A few months ago, my buddy Tommy invited me to a special event at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. They were unveiling a new tequila from Herradura that was made specifically for the resort. Not many bottles were produced, and to commemorate the new tequila, they invited some local media and bloggers to an event to sample the new spirit. I was invited, but was out of town and couldn’t go.
Last week, Tommy and I were talking, and he was raving about some new cocktails they had introduced at the Brittlebush Bar & Grill using the new tequila. He also mentioned a few others, like Nadine’s Tee Shot (named after the head bartender) and the Prickly Pear Margarita that sounded delicious. I asked if I could come in and try the new cocktails. Tommy arranged everything, and said I would meet with Matt Allen, Beverage Specialist, The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa.
After a long day and having already been at Kierland once that day, I headed back to meet with Tommy and Matt and to try these new cocktails. Tommy handed me a few pages that explained the drinks and even some additional information on the spirits used. Most of these drinks used the Herradura tequila, but a few use whiskey and gin from AZ Distilling Company. Matt started by preparing the The Double Eagle Margarita.
The Double Eagle Margarita • $12
The Double Eagle Margarita is made with the Herradura Double Barrel Reposado. Remember, this tequila is only available at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. This particular tequila is aged for 11 months, then rested in a toasted oak barrel for additional flavor and smoothness. While he was making the margarita, I got the chance to smell the tequila. It smells incredible and will easily make a delicious top shelf margarita. I might have a hard time drinking this stuff mixed… I might prefer it with a glass and an ice cube!
Matt grabbed a highball glass and salted the rim. I knew a margarita was coming up! Then he pulled out a bottle of the Kierland Signature Double Barrel Reposado Tequila. The bottle is awesome, and is hand numbered for additional exclusivity. I was so impressed with the bottle, I shared a photo of it on Instagram. When he was finished making the drink, he garnished the glass with a fresh cut lime wedge. Time to drink. Cheers!
Whoa… That is really good. It is tart, almost sour, but fresh and something that would taste really good on a hot summer day. Like today. It was 112° outside when I tried this.
What makes this cocktail special is the tequila. Not many places offer a tequila like this. I don’t normally order a margarita, but I will be back to Brittlebush for this. I wonder if they sell pitchers of this… Next up is the Tom Collins’ Mulligan.
Tom Collins’ Mulligan • $12
I love the name! Most of their drinks have a golf themed name, like the Yips Cure and The Member’s Bounce Mojito. I am not sure I’ve ever had a Tom Collins before, but was excited when Matt pulled out a bottle of gin. For this drink, he uses the Arizona Desert Dry Gin, another spirit from AZ Distilling Co.
Funny story about gin… A couple of months ago, I was having drinks with a friend and ordered a vodka tonic. Vodka and I go way back. He laughed, and said, “Why did you order vodka? Be a man, and order gin.” Since then I have fallen in love with this aromatic and flavorful spirit.
Anyway, this Tom Collins uses gin, fresh lemon juice, club soda, and to sweeten the drink, Matt used agave syrup. We are in Arizona, after all. The best part about this drink is the garnish. On top is a fresh lemon wedge and a sprig of mint. Mint goes with just about everything, and they use it generously in this drink. Then I tried it…
Oh, man, that is fresh. This drink tasted like soda pop. I am originally from the Midwest, so I am allowed to call it pop. Before I realized it, the drink was gone, and I was craving another one. It was light, crisp and refreshing, and is something I could drink several of. Again, by the pool. The Tom Collins’ Mulligan is delicious, and if you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t think it even had alcohol in it. It’s that smooth!
While I was drinking this, Matt came out to join us. I asked him more about AZ Distilling Co. and what spirits they were making. Apparently they are only doing whiskey and gin right now. Not sure what it is like to add another spirit to your portfolio, but I am sure it isn’t something you can do overnight. I also asked Matt what his favorite cocktail was. “I love an Old Fashioned,” he said matter-of-factly. “The drink is simple, with only three ingredients, but you can change the flavor by changing the flavor of the bitters, the type of sugar you use and the type of whiskey. You can have the same drink over and over again and never have the same drink twice.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself! Next up is the Sand Save Smash.
Sand Save Smash • $12
While Matt was making this, I had no idea what to expect. For this cocktail he used Copper City Bourbon, fruit, mint, blackberries, lemon juice, agave syrup… There is a lot going on here. I thought the fruit on top was a nice touch, too.
This drink is fresh and really clean. You can really taste the mint in this, too. I love bourbon, but can’t really taste much in this drink. That’s not a bad thing, though. Speaking of laying by the pool, Tommy took a drink of this, and said, “I would drink that all day by the pool.” Yeah… Me, too!
Matt commented on the Smash, too, saying, “That drink is delicious. I love whiskey. Whiskey has so much depth and character.”
Before I left, I asked Matt, if he could only drink one drink for the rest of his life, what it would be. He didn’t know what to say… “That’s tough… Do I go with a whiskey base? Rum in the winter, though… If there is only one drink to be had, I would have to go with whiskey on the rocks.”
Simple man. I like it!
It was great being behind the bar at the Brittlebush and getting the chance to meet Matt. It was also a treat seeing him make these drinks and sharing it with you here on my blog. If you are ever in Scottsdale, make sure you visit Nadine, Matt and Tommy at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. They have a good happy hour, too.