Arizona’s 11th Cocktail Weekend begins on Thursday, March 9 and runs through March 13. And though the weekend is built around cocktail competitions for professional mixologists, there are plenty of classes, events and activities for those who prefer to be on the receiving end of the bar.
The three main competitions start on Saturday, March 11, while classes and tasting events kick off on Thursday. Some events and classes are free while others require tickets.
Here’s your complete guide to Arizona Cocktail Weekend 2023.
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Arizona Cocktail Weekend classes
Cocktail Weekend classes rank from those geared towards the pros and those for the amateur slinger. The below classes are for the latter. Find the full list of classes on the Arizona Cocktail Weekend website.
Sustainable bartending at Little Rituals
On Saturday, Jaymee Mandeville, Brittney Olsen and Eddy Johnson will cover sustainable practices in cocktail mixing at Little Rituals. The course is part of Future Proof bartending program in association with The Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University. The program includes spirits, history, cocktails, tools and techniques, hospitality and future or sustainability practices.
When: Saturday, March 11 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Where: Little Rituals at 132 S. Central Ave., Fourth Floor, Phoenix.
Tickets: Free to attend. Reserve your spot here: eventbrite.com/e/future-proof-sustainability-tickets-559251144227.
Mixing with Mexican corn liqueur at Barcoa
Cesar Sandoval of Casa Lumbre Spirits is holding a class on Nixta Licor de Elote, a Mexican corn liqueur made from a base of ancestral maize, and Abasolo, the first 100% ancestral corn Mexican whiskey. When: Saturday, March 11 from 2 to 3 p.m.
Where: Barcoa Agaveria at 829 N. First Ave., Phoenix.
Tickets: $10 per person includes light snacks from Provecho and a cocktail created from the two spirits. Get yours here: eventbrite.com/e/casa-lumbre-tasting-training-tickets-570801742377.
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Arizona Cocktail Weekend food and drink events
Let’s be honest, you’re in it for the food and drink. You can find a list of bars serving special cocktail weekend tipples on the official website. Here are some of the most interesting events and takeovers happening around town.
Yoga and a spritz at Garden Bar
On Saturday, March 11, guests can start the day with 90-minutes of yoga on the lawn at Garden Bar followed by bloody mary’s, southside spritzers and a yogurt parfait bar.
When: Saturday, March 11 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Garden bar at 822 N. Sixth Ave., Phoenix.
Tickets: $25 for yoga, two organic drinks per person and access to yogurt bar. eventbrite.com/e/yoga-on-the-lawn-sponsored-by-prairie-organic-tickets-553131801107
Palomar’s Cuban heritage takeover at Highball
On March 9, Portland’s Cuban-inspired bar, Palomar, takes over Highball to celebrate Cuban Heritage with a menu of snacks and drinks.
The event is sponsored by Bacardi and proceed form sales go to Another Round Another Rally, a non profit organization that offers education and emergency funds to the members of the hospitality industry.
When: Thursday, March 9 from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Where: 1514 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix.
Tickets: Free to attend, but reservations are recommended through Highball’s website. highballphx.com/reservations.
San Francisco and New York bars take over at Chilte
On March 11, Josh Harris from San Francisco’s Trick Dog and Masa Urushido from New York’s Katana Kittenone, both Top 50 bars in the world, pair Patrón margaritas with tacos at Chilte.
When: Egyptian Motor Hotel at 765 Grand Ave., Phoenix.
Where: Saturday, March 11 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Tickets: Free with RSVP. eventcreate.com/e/pre-game.
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2023 Arizona Cocktail Weekend Signature Events
And now, for the main events. These are the cocktail showdowns and tastings the weekend has become famous for.
On Saturday, Cocktail Carnival kicks off the main events with live music from Giant Red Project and show-stopping cocktails from more than 30 brands.
Ticket price includes 12 cocktail samples.
The event is 21 and older. VIP tickets allow for early admission.
When: Saturday, March 11 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. VIP admission at 8 p.m.
Where: Walter Where?House at 702 N. 21st Ave., Phoenix. walterwherehouse.com.
Tickets: $65 for general admission and $90 for VIP. seetickets.us/event/Cocktail-Carnival/527104
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The signature event on Sunday features popups from the world’s 40 best bars, like Amaro Bar and Coupette from London, Analogue from Singapore, Handshake Bar from Mexico City and top Arizona bars like 1912 Bar, Century Grand, Garden Bar and Little Rituals in Phoenix and Hotel Congress in Tucson.
The bars will popup at The Croft.
When: Sunday, March 12, 8 to 11:59 p.m.
Where: The Croft Downtown, 22 E. Buchanan St., Phoenix. 602-462-9700, thecroftdowntown.com.
Tickets: $60 per person and includes access to drinks at all bars. eventbrite.com/e/top-bars-2023-tickets-510116140107.
Last Slinger Standing
Guests can watch this live cocktail competition where 16 finalists from top Arizona bars face off to see who will be the last slinger standing.
Last year’s winner was Lauren Azevedo of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.
This year 200 Arizona bartenders competed for 16 final spots. Here are the finalists:
- Trey Bivens from The Rose Garden.
- Ricky Cubillos from Platform 18.
- Frank De La Cruz from Little Rituals.
- Ruben Fernandez III from UnderTow.
- Michele Hartmann from Hidden House Cocktail Lounge.
- Delena Humble from Sin Muerte.
- Abby Kate Larsen from J&G Steakhouse.
- Michael Lopez from Clever Koi.
- Tait Ludwick from Liberty Station.
- Mitch Lyons from Highball Cocktail Bar.
- Christina McMahon from Little Woody.
- David Muhlstein from Hulas Captain’s Cabin.
- Ethan Pineda from Trevor’s Liquor Scottsdale.
- John Roberts from Citizen Public House.
- Savannah Renaud from The Womack.
- Caleb Shroyer from Neighborly Public House.
Drinks are available for purchase at the event. The money raised from ticket sales will go to Another Round Another Rally.
When: Monday, March 13, 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Where: Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) at 402 S. 54th Place, Phoenix.
Tickets: $10 per person. eventbrite.com/e/the-last-slinger-standing-tickets-551444363937
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