Craft cocktails were en vogue long before craft barbecue, but have the two ever crossed paths?
Rarely. And certainly not often in Phoenix. But Adam Hargett, formerly of The Local and Merc Bar, has rolled out his second cocktail menu at Bootleggers' second location in Old Town Scottsdale. It's obscure, funky, smokey and a little off-the-wall.
The Mean Green gets a little weird, with St. George Green Chile Vodka front-and-center next to the restaurant's house-made spiced pineapple syrup (star anise, habanero, cinnamon), jalapeno, and a smoked salt rim, which spent a little time in the smoker to get its assertive, awesome ashiness.
"We try to get the smoker in wherever we can," Hargett says. "It's pretty much running all day, so we can throw things in when prepping, "
But for all of the pepper-generated heat in the Mean Green, Hargett made sure just enough sweetness was there to round things out.
The Piggly Wiggly is another good example of the smoker cross-pollinating with the drinks. Pig-nosed Scotch washed with bacon fat, then separated, sounds like breakfast, coupled with coffee bitters, vermouth, and garnished with a smokey, bacon-wrapped Luxardo cherry.
The Cool Diablo, pictured above, is a little closer to home base; raspberry, lime and cucumber are all very familiar flavors. They play well together and embrace mezcal as a base spirit to cut the freshness with a little smoke, and should echo any menu item coming out of the smoker.
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Of course, what would the Wild West (ok, Old Town Scottsdale) and Bootleggers be without a little moonshine? As much a part of the menu as ever, Hargett has everything from five moonshine cocktails to flights of Bootleggers' house-flavored moonshines. There's even a cocktail called The Flapper that's perfect for the entry-level moonshine drinkers (strawberry, orgeat, mint, lemon and bubbles) or for guys looking to "set the pace for the evening," as Hargett puts it, there are shots of straight-up apple pie moonshine.
This menu is designed, Hargett says, to keep it light; patio drinking whether you're on the patio by the smoker or not. Expect it to carry you through the summer and fall, at which time a winter menu will phase in.
Editor's Note: This post has been changed from its original version.