Scottsdale Culinary Festival Kicks Off with "Shaken and Stirred" Last Night in Scottsdale

Foodistas of Valley are likely to be wining and dining -- and cocktailing -- themselves crazy this week with the impressive lineup of events in store for the 2013 Scottsdale Culinary Festival.

See also: - Top 5 Favorite Events at the 2013 Scottsdale Culinary Festival - Searsucker Scottsdale: Nightclub Meets Restaurant at Top Chef Brian Malarkey's New Hot Spot

To kick off the annual celebration of all things edible (technically, the events started last month with the Friends of the James Beard Benefit Dinner, but the rest of the events didn't happen until this week), we headed out to Top Chef Brian Malarkey's Searsucker in Scottsdale for a good old fashioned cocktail party.

The festival billed Shaken and Stirred as a celebration of classic cocktails -- think Hemingway, Sinatra, and Don Draper's favorite drinks. We certainly enjoyed sipping on the night's offerings.

Four cocktails on the party menu included the Berry 75, a bubbly combination of Skyy vodka, lemon, and prosecco, as well as the Violeta, which contained Espolón blanco tequila, creme de violette, and pressed lime. Both drinks -- the former came in a champagne flute and the latter was tinted a light blue flavor -- were particularly popular with the ladies.

For the fans of a heavier drink the Barrel Aged Sazarac definitely delivered. Made with Wild Turkey Rye whiskey the classic cocktail came with a square chunk of ice and a shaving of lemon peel. Finally, the menu offered the Boulevardier, with Wild Turkey 81, carpano antica, and campari.

In addition to the special-menu cocktails, guests were invited to try some of the restaurant's other drinks, which include some truly unique creations. For one, the restaurant has one-of-a-kind infusions such as their Buttered Popcorn Tequila. We're fans of the Peter Rabbit, a drink as fun to drink as it is to look at with Pimm's #1 and basil lemonade.

The event also included a small sampling of appetizers. We were able to nab a taste of the miniature burger sliders, and, yes, we mean even smaller than a regular slider. They were perfectly sized for holding in one hand. We also flagged down a waiter with a tray of buffalo-flavored meatballs with a creamy sauce.

As usual at Malarkey's trendy spot, a DJ was spinning (loud) music. It made the atmosphere definitely upbeat and was not at all a bad way to kick-start our culinary festivities.

Check back throughout the week for more of our coverage of the 35th annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival.
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