by Alison Bailin Batz
Pairing food with beer, wine or spirits is nothing new. But, what about skipping the pairing altogether and just infusing the food itself with the aforementioned libations? When executed thoughtfully – and not just adding it in for the sake of it – menu items with a touch of “spirit” can provide the perfect hint of heat, tartness and even sweetness to the dish.
Peanut Butter Beeramisu
Who said beer and dessert don’t mix? At Mountain Shadows’ signature eatery, executive chef Chuck Wiley uses the beer’s carbonation to provide an airy texture to the black cocoa Chantilly, which is accented by a crisp gingersnap crumble. $9. At Mountain Shadows, 5445 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley; 480.624.5400; www.mountainshadows.com.
Bourbon Philly Cheesesteak
The Bourbon Cellar
A generous portion of grilled USDA prime rib-eye steak is marinated in The Bourbon Cellar’s very own house bourbon before being topped with cheese, onions, peppers, and mushrooms and served on a ciabatta roll. $16. 32409 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480.595.5868; www.thebourboncellar.com.
The Booze Burger
Paradise Valley Burger Company
Warning: You may not want to drive after this one. The Booze Burger features two beer-battered, fried beef patties smothered with a green chile and bacon cream sauce that’s infused with vodka. It is even topped with smoked chilies pickled in whiskey. $9. 4001 E. Bell Road, Phoenix; 602.535.4930; www.pvburgercompany.com.
Blue Corn Short Stack
Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen
Forget maple syrup! These blue corn pancakes are ladled with creamy orange-poppy seed custard and then the showstopper – a housemade syrup infused with rye whiskey aged in charred oak barrels. $16. At Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, 6114 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480.368.1234; www.andazscottsdale.com.
Chimayo Chile Filete de Puerco
Spotted Donkey Cantina
This savory oven-roasted pork tenderloin is not only accompanied with brown butter hominy and broccolini, but also with a bourbon-ancho chili sauce that’s made with High West Double Rye Bourbon, which combines two- and 16-year-old varieties and is known for its heat. $18.95. At Boulders Resort & Spa, 34505 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480.488.3358; www.theboulders.com.
Citizen Public House
This is not your mother’s meatloaf (or maybe it is!). This award-winning restaurant’s take on a classic dish includes a boozy glaze made from Montenegro Amaro, an Italian spirit featuring a secret blend of 40 botanicals, including vanilla and orange peels. It’s served alongside smashed Yukon gold potatoes and roasted zucchini. $24. 7111 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale; 480.398.4208; www.citizenpublichouse.com.
Bourbon Glazed Coal-Fired Duck
Paired with a carrot puree, heirloom radishes, baby potatoes and spring veggies, this duck is kicked up a notch with a rhubarb chutney infused with Bulleit Bourbon straight from Kentucky. $35. 6350 E. Thomas Road; 480.272.7500; www.pitchpizzeria.com.
Hefeweizen Brined Pork Chop
Meritage – An Urban Tavern
Brined for 24 hours in North Mountain Brewery Hefeweizen direct from the Phoenix-based brewery, the pork is then grilled to perfection and accompanied by forbidden black rice and
mustard greens. The entire dish is garnished with a bourbon-maple glaze. At JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, $27. 5350 E. Marriott Drive, Phoenix; 480.293.3939;
Duroc Pork Tomahawk
A nod to the classic Negroni cocktail, Fat Ox’s chef Rochelle Daniel tops this massive pork cut with an apple-balsamic glaze that’s been spiked with Campari, a famed Italian liqueur, which creates a tangy, irresistibly bittersweet flavor that complements the juicy pork. $42. 6316 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480.307.6900, www.ilovefatox.com.
Lamb Chop Fondue
The secret to this appetizer is hidden in the bubbling cheese sauce. The fondue is made with pepper jack cheese, garlic, onion and spices, plus white wine for added acidity and sweet tanginess. In addition to the lamb chop, it is also served with chili pecan bread and roasted squash, both great for dipping. $16. 4800 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480.947.0795; www.roaringfork.com.
This true Italian classic features chicken breast topped with spinach and mozzarella on a bed of freshly made penne pasta. The kicker? The panna rosa sauce on top. It’s made with cognac – a high-quality variety of brandy that’s slightly sweeter than whiskey and known for its rich notes of dried fruit and flowers – as well as cream, garlic and pepper. $19. 6339 E. Greenway Road, Scottsdale; 480.951.3775; www.tuttisantiristorante.com.
French Onion Dumplings
Rhythm & Wine
Recently, this wine bar went through a complete rebranding and redesign. But their time-tested dumplings are so popular, they made the cut for the new menu. To make this elevated comfort food, beef and onion are combined with imported Gruyere and brandy. Once mixed together, they are stuffed into handmade wonton shells and steamed. $9. 7605 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale; 480.478.6999; www.rhythmandwine.com.