Postino added cocktails to its menu. We tried all 7 | Phoenix New Times

After 23 years, Postino now serves cocktails. Here's what to order

Postino has added cocktails to its menu for the first time. We tried all seven.
Postino's cocktail menu features seven concoctions including (front row, from left) the Smoked Old Fashioned, Prickly Pear Mezcal Marg, Negroni (back row, from left) Aperol Spritz and Tré Cucumber.
Postino's cocktail menu features seven concoctions including (front row, from left) the Smoked Old Fashioned, Prickly Pear Mezcal Marg, Negroni (back row, from left) Aperol Spritz and Tré Cucumber. Georgann Yara
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Postino has spent two decades building a solid reputation as a go-to spot for delicious bites and refreshing sips, namely wine.

But after 23 years, the Valley’s beloved bruschetta board and wine establishment is mixing things up with a cocktail menu flaunting a something-for-every-drinker personality.

Of the seven signature libations, most offer subtle twists on classics ranging from the Prickly Pear Mezcal Marg, to the Smoked Old Fashioned that gets a wakeup call from a kiss of Johnnie Walker Black, to a playful spin on a martini that’s presented in the popular Tré Cucumber.

“It’s a riff on the lemon drop with cucumber and limoncello, which ties into the Italian roots of Postino,” says Brent Karlicek, vice president of beverage at Upward Projects, the hospitality group responsible for Postino, among other restaurant brands.

The succinct menu features libations anchored by light and dark spirits plus agave and aperitif representations. They run the gamut from big and bold to light and fruity.

“We wanted to have something that is curated and focused but meets the needs of a broad swath of cocktail consumers,” Karlicek says. “We wanted to base this on classics with a little twist here or there.”

While 80% of Postino’s identity is still rooted in wine, the addition of cocktails comes from customers asking for them for more than a decade, Karlicek explains. The increased popularity in spirits has added to the demand.

The cocktail program began its rollout in mid-March with the Uptown location on Central Avenue, Annex location in downtown Tempe and Kierland Commons restaurant in Scottsdale. Within three weeks, all Arizona locations were shaking it up.

“It’s really amazing to see that a guest who knows the wine and beer offerings but is in the mood for a fantastic old fashioned can now have that moment,” Karlicek says.

The cocktail menu is open to adjustments based on feedback, and customers can order off-menu options as well. The backbar is packed with high-profile spirits such as 1792 Bourbon, Basil Hayden Rye, Casamigos Reposado tequila and Tito’s Vodka among the 12 selections. This means most requests for a martini, kicked-up soda or any classic cocktail can be accommodated.

“It’s been wonderful to watch the life that the program has taken on,” Karlicek says.

Because the cocktails must be made fairly quickly using versatile ingredients and sometimes in larger batches depending on how busy the bar is, you won’t see bartenders hovering over a special espresso machine every time someone orders an espresso martini. Nor are there wood toppers or torches for the smoked old fashioned.

That said, there are plenty of great options. Here’s our take on all seven, including which ones are a must-try for your first visit and which ones you can skip or save for later.

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Postino's new signature cocktail menu includes creative twists on classics such as the espresso martini that incorporates Licor 43, and the rosy-hued Cocchi Rosa-based Sure Shot.
Georgann Yara

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Tré Cucumber
Super refreshing, this drink is like sticking a straw into a perfectly ripe cucumber, but even better. The limoncello’s tartness and splash of honey adds a bit of heft without bringing the flavor profile down. You can’t taste the vodka, so make sure to sip responsibly on this cucumber water with a buzz that, as a friend who tasted the cocktail says, “makes you feel like you're at a spa.”

Prickly Pear Mezcal Marg
Mezcal fans will love this take on the tried-and-true concoction as the spirit’s distinct smoky profile shines against the prickly pear, which brings some sweet balance reminiscent of the approachable margarita. If mezcal isn’t your jam, you can sub it out for your tequila of choice. But we recommend sticking with the smoky spirit.

Sure Shot
This popular brunch beverage gets a spot in Postino's full-time starting lineup, and it’s well deserved. Cocchi Rosa — an aromatized wine that flaunts a balance of spice, saffron, vanilla and rose petals — does the heavy lifting as the anchor to a concoction that incorporates grapefruit juice, which brings citrus to the party, and sparkling rosé that’s responsible for the effervescence and pretty pink hue.

Espresso Martini
Whether you’re looking for a pick-me-up to start things off, a liquid dessert or something to tide you over in between, this option is a must. If you haven’t tried an espresso martini you’ve liked, this rendition begs for a shot at changing your mind. Luxe, rich and aromatic, the experience starts as you lift the glass and get a tantalizing whiff of the blend of Owen's nitro-infused Espresso Martini Mix and Licor 43, a Spanish liqueur known for its vanilla notes that complement the bitterness of strong coffee. If you’re a fan of the traditional cocktail and are tempted to turn your nose up at the use of a mix, don’t. It does the job well and you won’t miss a thing. And just like the Tré Cucumber, there’s no hint of alcohol on the palate so it’s best enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

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The Tré Cucumber (left), a riff on the classic lemon drop martini, and summer's perfect sipper the Aperol Spritz are among the seven signature cocktails on Postino's new drink menu.
Georgann Yara

Skip or save for later

Smoked Old Fashioned
Dark spirits fans will be pleased to have this option, but if you’re used to the versions that result from cocktail smoker apparatus, this may be a little step down. Here, smoke duty goes to Johnnie Walker Black, which offers a gallant effort but doesn’t quite carry the same effect. However, if the deep smoke profile is something you can live without, this Buffalo Trace-based rendition that’s served with a big cube and a Luxardo cherry is a perfectly respectable old fashioned, sans fumée.

Aperol Spritz
This take on summer’s signature bubbly cocktail is very drinkable. But with the traditional recipe of Aperol, prosecco and soda with an orange slice, it’s pretty straightforward. We recommend opting for something a little more exciting.

Askur Gin brings the juniper and a barely-there hint of spice to the usual companions Campari and vermouth. Like the spritz, it’s also pretty simple, so unless you are craving one, give the others a whirl first.
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