.”

More Pour Women
Female mixologists Kim Haasarud (co-founder of Arizona Cocktail Week, owner of cocktail consulting firm Liquid Architecture, Redbook's Mommy Mixologist), Julie Hillebrand (resident mixologist, J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician) and Stephanie Teslar (head mixologist, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails and LUSTRE rooftop garden at the Hotel Palomar) spill on everything from the offensiveness of “girl drinks” to their personal cocktail philosophies.

Being a Woman in a Male-Dominated Field
“It's interesting because I work with a lot of national accounts [big chains, hotels and restaurants]. I do see a lot of women in those beverage director roles, which is good. However, I would probably say their scale of pay and what is expected of them is much different than a male role. Even though they have the same role, there might be a higher pay grade with men and the men might get an assistant or a little more help or a bigger expense account than the females. That's what I've witnessed.” - Kim Haasarud

“I think it's important to offer people an opportunity regardless of gender. To specifically hire one way or the other is wrong. People with that mindset, I don't know that you can really change them anyway... I've always been that weird girl, so maybe I'm totally oblivious to it. I've always had guy friends. I'm going to come to work and I'm going to bring my game with me. I love to make drinks and I'd hate to pour a bad one and get a bad reputation for making terrible cocktails.” - Julie Hillebrand

“I've always associated myself with a neutral gender role in the workplace. I've worked in a lot of professions that were very male-dominated and I think it's more so my personality type. I enjoy those types of worlds... It's not something that I think about a lot on a daily basis – the fact that I'm a woman doing something in a male-dominated profession.” - Stephanie Teslar

The Female Perspective
“Having a female point of view is really good because when you talk about cocktails at restaurants, who is ordering the cocktails is primarily females, so it's really good to be able to speak to that. I think sometimes there's a lot of assumptions made in what women drink and sometimes people have the tendency to think, 'Oh, they're only drinking those fluffy sweet drinks.' It's not always true.” - Kim Haasarud

“They say a lot of women have a more sensitive palate and olfactory system. Some of the best winemakers are women. It's pretty neat.” - Julie Hillebrand

“Most of the time I don't really think about it too much. I've always associated myself with, I guess, a neutral gender role in the workplace. I've worked in a lot of professions that were very male-dominated and I think it's more so my personality type. I enjoy those types of worlds... I think honestly women are naturally better listeners than men can be sometimes and that's obviously not 100 percent of the time. But I feel like by being a woman, you're a little more sensitive to people's needs and slightly more observant, especially emotionally toward your guests and even your other staff members... I feel like men are always a little more open to talking to women and there's not that whole guy-to-guy kind of feeling-each-other-out thing. We're not as much of a threat and we're not as much of an opposing force.” - Stephanie Teslar

“Girl Drinks”
“It drives me crazy [drink stereotyping]. Not all women like syrupy sweet frozen drinks with whipped cream, but if that's all that you're giving them then maybe the stereotype kind of feeds on itself.” - Kim Haasarud

“It's somebody who's trying to express what they like, and that's more information than you get sometimes. It's always easier to serve someone when you have an idea of what they like. 'My wife likes really fruity drinks.' I try to take one of those classics, maybe a lemon drop, and doctor it up for them a little bit and give them something maybe more complex than what they're used to. To be able to reintroduce a cocktail to someone is also really fun.” - Julie Hillebrand

“I hate to say it, but we are a very physically controlled city and appearances matter to a lot of people [so] a lot of women are driven toward lighter spirits like vodka. For caloric reasons, really. Because people are telling them to drink light. That really does have an influence. And it's sad to say because when you do that, you strip away the essence of a really great cocktail. I hate the terms 'girl drink' and 'guy drink' because I am a woman and I like to drink things that I know a lot of my male friends would never touch. In essence I think everyone has a palate to enjoy everything, but gender stereotypes do come in a lot as far as drinks. I feel like guys grow up with their dads drinking bourbon and women grow up with their moms drinking Bloody Marys or wine.” - Stephanie Teslar

Cocktail Philosophies
“I very much approach it from a seasonal point of view. I'll go to my farmers' market, I'll go to my produce section at the grocery store and I'll just look to see what's fresh and ripe and build the drink around that. Once I start with the fresh ingredient, it's easy to use that as my base and work around it. Start with the ingredient first. Our local farmers' market is such a treasure trove of such amazing things. I found jam and preserve makers which have mind-blowing things... different varietals of herbs and mints. I get a lot of inspiration from farm-fresh ingredients.” - Kim Haasarud

I love old classics and I love fresh flavors... People who have never met me before and have one of my cocktails have mentioned, 'Oh, this has such balance.' I find that to be such a really wonderful compliment. I have a lot of really nice people come sit at my bar... Part of the fun of my job is tailoring a cocktail to someone's particular palate. What do you feel like drinking today? What kind of flavors? Is there anything you have a particular aversion to? To make my guests happy is great. As a bartender that's what I go for.” - Julie Hillebrand

“My drinks are very culinary-driven, so a lot of my cocktails involve things that we need to prep in the kitchen. It's more like a produce- and vegetable-driven cocktail menu. I wouldn't say it's too much of nouveau or too much classic – it's in between. I like simplistic, but I like the juxtaposition of flavor. I like a cocktail that is so intriguing to you that you don't quite understand it, so it makes you want to take another sip because you don't know exactly what you're tasting. Where it's so multilayered that at first you taste one thing and it takes you on a journey. ” - Stephanie Teslar

Women and Whiskey
“A lot of women like whiskey. Even though it's a big trend right now, people have been drinking whiskey for years. One of the seminars at Arizona Cocktail Week this year is 'Women: The Old Masters of Whiskey.' It was actually women who invented a lot of these spirits, including whiskey.” - Kim Haasarud

Working Moms
“It has to be supportive. I've got a 5- and a 7-year-old, but I've found ways to include them. In talking about balance, they have mini cocktail shakers or Mason jars and we'll do shakers and make lemonade. I get a kick when my son is making lemonade and he says, 'Mom, this is off-balance.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, you're right.'” - Kim Haasarud

“My baby girl has gone to USBG meetings already. We're pretty West Coast out here, so it's a little bit lax. It's family-friendly. I've just been really lucky.” - Julie Hillebrand

Sexism
“If you go somewhere where your uniform is a bra basically, or a vest with no shirt underneath or hot pants, that's what it's going to be. It's really hard to get respect when you're put in a position of being a sex object. Not that I'm saying any of that's bad – I think those women have a great time. I used to do stuff like that and made tons of money – had a great night, went home and rolled around in my cash that I made. But you have to understand at the same time, you know what environment you're walking into, you know the kind of position you're putting yourself in, so you can't really expect the same level of respect or of appreciation as you would in other situations.” - Stephanie Teslar

The Craft Cocktail Scene vs. The Club Scene
“I feel like Scottsdale has grown up with its roots of like hot female bartenders that get you super drunk and it's then more a club scene. The club scene vs. the cocktail scene is very different. It really depends on your area and the kind of bar you're going to. If you're in a craft cocktail bar and you see a female behind the bar, I think there's absolutely no stigma attached to that. I think people are very comfortable, very welcoming and very friendly to them.” - Stephanie Teslar

The Best Mai Tai in the World – Literally
Bar Crudo mixologist Michael Soo made history last year when he won the world Mai Tai competition in Kona, Hawaii – the first mainlander to do so since the competition's establishment in 2009. Soo earned worldwide tiki cred and took home $10,000 for his fruity, floral and creative A Hui Hou. He was kind enough to share his award-winning recipe with us.

A Hui Hou
(Hawaiian for “Until We Meet Again”)

Ingredients:
1 ½ oz. Sammy's Beach Bar Rum

½ oz. Hawaiian dark rum

1 ½ oz. strawberry lilikoi juice (comes combined in the can)

½ oz. fresh pineapple juice

½ oz. fresh lime juice

½ oz. orgeat syrup

1 pinch fresh grated ginger root

Lilikoi Foam (homemade, see recipe below)

Fresh flower garnish



Lilikoi Foam
2 oz. lilikoi purée

2 oz. sugar

4 oz. water

bar spoon xanthan gum



To make foam:
Combine all ingredients into iSi Gourmet Whip, and shake vigorously for 30-45 seconds.
Charge iSi Gourmet Whip with N2O charging canister and shake vigorously for 30-45 seconds.
Place iSi Gourmet Whip on ice or in a cooler to keep cool. If the iSi Gourmet Whip has been sitting for more than 15-20 minutes, shake before use.



Building the cocktail:

Combine first seven ingredients in a mixing tin. Add cubed ice and shake vigorously for approximately 15 seconds. Double-strain cocktail into a Mai Tai or Old Fashioned (8-10 oz. capacity) glass filled with fresh cubed ice. Top the drink with approximately ½ an inch of pre-made Lilikoi Foam. Place fresh flower garnish on top of foam, slightly off from center. Serve drink to your guest.

Soo's Inspiration:
“This cocktail was derived from the home island of my beautiful girlfriend. I was lucky enough to visit Maui in July of 2013, and was able to visit many different parts of the island. While I was there, I noticed that the native Hawaiians were very proud of their fresh ingredients, and I wanted to bring that notion to this cocktail. To keep this drink as Hawaiian as possible, I sourced the dark rum from Maui and Sammy's Beach Bar Rum is made at Hali'imaile Distillery. Tiki drinks are a passion of mine, and I wanted to bring that passion to this cocktail. When this cocktail is placed in front of the guest, it stimulates the visual senses first, and the olfactory senses are very quick to follow. The fresh flower garnish gives the guest the knowledge that this cocktail was specially crafted for that particular person. As the guest brings the drink to their lips, they inhale the wonderful aromas from the lilikoi foam and the scent of the fresh flower. With the first sip, the palate is stimulated with more lilikoi and as the guest completes the first taste, the earthy notes from Sammy's Beach Bar rum become apparent. This drink is meant to be enjoyed on the beach, with some light appetizers, or just in the comfort of one's own home. Mai Tai originated from 'Maita'i,' the Tahitian word for 'good.' But this drink will leave you thinking it is 'No Ka Oi' or 'The Best.' Maui, thank you for the memories, and 'A hui hou.'”