The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2013

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Page 52 of 164

Desert Darling SAMANTHA ROGERS KEEPS THE BEVERAGE PROGRAM FRESH AT HOTEL VALLEY HO IN SCOTTSDALE The Friendly Donkey Roger's position on libations is perfectly exemplified in the La Burra Amistosa (The Friendly Donkey). "I had a woman come in who wanted a tequila drink, but didn't necessarily want a Margarita, explains Rogers. "So " I thought of adding the basil, Grand Marnier and ginger beer. It made an incredibly light and refreshing cocktail that's perfect for the desert. " La Burra Amistosa as served at Café ZuZu by Breanne DeMore / photos by Jeremy Ball P icture this: It's 1956 and you're visiting the growing desert town of Scottsdale, Arizona. Knowing that only the coolest cats and darling dolls stay at Hotel Valley Ho, you head there and what do you see? Zsa Zsa grabbing a drink at the bar; Bing hitting the tennis courts; Marilyn sun-tanning by the pool. More than 55 years later, the Valley Ho is having its second heyday. After a five-year, multi-million dollar renovation, Hotel Valley Ho now looks like a spanking new transplant from the 1950s—and Arizonans and visitors alike can't get enough. "Despite being a hotel, I would say about half of my bar customers are regulars, either locals or repeat guests," explains Head Bartender Samantha Rogers. "It's always encouraging to see a familiar face coming back for something that you created." Café ZuZu, the food and Head Bartender Samantha Rogers shows o≠ the beverage base for the swanky grounds of the mod Hotel Valley Ho. boutique resort, sticks to the theme with contemporary updates to traditional American cuisine. So how much does Rogers use the Valley Ho's posh past to create the cocktail menu? "I researched the drinks of choice of some of the most famous guests from the '50s, and then used those as inspiration," says Rogers. "My customers are always first though," proclaims Rogers. "I try to make original, delicious combinations, but the last thing I would want to do is scare a customer away from trying something. My mixology philosophy is to keep things fresh, easy and cool." 52  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2013 ◗ 1½ oz. Patrón Silver Tequila ◗ ½ oz. Grand Marnier ◗ ½ oz. agave syrup ◗ 3 strawberries ◗ 2 basil leaves ◗ 3 lime wedges ◗ ginger beer ◗ Muddle strawberries, basil and lime. Add Patrón, Grand Marnier and agave. Shake and strain. Top with ginger beer.

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