Chow Bella

A New Old Town Distillery Is Turning Corn Into Vodka

Stills for distilling
Dorian Boddie
Stills for distilling
Blue Clover Distillery is handcrafting the hard stuff in Old Town Scottsdale. Part-owner Weston Holm is running the day-to-day operations and distilling Blue Clover's house-made spirits. He is also the big brother of MMA bantamweight champion Holly Holm, so it is no surprise that his spirit-forward cocktail menu packs a punch.

“I’ve been playing with home distilling for five years ... that interest turned into a passion,” Weston Holm says.

Before opening Blue Clover, Holm spent nine years in the offshore oil industry. “[Oil refining and distilling] are a similar process,” he says. Holm is joined by two partners, Duane and Scott Koch, father and son, who own a construction company in New Mexico. 

Blue Clover opened its doors in late February 2018. The restaurant/micro-distillery is in the corner unit of a small strip mall on Indian School Road and North Marshall Way. This building was once occupied by Eddie’s House, a casual dining American/Mediterranean restaurant owned by well-known Valley chef Eddie Matney.

click to enlarge Loaded fries - DORIAN BODDIE
Loaded fries
Dorian Boddie
A seat at the interior bar of the Blue Clover offers you a view of the establishment’s spacious covered patio and a seemingly endless parade of Segway tours navigating the urban terrain of Old Town Scottsdale.

The poured-concrete bar, blonde-wood slab tabletops and varying styles of hanging Edison bulbs give the interior a modern industrial feel. Copper distilling equipment can be seen in the back of the dining area. There are two active distilling units on-site: a 100-gallon pot still and a 30-gallon pot still, both operating now at full steam.

Currently, Blue Clover is only distilling a carbon-filtered corn-based vodka. The house vodka takes about a week to produce and is available for sale: $22 for a 750-milliliter bottle.

There is a gin in the works that should be available this spring and an agave-based spirt  (like tequila) that should be available within the next six months. “We are really going to play with the agave recipe before we roll it out,” Holm says.

Holm is assisted by master distiller Scott Wagner. “He has been working diligently with us to help carry out our vision,” Holm says.

Wagner is also owner of Geyser Distilling and has been working at the craft of distilling for over a decade. “It’s a really simple technology, but there’s kind of an art to making it all happen” he says.

The cocktail program is led by bar manager Lex Rios. Its roster of drinks is constantly evolving. “We’re refining our cocktail menu with our in-house distilled spirits and infusions daily,” Holm says. 

Blue Clover is marinating local lemons, grapefruits, and chiles in vodka to create flavor-packed infusions. They add the fruit to the vodka while it’s still at 190 proof. “We infuse it at 190 proof and then, [the vodka] will suck all of the flavor out of the fruit within a day. Then we proof it down to 80. So, you’re getting actual 80-proof vodka” says a resident mixologist who goes by Ferris.

click to enlarge The Mule Kick - DORIAN BODDIE
The Mule Kick
Dorian Boddie
One of the most popular drinks being served at Blue Clover Distillery is the Mule Kick. This traditional Mule is a combination of the Blue Clover vodka, lime juice, ginger syrup, and ginger beer. The subtle flavors of this cocktail allow the smooth and sweet taste of the house-distilled corn-based vodka to shine through. The cocktail is served in a hefty copper mug embossed with Blue Clover’s logo. You can take the souvenir mug with you for an additional $3.

The food menu is courtesy of former Pedal Haus Brewery head chef Cruz Robles. His menu is casual and inspired by New Mexican cuisine.

“We try and source as much as we can from local purveyors," Robles says. “We use the best of the best when it comes to our ingredients. We are a total scratch kitchen.”

Holm will even frequently drive to his home city of Albuquerque to obtain green chiles. Those chiles appear in several dishes including mac and cheese, a poke bowl, and a cheeseburger.

One of best deals on the happy hour food menu (available Monday through Friday 3 to 6 p.m.) is green-chile cheese fries: a mound of crispy fries buried under chile con queso, cotija cheese, and green chiles. The dish is topped with fresh cilantro and pico de gallo.

If you are searching for something new in Old Town, Blue Clover Distillery is well worth a visit.

Blue Clover Distillery. 7042 East Indian School Road, Scottsdale; 480-946-1062.
Monday through Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m; Thursday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to midnight; Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.