Elevated Spirits

Elevated Spirits

By Lauren Wise

The Airpark pours it on when it comes to beverage programs

What’s your poison?  Would you like a palate-punching-peaty Bruichladdich whisky that tastes like a shot of smoke? Or maybe a sweet and viscous 1921 La Crème de Mexico tequila flavored like cake in a cocktail glass? How about a buttery chardonnay that tastes like the terroir of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, or an effervescent glass of beer that resembles a liquid tossed-hops salad? Whatever libation lifts your spirits, there’s a beverage program around the Airpark to sate your thirst.


Scotch Library at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

6902 E. Greenway Pkwy., Scottsdale

480-624-1000, kierlandresort.com

At the Scotch Library at Westin Kierland Resort, the Scotch selection is the largest whisky offering in the Southwest: more than 250 bottles, representing all six whisky regions of Scotland. Patrons can settle into the cushy tasting nook or at one of the few library tables and indulge in the live bagpipe-laden ambiance. With three rare bottles on display – a Macallan 62, the second oldest Macallan ever released; a Glenfiddich 50, one of 400 bottles in the world; and the Balvenie 50, in one of only four places it’s served in the country – patrons can experience historic spirits glory.

“What makes our collection unique is our commitment to rare whisky,” says Scotch ambassador Guy Sporbert, who has been bartending for almost 50 years and selling whisky locally for over 25. Sporbert hosts “An Evening of Scotches” every Friday, and a monthly Masters Tasting event featuring ambassadors from leading Scotch producers.


Tequila tome at The Mission Kierland

7122 E. Greenway Pkwy., Scottsdale

480-292-7800, themissionaz.com/the-mission-kierland

For those seeking flavors south of the border, the massive tome of tequilas at The Mission Kierland quells cravings.

“We have about 90 different brands of tequila, mezcal, and cult tequilas,” explains The Mission’s bar manager, Ruthie Bundy. She suggests the Cuarto, made with 100 percent blue agave from Jalisco. Its name is Spanish for “love sonnet,” and the bottle comes with a guitar pick.

The Mission location in North Scottsdale shares the camaraderie and comfort of The Mission outpost in Old Town. “Our location near our sister restaurant is a great base for what we do; there is that family mentality here,” Bundy says of the Kierland area.


Cocktail cachet at Jade Bar

5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley

800-405-1964, sanctuaryoncamelback.com/dining/jade-bar

Classic and craft cocktails come with vertiginous views at Jade Bar at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa. Nestled on Camelback Mountain, Jade Bar is known for stunning panoramas visible through floor-to-ceiling windows, and for fostering some of the country’s top chefs and bartenders.

Every Saturday at Jade Bar, bartenders hold Mixology 101 classes and share the history and techniques behind innovative cocktails. Private sessions are also available. “What we’ve been evolving into is what I like to call a teaching bar,” says Eddie Garcia, lead mixologist and bartender. “Jade Bar was once the center of the cocktail world in Arizona, so we have a great tradition of nurturing professionals here, and we’re passing that onto our patrons. That is the nature of the hospitality business, after all.”

At Jade Bar, there are arguably more classic drinks on the menu than other establishments. After all, what’s old is new again. “We try not to do any spins on anything,” Garcia says. “There’s really only seven or eight drinks that have ever been made, and everything else is a revamp.”

The classics work well for the bar’s clientele, a mix of worldly resort guests, resort members, celebrities and locals.


Vino taps at Sorso Wine Room

15323 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale

480-951-4344, sorsowineroom.com

Sorso Wine Room (located in Scottsdale Quarter) offers a choose-your-own-adventure experience. Owners Mark and Lauren Teahen created a wine bar to explore wines and relax (sorso is Italian for “sip”), where guests choose from 32 different world wines, available in a range of self-pour sizes. The bar’s exposed black piping on the ceiling and vino vending machine (yep, wine on tap!) give it a rustic-meets-industrial chic.

“Our guests can serve themselves and explore wines at their leisure. We also offer around 150 bottles and 14 house wines by the glass,” Lauren Teahen says. “The list is ever-evolving.”

Boutique beer at McFate’s Tap + Barrel

7337 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale

480-994-1275, mcfatebrewing.com

Palates that prefer hops over grapes get placated at McFate’s Tap + Barrel, which showcases stouts, porters, sours, lagers and IPAs – all of an Arizona variety.

“Everyone from college students to North Scottsdale residents frequent this spot for beers like the Fatality IPA and the Hatch green chile beer,” general manager Mike Brushnahan says.

Since its inception in 2012, McFate has brewed more than 300 kinds of small-batch beers. Some local favorites and award-winners include the McFate Hatch Chile Gatos (a blonde ale), McFate’s Irish Red, and McFate Maria’s Fine Malt Liquor.