If you find yourself with a Jack and Coke in hand this summer, you're not doing it right. In the wonderful world of cocktails, weird is the way to go. Whether that means you stumble into the back-alley entrance of a speakeasy or you take your drink muddled, shaken, and flambéed into Flavor City, the humdrum of long summer days is sure to be broken by some alcoholic experimentation.
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Citizen R +D's G + T One of Phoenix's best mixologists, Richie Moe, takes crafting unique cocktails to the highest level at Citizen R+D. In the back alley behind Scottsdale's Citizen Public House, there's a staircase. Read the posted rules, call upstairs, and pray they have room for you in the small, 20-person lounge. Once you're in, you can pick from a wildly inventive cocktail list that uses ingredients like a popcorn tincture and pearl dust. The classic gin and tonic is a delicious spectacle at Citizen. Distilled tableside using a double boiler, 100-proof vodka, juniper berries, and other fresh ingredients, $17 will buy you two glasses' worth, served with Fever Tree tonic and a lime.
Palo Verde Lounge's Pickle Shot (or the Tijuana Hooker) If the exclusivity of a Scottsdale speakeasy turns you off, never fear. Even dive bars keep it weird by using leftover ingredients. That's where one of the best shots in town comes in. A shot of crappy well tequila with a half-shot pickle juice chaser might sound disgusting, but the brininess of the juice completely cuts the burn of the tequila. Plus, you can spice your pickle shot up with hot sauce, thus getting the disturbingly named Tijuana Hooker. PV's pickle shot runs $3.50 per go, so you might find yourself under the table quickly.