If New Orleans can have The Hurricane (a cocktail typically mixed with rum and fruit juice or grenadine), we figure it's high time someone invented The Haboob. And so for the past few weeks, we've scoured the streets of Phoenix in search of bartenders that would take on Chow Bella's latest challenge: create a haboob cocktail.
There were no restrictions, or even standards to this game, except that the new cocktail must be called "The Haboob". We visited 6 bars, 5 of which were victorious simply by accepting the challenge. The bartenders at Hanny's did not wish to take part in the challenge. Oh well.
On to the sandy, dusty, windy, and for the love of God, boozy goodness.
5. "The Antiguan Fig" at Rum Bar
Our first stop landed us at Rum Bar in Downtown Phoenix. The tiny bar is, obviously, named after the vast array of worldly rums behind the bar counter. Bartender Jason Elliot moved to the Valley less than a year ago from Southern California. Although we explained that the challenge involved creating a cocktail called The Haboob, he insisted on instead mixing a cocktail called The Antiguan Fig.
The Antiguan Fig (at this point, we'll just say "Haboob" is its middle name), is composed of rum from the West Indies island of Antigua, cane syrup (not to be confused with regular simple syrup), and homemade fig bitters that Elliot personally made in-house.
Here's the recipe: 1.5 oz. English Harbour Rum .5 oz. fig bitters .5 oz. cane syrup .25 oz. Clement Creole Schrubb orange liqueur Stir, add 2 large ice cubes.
4. The Desert Surprise (or The Haboob) at Bikini Lounge
At Bikini Lounge, Westley Nieto acts as a mother hen. Every time we've been, she's manning the bar -- all by her lonesome, and doing so like a badass. Her creation for involved tequila and Red Bull and a splash of lime juice. Like a cute, innocent looking girl, the drink was sweet and tart ... until you've had your third. That's where the surprise comes in.
3. The Haboob (finally!) at Sidebar
Casey Forster took our challenge with a bucket load of apprehension. She really didn't think she had what it took to come up with a drink on the spot. After much encouragement on our part, and a little mustered courage on hers, she got to work on what wound up being one of our favorite drinks of the bunch.
Forster described her haboob as a "manly martini", and she attributed the use of brandy and Tuaca (liquors she doesn't use too often behind the bar) for giving the drink a dusty color.
2. The Haboob at Province Bar
We love gin. Gin, gin, gin. We could drink it all day. When Alyssa Payne fell prey to our challenge, she must've sensed that were were gin drinkers. With her haboob, she practically made a salad out of gin. (Note: This is the most effective way to get us eating our veggies.) Payne quickly ran to the back and grabbed everything green that could go in a cocktail. "Haboobs catch you off guard - you caught me off guard, so this was what you got," she said with a shy smile. Get it, girl. Indeed, we caught you off guard, but that drink of yours was top notch and oh-so-fresh.
1. The Haboob at Lon's.
We hit the haboob jackpot with none other than Alexandria Bowler, bartender at Lon's at The Hermosa Inn. This woman made our dry, dusty, sandy storm dreams come true -- not only did her version look like a haboob, it tasted delicious.
Bowler used a collection of skills she's learned from her mentors, Jason Asher, Travis Nass, and Tyson Bueller, together with her own creativity to come up with a haboob cocktail that went so far as having dust float on top of it.
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This wasn't technically a competition, but if it was, she'd take the cake.
Here's the recipe: 2.5 oz. High Spirits Gin .75 oz. cactus blossom syrup 1 oz. lemon juice 3 dashes of mole bitters (What?! We thought the same thing.) Shake Top with orange flower water and chamomile dust