Best Distillery 2017 | Arizona Distilling Co. | Food & Drink | Phoenix
Evie Carpenter

With a name like Arizona Distilling Co., the team here couldn't just crank out generic whiskeys and vodkas and expect to be embraced by discerning Valley drinkers. So they made a gin that sourced eight botanicals from lush northern Arizona. When they whipped up a whiskey, they started with desert durum wheat that's resting on a few hundred years of Phoenix agricultural history. Cracking open either is the closest thing we have to terroir in the spirit sector of Phoenix's beverage industry. When so many grain spirits taste the same, Arizona Distilling Company has created a unique, award-winning roster.

Counter Intuitive/Facebook

Counter Intuitive is a unicorn: top-shelf bartenders making some of the most thoughtful and technically sound cocktails in town while also seeing that those drinks are actually very fun to imbibe, in an environment that's far from stuffy. Being able to attwract the cocktail snobs, fellow bartenders, clubgoers on their way to cross the street to Old Town's entertainment district, and generally anyone who enjoys a good drink, all at once? That's a breath of fresh air, and with it they pretty much cover the bases — an inclusive and impressive feat that any good bar could learn from. Looking to step up your cocktail game? Consider Counter Intuitive, if you haven't swung through already. It's okay if the rest if your crew wants scotch and soda or whiskey sours — C.I. can do those as well, of course, and they're happy to.

Jacob Tyler Dunn
Southern tradition says it’s good luck to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day (it’s thought to bring prosperity in the year to come). It’s one superstition we’re happy to believe in, especially if the black-eyed peas in question come from Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe. A downtown Phoenix mainstay since 1964, Mrs. White’s serves some of the best soul food in town. The black-eyed peas are a side dish offered all year round and come perfectly cooked in a lightly peppery gravy. We like them alongside a serving of the restaurant’s crisp fried chicken or juicy fried pork chops. Mrs. White’s is open on New Year’s Day, so you can get your portion of delicious good luck then, but we like to stop by far more often than once a year.
Diana Martinez
The king cake tradition varies widely according to country and region — in Phoenix, you’ll find most Mexican panaderias selling a version of it, the rosca de reyes, in celebration of the Epiphany, which occurs 12 days after Christmas. And you’ll also find king cakes, the round, Louisiana-style cakes sold in metro Phoenix throughout most of the springtime, as part of the pre-Lenten celebrations that stretch from the Epiphany until Mardi Gras. For years, Barb’s Bakery has been the most reliable option for a round, buttery, Louisiana-style king cake, complete with a small, plastic baby, representing the newborn Jesus, baked right into the cake. The bakery offers two sizes — regular and royale — to feed a fete of any size. They’re made in the traditional round shape, shimmering with confectioner’s sugar and icing, and they’re delicious.

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