Dining Guide | The Bourbon Boom: 7 Spots to get reacquainted
Every so often, everything old is new again, as they say. Perhaps while some are looking to find the next best thing, the more resourceful folks know that trends come and go but there are some things that never lose their gleam and this affects more than just fashion. When it comes to cocktails and liquors there are obvious trends that pop up every now and then. There are certain pop culture influences at play as well; Carrie Bradshaw had her Cosmos, James Bond his martinis and Don Draper and his ad exec pals have their bourbon. Whether you are looking to have your bourbon paired with your meal or somewhere within the creation of your dish here are some suggestions on how to add a little piece of Americana to your night out.
3717 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
The chef-driven menu and community focused outlook doesn’t stop with entrees. The care of crafting the cocktail menu is equally focused on the local sourcing of ingredients. Their menu features a Farm to Glass Cocktail called The Murphy, named after William J. Murphy who is credited with planting the first citrus in our state. The cocktail base is a charred lemonade using Arizona lemons, bourbon, Four Peaks peach ale and hibiscus liquor. The drink is a refreshing libation, perfect for sipping on as the temperatures start to creep up.
3603 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
Chef Cullen Campbell has created a unique restaurant with his particular spin in Italian dishes and that creativity doesn’t stop at the bar. Micah Olson is an award winning mixologist and a stand out in the Valley, gaining accolades at each restaurant destination he’s landed at while in Arizona. The specialty cocktails that he creates boast house made syrups, house infused sprits and from scratch ingredients. Take the No Name, a clever blend of Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon, Montenegro, Bonal, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram and Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters served in a chilled coupe class. The orange peel and coriander from the Montenegro and the allspice play off of the citrus nose of the bourbon.
4750 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Maizie’s has been successful in creating a sort of urban mecca, constructing a menu of approachable and delightful offerings. Maizie’s resident mixologist has quickly made a name for himself leading the behind the bar magic. Evan has mastered an innovative take on the Old Fashioned, called the New Fashioned, obviously. This drink is constructed with locally distilled bourbon, Bittermans Hiver Amer liquor, muddled orange, homemade raw honey and finished with a maraschino cherry. The cinnamon of the Bitterman’s adds an added level of warmth to this treasured cocktail.
2201 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
The Gladly is host to monthly cocktail pairing dinners, with different mixologists in the Valley. Each dinner will feature guest chefs and a specific leader in the world of spirits. The house and guest chefs will work together to craft the menu to ensure that the cocktails and course options are presented with a perfect marriage of flavor and cohesion. A recent example of these artful beverages would be Micah’s cocoa nib infused Breaking & Entering Bourbon with dry sherry, orgeat, lemon, smoked paprika and finished with an expressed lemon peel.
The Clever Koi
4236 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
You may not associate Bourbon with a Chinese-American focused restaurant, but The Clever Koi is full of surprises. Traditional Chinese dishes are given modern American touches, from their dumplings to their noodle dishes. The beverage director and part owner, Joshua James, has a storied resume that has allowed him to create edgy and exciting cocktail creations. Here the Sloe Burn, a take on the Sloe Gin Fizz, mixes Old Scout Bourbon, Plymouth Sloe Gin, shiso and Thai Bird honey is a refreshing and light drink. The shiso adds an aromatic pizazz to the drink, making it anything but traditional. Looking for a little sparkle in your cocktail? Order the CB4, created with Four Rose’s Bourbon, Chainbreaker IPA Cordial along with lemon and lime.
The Parlor Pizzeria
1916 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
You surely know about the magnificent pizza being served up at The Parlor daily, but did you also know that resident mixologist, Michael Allmandinger is crafting award-winning cocktails? Michael is creating artful cocktails using fresh herbs, artisan bitters, and a beautiful design element. The Bourbon Manhattan allows for the use of the best bourbon and bitters. If you prefer to incorporate your booze with dessert, be sure to try the zeppole. You’ll receive 6 adorable fried, puffed and sugar dusted dough balls served with a tipsy Maker’s Mark mascarpone.
5223 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
This neighborhood bar, tucked in the historical Windsor district, feels much like visiting a friend’s home; friends who are brilliant in the kitchen as well as behind the bar. You’ll find classic cocktails with an upscale twist here. The cocktails here are numbered, so if you’re looking for a specific drink, you can ask your wait staff and they can lead you down the right path. Looking for the perfect Whiskey Sour? Order up a No. 63, served with Kentucky Bourbon, fresh grapefruit and a sweet honey syrup.
*This article, written by Taryn Jeffries, was originally featured in the May 2014 issue of Uptown Magazine.*