The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2010

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Page 72 of 104

VODkA Tito’s Takeover THIS HANDMADE VODkA BRAND FROM TEXAS MAY WELL BE ON ITS WAY TO WORLD DOMINATION, AND IT’S GOT ONE INCREDIBLE TOEHOLD LOCkED UP: THE PHOENICAN RESORT IN SCOTTSDALE, AZ by Rachel Burkons / photos by Brandon Sullivan t’s been hovering around 105 degrees since daybreak, and The Phoenican Resort rises out of Scottsdale’s famed red-rock desert landscape like a luxurious—not to mentioned air-conditioned—oasis of classic chic. But this sprawling resort is no heat- induced mirage; instead, it’s home to one of the most innovative beverage programs in the hospital- ity industry today, and at the helm is Mac Gregory, the property’s Director of Food and Beverage and an ami- able man who takes his job, and this business, seriously. “If you’re going to be one of the best resorts in the world, you have to rise to a certain level,” acknowledges Gregory, for whom the goal of perfection is clearly a first-and-foremost kind of priority. “You don’t come to The Phoenician to have a good Martini—you come here to have a great Martini.” With that thought constantly in mind, Gregory knew that when creating his 102-selection vodka menu, providing depth and variety wouldn’t be enough to drive the program forward without a flawless “go-to” spirit that embodies his and his staff’s dedication to excellence. Fortunately for anyone looking to quench a desert-fueled thirst with a cocktail, Gregory and The Phoenician have found the perfect spirit to carry the resort’s vodka program: Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Long a cult favorite among vodka aficionados who have praised this Texas-based brand’s unparal- leled smoothness—the result of a slow six-times micro-distilled 100% corn mash— Tito’s is an American success story at its best. Founded by Tito Beveridge, a former geo-physicist and “mortgage guy” who started making vodka as Christmas gifts for family and friends in the early ‘90s, Tito’s was a start-up gamble, complete with $88,000 in debt spread out over I Tito’s Handmade Vodka is the perfect base for both a classic Dirty Martini, made here with Arizona-grown stuffed olives, and in the as-yet- unnamed blackberry cocktail created by The Phonecian’s beverage team especially for the CEO of Research in Motion (makers of the BlackBerry device) as part of an upcoming event at the resort. “Tito’s is leading the charge in our domestic vodka collection,” attests Gregory. 72 / the tasting panel / august 2010

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