An Arizona distillery is making a name for themselves on the spirits and distillery map. As repeat winners of the Arizona Distillery of the Year, Arizona Craft Beverage also is celebrating their gold medal winning Arizona Straight Bourbon from Elgin Distillery.
It was the second Distillery of the Year awarded from the New York Spirits Competition to Arizona Craft Beverage, Arizona’s first licensed distillery. The award was announced in May.
Their Arizona Straight Bourbon started collecting gold medals across the country, first at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition then in New York where the Distillery of the Year was also awarded. Then back west to the Los Angeles International Spirits competition for their 3 gold medal.
In limited distribution around Arizona, the bourbon retails for $65 (375 ml) the bourbon and can be found at the distillery, as well as Total Wine, Old Town Ale House in Casa Grande, Lucidi in Peoria and Hacienda Del Sol in Tucson.
When we hear the word “Nirvana” we automatically think of the “grunge rock” band of the 1990’s. Definitions of the word slightly vary but many consider it the “ultimate state of happiness” which is what the culinary and marketing team at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa are hoping for as they were brainstorming for a name of their new culinary festival.
An exciting 4 days is planned from April 27th- 30th as festival goers will be able to mix & mingle with celebrity chefs Todd English, Robert Irvine and Sanctuary’s own Beau MacMillan as they team up with other visiting chefs and Phoenix area chefs, wine makers and mixologists for themed dinners, tastings and a golf tournament.
With our beautiful weather and sunsets you may want to turn the festival into a vacation and stay at Sanctuary in one of their suites, casitas or a private home. A 2 night minimum is required and rooms start $479 per night plus tax & resort fee.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased at http://www.nirvanafoodandwine.com/ with the schedule of events below. Part of the proceeds from the festival will benefit HopeKids, an organization that provides events and support for families with a child who has cancer or other life threatening diseases.
Hosted by celebrity chef and television personality Robert Irvine and local celebrity mixologist Jason Asher, owner of Counter Intuitive and Undertow
Thursday, April 27, 7-10 p.m.; Infinity Pool and Lawn; $125 per person
Torch will kick-off the festival with a poolside Polynesian fantasy. Mixologists will compete at eight stations, as guests rub shoulders with an esteemed panel of judges to select winners of the Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice awards.
Birds and Bubbles
Hosted by chef, restaurateur, author and television personality Todd English
Friday, April 28, 7-10 p.m.; The Views Ballroom, Lawn; $135 per person, $225 VIP
Fried chicken and Champagne come together in an inspired pairing as guest chefs put their own spin on the southern specialty, complete with side dishes and bubbly. The all-star local line-up includes Stephen Jones (The Larder + The Delta and Homeboy’s Hotsauce), Cullen Campbell (Crudo and Okra), Justin Beckett (Southern Rail), Jeremy Pacheco (LON’s at The Hermosa Inn), Gio Osso (Virtù at The Bespoke Inn) and Beau MacMillan. They will be joined by visiting chefs from Palm Beach, Fla.: Clay Conley (Buccan and Grato) and Lindsay Autry (The Regional Kitchen & Public House). Festival-goers who book VIP admission enjoy personal time for 45 minutes with their favorite chefs.
American country singer/songwriter D. Vincent Williams & the Nashville Allstars, whose “Just Got Started Lovin’ You,” sung by Otto James, topped the country charts in 2008, will provide live entertainment throughout the evening. His songs have also been recorded by major artists like Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Ricky Skaggs, and Rascal Flatts (“I’m Movin’ On”).
Master of Taste honoring Chuck Wagner
Friday, April 28, 7-10 p.m.; Casa Seven; $350 per person; limited availability
Chuck Wagner, owner and winemaker of Caymus Vineyards, and scion of the legendary Napa Valley vintner family, will be the guest of honor at an intimate dinner at one of Sanctuary’s elegant private estate homes. The evening will showcase the exceptional vintages of the Wagner Family of Wine and three generations of winemaking talent. Preparing the feast will be local chefs Christopher Gross (Christopher’s and Crush), Matt Carter (Fat Ox and The Mission), Mark Tarbell (Tarbell’s and Tarbell’s Tavern), and Beau MacMillan.
Saturday, April 29, 10:30 a.m. registration and 12 noon tee; Mountain Shadows; $400 per player
Each foursome will be paired with a renowned chef, star mixologist or notable sports figure at this fun-filled celebrity golf tournament being played at the long-awaited Mountain Shadows course at the base of Camelback Mountain. Plenty of food, beer and spirits will round out an unforgettable day on the links.
Best of the West
Hosted by chef/restauranteur (Mora Italian) and Chopped judge Scott Conant
Saturday, April 29, 7-10 p.m.; Praying Monk and elements restaurant; $145 per person, $225 VIP
Sanctuary’s signature restaurant, elements, and its indoor/outdoor Praying Monk venue will be the setting for Nirvana’s final evening event. More than a dozen elegant restaurant stations will be manned by celebrated chefs from throughout the West, including James Porter (Terra Farm + Manor), Samantha Sanz (Talavera at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Troon North), Sean Currid (Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails) and Beau MacMillan. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs.
New Orleans Jazz & Bourbon Brunch
Sunday, April 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; elements; $85 per person
Nirvana will come to a rousing finale with a N’Awlins-style jazz brunch complete with live music and a Bourbon twist, serving up everything from étouffée to feather-light beignets at this fun sit-down event.
You already know that Hopdoddy Burger Bar serves good burgers but did you know they also serve handcrafted milkshakes and cocktails at their full service bar. All 3 of these components are part of Hopdoddy’s success and on April 5 they will be introducing a seasonal burger, milkshake and cocktail.
For a limited time guests will be able to order the Double Stack Burger and Purple Rain Shake until April 18th and High + Rye Cocktail until May 2nd.
The Double Stack Burger ($10) will be made with two freshly ground Angus beef and onion patties topped with melted Swiss and cheddar, sassy sauce and tangy chipotle ketchup, proving two patties are better than one.
The Purple Rain Shake ($6) features house made blueberry compote swirled to perfection with toasted hazelnuts, vanilla spiced ice cream and a touch of sea salt, this naturally purple shake pays homage to the beloved rock star, Prince, in both color and name.
The High + Rye is made with local rye bourbon, house made ginger syrup, honey water, fresh squeezed lime juice, and topped with a piece of sweet and spicy candied ginger.
To taste these seasonal menu items or any of the other burgers, shakes and more hurry down to the 2 Phoenix area Hopdoddy’s in Scottsdale on Scottsdale Rd. north of Shea Blvd. and at 20th St. & Camelback Rd. in Phoenix. There are also plenty of Hopdoddy Burger Bar’s in Texas and southern California. http://www.hopdoddy.com/
A short bike ride from Nantucket harbor, amongst the farms and fields sits a small complex of unsuspecting barn like building that houses Cisco Brewers CiscoBrewers.com which is a distillery, a brewery and a winery. Not something you would expect on this island with its early American settlements and hub for whaling of centuries gone by, but in 2012 anything is possible, after all early settlers to this part of the country are said to have drunk more beer than water and always made room on ships for barrels of rum and other libations.
On a recent visit I got to meet some of the fine people who have made these business’s thrive dating as far back as 1981.
Nantucket Vineyards was the 1st of these 3 establishments. When owners Dean and Melissa Long tried to grow grapes on the island, they realized this was not going to happen they decided to source grapes for their wines from Washington, California and New York. Using old world wine making techniques and 21st century technology they are make 10 wines, a port and sangria with traditional varieties and some island favorites such as Blueberry Sangria, Cranberry Pinot Gris and Peach Viognier just to name a few. All wine are very drinkable and are refreshing on a summer’s day. Most retail for under $20. The wines are found throughout Massachusetts in restaurants and retailers and can be shipped out-of-state.
Cisco Brewers began to take shape in about 1992 when Randy and Wendy Hudson returned to the island and started home brewing. Listing 13 beers in various styles it looked like there were more available in the tasting room as they do a couple of ciders and seasonal beers as well. A few beers were tasted on this visit including the Moor Porter which has a full-bodied taste as well as some chocolate and coffee nuances. The cider was crisp and clean and went down really well on this August afternoon. Cisco beers can be found up and down the east coast in 14 states and D.C.
In 1997 Dean and Melissa applied for a spirits license in the hopes of making grappa and fruit brandies, but it wasn’t until 2000 when the license was granted making 888 Distillery a reality. Being named after the 888 well where they get their water they are making several different vodkas plus gin, bourbon and rum. Made in small batches and using natural ingredients and both the cranberry and blueberry vodkas use locally grown fruit. Despite all the spirits being above 68% proof none of those tasted came across as “hot” but well-balanced and flavorful and very obvious aromas. The Hurricane Rum, Nor’ Easter Bourbon and Gale Force Gin were all very pleasant and made my mouth water for more. Several of the vodkas have scored well in the World Spirit Championship including the original that outscored Ketel One and the distillery has garnered national press in both print and on TV.
3 of the more interesting spirits I tasted were the Pineapple Jalapeno liqueur which definitely had the kick one would expect from the spicy jalapeno that seemed dominant. To cool my mouth down I was presented with a taste of Blueberry Mint vodka which had cleansing mint taste with a hint of blueberry. What really caught my eye on the back bar was the jar of horseradish, garlic and peppercorn infused vodka which is in the experimental phase and has a dominant garlic flavor. A very popular choice for their Bloody Marys. The 888 spirits are found in most states on the eastern seaboard and D.C. and some have made their way out west to Colorado.
All 3 producers make very worthwhile libations that are worth not only your business but also a visit to their humble alcohol amusement park. Thanks to Tyler, Pete and Frazier for their hospitality and knowledge. Cisco Brewers are at 5 Bartlett Farm Rd. Nantucket, Ma. 02554 (508)325-5929