Insider Tips From Local Experts

Scottsdale Stories

Spirited Arizona

Scottsdale is home to some of the country’s best craft cocktail destinations, but to really get a taste of our local flavor, accessorize your libation with distinctly Arizonan ingredients. Here are five spots incorporating ingredients from desert harvests to award-winning spirits so you can sip and savor the Southwest in style.

 


Citizen Public House


Citizen Public House

This beloved neighborhood gastropub in Old Town supports Arizona purveyors in both the kitchen and the bar. Look for local distillers such as Grand Canyon Brewing + Distillery, which augmented its acclaimed craft beer portfolio with a lineup of small-batch spirits in 2017. Their gin, produced grain to glass in northern Arizona, shines in classics like the Negroni, where its botanicals mingle with Campari and sweet vermouth, or in the refreshing Bee's Knees combining gin, Arizona honey, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

 


Arboleda


Arboleda

Arboleda’s Mediterranean menu takes diners on a flavorful journey from Spain to Greece, and the bar program is equally globally inspired. Here the team highlights Arizona's first single malt whiskey from renowned Hamilton Distillers, a family-run distillery in Tucson, in a distinctive rendition of a traditional whiskey sour. Arboleda’s AZ Sour is a beautifully balanced union of Whiskey Del Bac’s Classic, an award-winning single malt matured in American oak in southern Arizona’s desert climate, with Cointreau Noir, honey, lemon and Angostura bitters.

 


LON’s at the Hermosa Inn


LON's

Suncliffe gin incorporates local flora such as western elderflower, manzanita, Ponderosa pine bark, and native juniper for a spirit that captures the essence of the high desert. At the historic Hermosa Inn, a seasonal cocktail menu highlights it in delights such as Tale of the G.O.A.T. Combining Suncliffe gin with Campari, sweet vermouth and Sun Orchards citrus, the colorful drink is sweetened with a syrup made in-house from fresh rosemary plucked from the property’s garden and crowned with a frothy cap of Fee bitters foam.

 


Onyx Lounge at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale


Four Seasons

Chances are those eye-catching fuchsia margaritas you see dotting tables across Scottsdale owe their hue to prickly pear, the pink barrel-shaped fruit that grows on the pads of prickly pear cactus. For the quintessential Sonoran Desert experience, indulge in the classic flavors of a margarita enhanced with prickly pear syrup on the terrace of Onyx Lounge or in the sophisticated ambiance of Talavera's dining room while enjoying Pinnacle Peak views.

 


Poppy’s Office


Poppy's Office

A tribute to family patriarch, the late Paul Keeler, this hidden gem inspired by his office reveals itself behind a swinging bookcase. Staying true to the Keelers' homage to family, the limoncello in the "Drink with Me Bebe" is made from lemons handpicked from owner Judy Keeler's backyard. This fan favorite also features Pisco (a South American brandy), tangy rosemary-caper shrub and local honey sourced from Scottsdale’s Sphinx Date Co. Palm & Pantry.

 


Bar Cena


Bar Cena

Big Marble Organics was founded in 2020 by Dwayne Allen of Breadfruit & Rum Bar, who translated his Jamaican roots into an award-winning ginger beer. Now his portfolio of organic non-alcoholic mixers also includes Extra Dry Tonic Water, Proper Lemon and Proper Hibiscus. At Bar Cena, the third Scottsdale restaurant for acclaimed chef Dom Ruggiero, the aptly named Ruby Slipper is a vibrant cocktail made with orange gin, pisco, Campari, rhubarb, strawberries and Big Marble Proper Hibiscus which is infused with Jamaican spices and hibiscus flowers (also known as Jamaican sorrel).

 


EVO


EVO

With two locations in Scottsdale, EVO entices the crowds with its modern versions of Italian classics, homemade pastas, and a carefully curated beverage menu including inventive sippers with local ingredients. Take Chelly, a limoncello-inspired liqueur which founder Nicolas Guerrieri based on a family recipe handed down through three generations. While the drink menu is frequently updated, standouts like the Chapeltini may grace it, blending Chelly's zesty citrus with Ming River baijiu (a Chinese grain spirit), lemon juice, and simple syrup.

 


Campo Italian


Campo Italian

Campo Italian’s executive chef Jeremy Pacheco has long held a reputation for championing local ranchers and farmers, and this ethos carries over to the Arizona ingredients in the liquid list. Look for expertly crafted cocktails such as First Word, made with Italicus, yellow chartreuse, lemon, raspberry and Commerce gin from AZ Distilling Co., the first Scottsdale-area distillery to legally produce liquor after Prohibition. Or quench your thirst with a refreshing Limoncello Margarita balancing Chelly Lemon liqueur with reposado tequila, lemon juice and simple syrup.

Christina Barrueta is an award-winning food, beverage and travel writer who has written for publications such as Phoenix Home and Garden, WhereTraveler, and Time Out. The author of Arizona Wine: A History of Perseverance and Passion and Phoenix Cooks cookbook, she has been inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame and recognized for awards including PHOENIX Magazine’s Best Food Blog. and Arizona Foothills magazine’s Favorite Food Website, Best Food Instagram, and Most Influential in Valley Food.