Behind the Bar: Erik Hecomovich of Boulders Resort

"You get a lot of requests for certain things that are illegal." And no, they're not alcohol-related, but we couldn't get this friendly guy to go any farther. 

Maybe you can. 

Hecomovich got his start in the business in the 90's, bartending at Fumbles, a now-defunct ASU spot. He got a degree in biology and headed out to Los Angeles to work in the movie business for 10 years. Claim to fame: dolly grip on Pirates of the Caribbean.

Since returning to the Valley, he's worked at The Phoenician and splits his time now between The Boulders Resort and Arizona Biltmore.

Hecomovich talked to us about his time behind the bar, having served some high rollers, plus some famous football players.

What's a benefit to working at resorts? The cool thing about working at these places is that you never have to deal with somebody for more than 5 minutes. They come to the bar, drink and leave. You don't really get the locals who spill their problems out to you. It's not like you're their psychologist. You're more there to serve the person, make them smile and be over it.

What's the weirdest customer request you've ever gotten? There was this lady from Brazil at The Phoenician....We had to go to the store and get this certain type of Brazilian fruit to mash it up in her drink. When we finally got it, she wanted to come behind the bar and make it with me, so I let her.

What's your favorite drink? There's this Cosmopolitan I make that's basically a Cosmopolitan, a lot more vodka and pineapple juice.

What's your least favorite alcohol? Gin. I had a bad experience with gin. Once it got to me, I can't even smell it anymore. It's horrible.

What are your favorite and least favorite drinks to make for people? My favorite is my Cosmopolitan. My least favorite is a drink here called the Boulderini. It's really time-consuming. It's agave nectar, peach nectar and champagne. You've got to pour it in slowly, then stir it, then pour it. It takes about 5 minutes. When you're busy and you have to make it, it's like, 'Oh, boy.'

What cocktail trends are on your radar now? I see a lot of the older drinks coming back in, like Manhattans. People are updating them with certain ingredients that we have nowadays, like agave nectar instead of sweet vermouth. A lot of the older drinks are coming back with an infusion from today.

Who's been your most memorable customer? When I was working at Fumbles, Pat Tillman and Jake Plummer always used to come in. Pat Tillman was such a great guy. He'd just have a couple beers, he'd never get too drunk. 

What's the fanciest drink you've ever had? I was working at Mary Elaine's at the Phoenician, and we had one bottle left of 1963 Dom Perignon, and someone ordered it. It was $1,700. I tried it, and it was really good. It's kind of scary opening a bottle like that because you don't know if it's going to be good. I also love Opus (One) wine. It's $300 a bottle.

How should people avoid hangovers? Don't mix your drink. Always try to stick with one, and always drink water while you're drinking.

What's your best hangover cure? If you do get a hangover, there's not much you can do. Just have another cocktail in the morning.

Check back on Chow Bella tomorrow to see how Hecomovich makes a Silver Sip. 

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Nicki Escudero
Contact: Nicki Escudero