From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives.
Next up, the man who brought big city drinking to downtown Phoenix.
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
If you don't know Ross Simon when you first see him, then chances are good you'll recognize him as soon as he opens his mouth. Hailing from Scotland, Simon rocks an unmistakable accent and has been involved in the culinary and catering industry almost from birth. He worked at his family restaurant, then went on to gain two decades of experience in the hospitality industry and cocktail world, finally opening his own drinking destination, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, in downtown Phoenix about two years ago.
When he's not mixing up drinks at the bar, which is located inside the historic Luhrs Building, Simon can be found at bartending events and seminars, on television, or doing consulting work. His resume also includes helping launch the local chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild and co-founding the annual spirits celebration Arizona Cocktail Week.
Today he dishes on his favorite places for well-balanced cocktails and the best place for a hangover breakfast.
My go-to place for a quiet cigar and great drink in Phoenix is Rum bar at Breadfruit.
The best-kept secret in Phoenix is Harumi sushi; it’s pretty legit.
The best place for a balanced cocktail in Phoenix is anywhere the bartenders care about what they do. Crudo, Okra, Clever Koi, Rum Bar, and Counter Intuitive to name a few.
You'll never find branded bar mats facing away from the guest behind my bar, but I can't work without sexy ice.
My favorite place for hangover breakfast is Matt’s Big Breakfast because of their Five Spot and hash browns.
The 2016 Tastemakers so far: