100 Tastemakers in Phoenix

Micah Olson of Bar Crudo and Okra on The Best Bourbon He's Ever Tried And His Bar Pet Peeve

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.

Today, the man behind metro Phoenix's most interesting mint juleps. 

85. Micah Olson of Bar Crudo and Okra Cookhouse and Cocktails 

Since making the move to the Gaslamp Square Plaza at 36th Street and Indian School in 2012, Crudo and Bar Crudo have become dining and drinking staples for residents of the Arcadia neighborhood — and worth-the-drive destinations for everyone else. At Crudo, chef Cullen Campbell offers modern Italian fare, while award-winning mixologist and certified sommelier Micah Olson lays down a seasonal list of cocktails to pair. Last year, the duo added a second destination to the mix, and at Okra Cookhouse and Cocktails you'll find Italian-inspired Southern cuisine and a menu of playful cocktails including an entire selection of mint juleps and julep-style drinks. At both bars, you can count on fresh ingredients including house-made syrups and house-infused spirits, plus a delicate balance of ever-changing modern creations and perfectly executed classics. 

Today Olson dishes on his bar pet peeves and the three cocktail books you have to own. 

My go-to place for my guilty pleasure in Phoenix is Ted's Hot Dogs for a dog and some rings.

The best kept secret in Phoenix is
Yasu Sushi Bistro. It's been around for years, but I never hear people talk about it. I've had some of my best meals there. Omakase is the way to go.

The best bourbon I've ever tried was 2014 George T. Stagg or Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition 2015, and the best bourbon cocktail I've ever tried was an old-fashioned.

My bar pet peeve is when guests put their dirty plates or glassware on my bar station where I'm building drinks.

Three cocktail or food books everyone should own are The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan,
The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, and The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.

The 2016 Tastemakers so far: 

100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour 
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography
97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant 
96. Bo Mostow of Uptown Farmers Market
95. Julian Wright of Pedal Haus Brewery
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
93. Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars
92. Richard Bock of Giuseppe's on 28th
91. Walter Sterling of Ocotillo 
90. Daniel Sevilla of Angry Crab Shack
89. Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco and Otro Cafe
88. LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market
87. Jason Calhoon of The Shop Beer Co. and Side Kick Cold Brew
86. Tim and Kim Cobb of United Lunchadores Street Gourmet