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Courtesy Bourbon & Bones

Featured Article

Aged and Smoked

Barrel-Aged Cocktails From Which to Sip and Cigar Bars at Which to Savor

The perfect cocktail and the perfect cigar have a lot in common. 

They should both be balanced, contain only the highest-quality ingredients, and ideally be made by a true artisan. Both also benefit when enjoyed somewhere special, including several restaurants and cigar bars across the Northeast Valley.

Barrel-Aged Cocktails

A key way leading local eateries create the perfect cocktail experience is to barrel age, a process by which pre-mixed spirits or drinks are expertly placed in customized barrels for weeks or months to tweak or enhance the character and flavor.

Fat Ox, for example, has the total capacity of 100 liters for barrel aging, which is mostly used for its hyper-popular negronis and manhattans.

In addition to Fat Ox, every single cocktail poured at Citizen Public House originated inside an American oak barrel with a grade-four char inside, which denotes the degree to which the wood has been burnt inside the barrel. New cocktails are made in small, 5-liter batches, and tested over an aging period of between six and eight weeks. Barrels never run dry, which makes the aging process and continuous production, through a process called solera, in which the cocktail is continuously reintroduced to the barrel before the original contents run out.

At Tarbell’s restaurant and sister concept, The Wine Store, there is a commitment to selling high-quality alcohol, and barrel-aging is a crucial step in producing aromatic, flavorful cocktails. Currently, Tarbell’s has three 55-gallon barrels aging cocktails to perfection. After three months of aging, these barrels imbue the natural flavor of the wood to the three cocktails aging in them: the Black Manhattan, the Manhattan, and the Boulevardier. The extra aging time brings out strong flavors of vanilla, rye spice, dried oak, and leather, and produces an oak-infused creamy vanilla scent.

At Bourbon & Bones, the Imperial Old Fashioned, which is a proprietary mélange of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, small batch Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, and a touch of cherry with the Luxardo Sangue Morlacco, is poured from a barrel behind the bar where it’s aged for up to two weeks.

EVO Scottsdale is also known for always having at least one barrel-aged cocktail on its menu, and walking distance from EVO, Blue Clover Distillery makes its spirits from scratch in-house, including a luxe gin that is aged in a single char white American oak barrel. Due to the flavorful characteristics of the fruit-forward botanicals, Blue Clover’s gin only needs six months to age in a properly produced oak charred barrel. Notes of smooth maple come through once the spirit is properly aged. This gin is showcased best in the distillery’s house Old Fashioned recipe, or, for those all-around spirit enthusiasts, enjoy the unadulterated taste of this barrel-aged gin by sipping it on the rocks with an orange peel.

The Craftsman Cocktails + Kitchen also features its own line of distilled spirits, including a heavenly barrel-aged Amaro, which is used in a handful of cocktails at any given time, notably The Rebirth, a vodka and blueberry centric stunner perfect for summer.

When long-term barrel-aging is not possible in-house, many venues invest in barrel-aged spirits that have already gone through a process similar to the above before coming to the venue. At Belle’s Nashville Kitchen, for example, their mixology team uses Ancient Age brand whiskey, which is aged in Old Forester Bourbon barrels to add notes of roasted pecans, thick oak, black cherries, leather and the ultimate in smoothness.

Cigar Bars

Speaking of smooth, there is nothing like enjoying the smoothest of cigars to cap a great night out after a few barrel-aged beauties.

Among the best places to enjoy a stogy is Torch Cigar Bar, a hidden gem tucked into the northeast corner of High Street. Torch is both open to members and the general public, making it a true sanctuary for all cigar aficionados in the area. It boasts 200 premium cigar options, as well as 100 whiskies, 200 spirits, and eight beer taps, wine by the glass, and bottle and craft cocktails. The bar also includes a 400-square-foot humidor, which allows for retail sales, making it one of the only cigar shops in the immediate area.

Fox Cigar Bar is the perfect place for a similarly special experience in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. The space is exceptionally open, yet intimate, and boasts leather chairs, high tops, bar seating, and an outdoor patio. There are 34 televisions throughout the space as well, making enjoying sports of any kind easy while unwinding with more than 100 cigar options from Cohiba and Davidoff to L’Atelier and Opus X. The family-owned 21 Degrees Cigar Lounge in Central Scottsdale, which is named “21 degrees” as that is the temperature in Celsius that is optimum for cigars, also does it right with its extensive selection of humidors, cutters, lighters, and other cigar accessories, as well as hand-rolled cigars from Rocky Patel, Padron, Camacho, Arturo Fuente, and more. They even employ cigar-tasting specialists to help guests choose the best cigar for their particular preferences and tastes.

Finally, if planning a trip up north anytime soon, L’Auberge de Sedona recently announced an all-new Cigar Experience. The exclusive treat, set creekside or on the patio of the guest’s private cottage, was created exclusively for L’Auberge de Sedona by Director of Food and Beverage Franck Desplechin, the only certified cigar sommelier tobacconist in Arizona. During the program, Desplechin personally guides guests through the resort’s cigar collection curated from the world’s finest cigar craftsmen.

  • Courtesy Blue Clover Distillery
  • Courtesy Bourbon & Bones
  • Courtesy Tayden Savage
  • Courtesy The Craftsman Cocktails + Kitchen
  • Courtesy The Craftsman Cocktails + Kitchen
  • Courtesy Fat Ox
  • Courtesy L'Auberge de Sedona
  • Courtesy L'Auberge de Sedona
  • Courtesy L'Auberge de Sedona
  • Courtesy Tarbell Hospitality
  • Courtesy Citizen Public House
  • Courtesy Citizen Public House
  • Courtesy Citizen Public House