Welcome to the indecisive mind of a reporter: it's never a matter of how would I introduce a guy like Travis Nass -- a sort of fabled mixologist, tucked away in a cabin-in-the-woods-like setting, a couple turns on a dirt road wandering from Paradise Valley's, let's say, "lustre," manning the cowboy-ish Last Drop Bar at the Hermosa Inn. It's anything but rugged, but far from an expected place to find some of the better -- and stiffer - cocktails in town.
It's more of a question of how should I introduce Travis Nass. I suppose I'll skip the mustache, the history of bars tended, his induction to The 2015 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame -- because you'd expect all of that.
I should introduce Nass, then, by telling you that from a man that consistently reframes my perspective on what a strong cocktail is -- what he calls a "glass full of booze" -- I asked for a spring cocktail, something that could be floral or fruity, and got his version of 'The Last Word' called 'El Ultimo.' It's equal parts sotol (an Chihuahuan agave distillate made from the Desert Spoon plant), cooling Chareau (an aloe and cucumber liquor), herbaceous green chartreuse and lime juice, a combination that knocks your out of your boots and into some sandals. Rest your Spring Training cap here, weary traveler; you're both a side-street and a world away from Paradise Valley.