Stephanie Teslar serves as head mixologist at downtown Phoenix’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Bar, where classic drinks are among the favorites, for Teslar and the guests. Teslar, who’s been at the Kimpton-owned hotel bar for almost three years, says she appreciates simple drinks, “the less ingredients, the better.”
“I like a drink that really enhances and magnifies the quality of the spirit, rather than masking it and compliments and plays on that flavor profile,” Teslar said.
A stirred whiskey drink, The Lawless, is Blue Hound’s most popular, a fact that impresses Teslar.
Aside from drinks, people are her favorite part of her job. Traveling and working events with different companies, with the opportunities to meet and learn from different people, to simply interacting with customers at the bar are some of her favorite aspects.
“I think it’s a really ritualistic sort of experience and it’s very inherent to human nature to want to imbibe and share laughs with your friends and people that are close to you,” Teslar says.
Teslar started working in a bar at age 15 as a bar back, and has since taken exams to become a certified specialist in wine and earned her Introductory Sommelier title. Now, in addition to running the bar program at Blue Hound and LUSTRE, Hotel Palomar’s rooftop bar, she volunteers her time and knowledge with Arizona Cocktail Week. This year she will serve as a liaison between the kitchens and those attending seminars, as she believes her service is best spent volunteering instead of hosting her own event downtown.
The sheer size of Phoenix is a hindrance to Arizona’s cocktail scene, which Arizona Cocktail Week is trying to promote, Teslar says. Instead of larger cities where establishments are close enough to allow people to go out to multiple bars in a night, people in Phoenix are almost forced geographically to pick one bar for the night.
Arizona Cocktail Week is made up of competitions, seminars, parties and other cocktail events. The Last Slinger Standing, a bartending competition is the week’s largest event, held Monday, February 16 at Bitter & Twisted in downtown Phoenix. Anchored at Scottsdale’s Valley Ho, the event will take place February 14-21, with events all around the Valley.
The kids may be back in school, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep the summer celebration going. Crudo Chef Cullen Campbell and Mixologist Micah Olson have opened up their big bag o’ tricks and created an all-new seasonal food and cocktail menu to end the summer on a high note. Crudo features several new taste adventures including pecan wood-grilled mozzarella, and the new Whole Roasted Pig Head, served for the entire table with gourmet sauces and accompaniments for $60 (72-hour notice). Bar Crudo also features new late-summer cocktails including the Salt River Project (Tapatio Reposado Tequila, salted watermelon syrup, lime, ancho reyes chile liqueur, Peychaud’s Bitters & Galliano Authentico served tall over ice).
Who: Fine food lovers, craft cocktail sippers, and anyone else interested in trying Crudo exciting new food and drink menus.
What: Turn off your oven and let Chef Cullen Campbell do the cooking for you with Crudo’s all-new seasonal food and cocktail menu. Once again, Chef Cullen Campbell and Mixologist Micah Olson have dug deep into their bag o’ tricks to whip up exotic new twists on classic foods & drinks. Over at Crudo, enjoy bold new tastes such as Ahi tuna served with celery, seaweed pesto and shallots, or a smoky, savory pecan wood-grilled mozzarella plate. However, the truly adventurous will want to try the Crespelle, or Italian-style crepes stuffed with snails, soffrito and battuto. Not to mention, the Whole Roasted Pig Head, served for the entire table with gourmet sauces and accompaniments for $60 (72-hour notice required).
Over at Bar Crudo, Micah Olson has also been busy shaking up an all-new menu of late-summer delights. Highlights include the Arizona-centric, Violet Femmes (Arizona Distilling Co. Desert Dry Gin, cucumber, violet, lemon & sparkling wine served in a flute), and the Salt River Project (Tapatio Reposado Tequila, salted watermelon syrup, lime, ancho reyes chile liqueur, Peychaud’s Bitters & Galliano Authentico served tall over ice). Go green with the Chartreuse-spiked Wycked Sceptor (Zucca Rubbarbaro Amaro, John Taylors Falernum & Lime Juice served in chilled coupe). Or pucker up with a Blue Steel cocktail (Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Blueberries, Tarragon Lemon & Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon Soda served tall over ice).
When: Crudo’s Late Summer 2014 menu is available today.
Where: Crudo, 3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018, 602-358-8666.