The Arizona Cocktail Week schedule has finally been announced and there are some events you won't want to miss. Interestingly, the schedule skews toward a rum-and-tiki bent that we haven't seen in past years, but there seems to be something for everyone, whether you love aromatized wine, bitters, mezcal, or whiskey. We definitely are going to sample what the top bars from around the country mix up at Crudo, and we can't wait to hear what Dale Degroff, the king of modern cocktails, has to say in his seminar.
The full list of five days' worth of imbibing festivities is worth a look.
Wristband holders for Cocktail Week get discounted drinks at local cocktail hotspots beginning on February 14 until February 21, along with free access to some of these events. Reservations for many of these events are very limited, so book now if you're interested. For full descriptions, pricing and location information for each of these events, along with ticketing, please visit the Arizona Cocktail Week website.
Saturday, February 15
- Tasting Panel Tasting Bar Event Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Sample cocktails from a range of spirit makers and bartenders from around the world.
- Rum for All Seminar Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) A look into the history and distillation of rum -- likely the oldest spirit in the world.
- Diageo World Class Seminar Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (1 to 5 p.m.) Champion bartenders Ricky Gomez and Jeff Bell discuss the world of competitive bartending through live demos and tastings.
- Deep Eddy Cocktail Truck Sands Building Parking Lot (2 to 5 p.m.) It's like a food truck -- but with booze!
- Fortified Wine, Aromatized Wine, Vermouth and Amari Seminar Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (3 to 4:30 p.m.) A discussion of the past, present and future of these types of wine led by Steve Olson, including tips on tasting and using them in cocktails.
- Japanese Whiskey Blending Seminar Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (5 to 6:30 p.m.) The House of Suntory's Neyah White talks Japanese whiskey history with samples in tow.
- Cocktail Carnival Event OH Pool at Hotel Valley Ho (7 to 10 p.m.) A Cirque du Soleil-themed cocktail party by the pool with tiki drinks and cabana tastings.
Sunday, February 16
- The Pleasure Reinvented Room Event Sands Building Patio at Hotel Valley Ho (9 a.m. to noon) Massages, music, an oxygen bar, and cocktails on the patio.
- Tasting Panel Tasting Bar Event Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.) Taste more craft cocktails from premier brands.
- I'll Take Manhattans Seminar: The History and Origin of Aromatic Bitters Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) Cocktail expert Dale Degroff delves into the history, preparation, and uses of bitters.
- Mystical and Magical Mezcal Seminar: Mexico's Exotic Elixir Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (1 to 2:30 p.m.) Steve Olson is back to discuss everything about the increasingly popular Mexican agave-based liquor, mezcal.
- Deep Eddy Cocktail Truck Sands Building Parking Lot at Hotel Valley Ho (2 to 5 p.m.) Try more cocktails at the cocktail truck.
- A Polynesian-Inspired Revolution: The Tiki Bar Seminar Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (3 to 4:30 p.m.) Martin Cate of San Fransisco's Smuggler's Cove discusses the rebirth of the lost art of tiki drinks.
- Whisk(e)y... to "ey" or not to "e" Seminar Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (5 to 6:30 p.m.) A must-attend for whiskey fanatics -- expert David Johnson talks bourbon, scotch, rye, and more.
- AZ Storytellers Project: Stories from the Kitchen, the Bar and the Heart Event Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (7 to 9:30 p.m.) A cocktail dinner and discussion featuring Dale Degroff, Beau MacMillan, Aaron May, Tony Abou-Ganim, and Aaron DeFeo.
- Top Bars of the Nation Event Bar Crudo (10 p.m. to 2 a.m.) The best bars in the country converge on Crudo to mix up some tasty drinks in this one-of-a-kind opportunity. Participating bars include Employees Only (NYC), Williams & Graham (Denver), Death & Co (NYC), Regency (Tucson), and local favorites Jade Bar, Crudo, and The Mix-Up.
Monday, February 17
- Recovery Room Event Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (9 a.m. to noon) If you need a break from the festivities, grab a Bloody Mary or Bloody Maria, relax, and mingle at this event.
- Garnish Me This! Seminar Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (11 a.m. to noon) A garnishing tutorial in all its forms, led by Charlotte Voisey and Angus Winchester.
- The Science Behind What You Eat and Drink Seminar: What Kind of Taster Are You? Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (12:30 to 1:30 p.m.) An interactive tasting lesson that may just help you find out why you like tequila more than whiskey.
- Artisanal Spirit and Cocktail Market Event Hotel Valley Ho Patio and Ballroom (1 to 4 p.m.) It's like a farmers market, but with all things craft liquor.
- The Tasting Panel Speed Tasting and Lounge Event Sands Building at Hotel Valley Ho (1:30 until 3:30 p.m.) A tasting event for industry pros.
- The Last Slinger Standing Event Red Revolver Lounge (7 to 10 p.m.) • Bartenders compete in head-to-head, Iron Chef-style, mixing to see whose cocktail reigns supreme.
- Anti-Party Event Location TBA (10 to 11:55 p.m.) Forget the cocktails for a couple of hours at this party centered around beer and shots.
Tuesday, February 18
- Won't You Be My Neighbor Imbibe n' Dine Virtu Honest Craft (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.) Virtu chef Gio Osso and mixologist Kailee Geilgens join forces with New York's Jillian Vose for a delicious, all-star dinner.
- La Fortaleza Cocktail Dinner from Tucson Imbibe n' Dine Signature Grill at JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.) Guillermo Sauza of La Fortaleza explores Mexican cuisine and drinks.
- High Class Hillbilly Ho-Down Imbibe n' Dine Mabel's on Main (7 to 11:55 p.m.) Hollis Bulleit hosts this five-course meal event centered around barbecue, live music, and Bulleit. Contact Mabel's for reservations and more information.
Wednesday, February 19
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- The Light Rail Toast to Gatsby Event Hotel Palomar (6:30 to 11 p.m.) Get your bar crawl on, Roaring 20s-style, through downtown Phoenix.
- La Fortaleza Cocktail Dinner from Tucson Imbibe n' Dine Crudo (6:30 - 8:30 p.m.) This time, La Fortaleza's chef pairs up with Crudo's Cullen Campbell and Micah Olson for an unforgettable dinner.
Thursday, February 20
- Strong Women, Strong Drinks Event J&G Steakhouse at the Phoenician (8to- 10 p.m.) Jezebel's Anna Holmes discusses women and cocktails over drinks by Julie Hillebrand.