Story | Michelle Jacoby
Photography | Mark Lipczynski
When it comes to the Valley’s bar scene, it certainly isn’t lacking in crowded bars filled with 20-somethings hunched over their cell phones while sipping overly-sweet, slushy-style cocktails, glancing up only to take the occasional selfie. No, we’ve got plenty of those.
What we don’t have enough of are places like the revamped, restyled Mix Up Bar at the Royal Palms Resort, where the stylishly intimate atmosphere lends itself to a laidback evening with friends sharing stories over wine and cocktails.
As part of T. Cook’s dramatic renovation last year, the Mix Up Bar was unveiled, revealing a brand-new interior appointed with dark woods, gold and yellow accents, and clean and contemporary lines. But the real transformation took place behind the bar, where Kim Haasarud, founder of beverage consulting firm Liquid Architecture, came on board to develop an innovative beverage program.
“Cocktails should be parallel to the culinary experience,” she says. “It’s about combining ingredients to entice all of the senses with a combination of flavors, textures, aromas and garnishes.”
And when it comes to these ingredients, Hassarud says she sources as local as possible, using flavored bitters from AZ Bitters Lab, botanical sprays from La Bella Terre, and vinegars from Outrageous Olive Oil & Vinegars.
The beverage menu, which also includes wines-by-the-glass and beers on tap, features a mix of classic and signature cocktails. For daring drinkers, unexpected pairings like the Grape & Grain, made with wine or beer, and the IPApple a Day—made with applejack brandy, dry orange curacao, house made apple cider, lemon and IPA—keep things interesting. For the not-so daring, the Zero Proof cocktails (without the booze) will keep them in check.
Small bites by executive chef Paul McCabe put a fresh spin on typical bar food. Think lobster corn dogs, poutine (fries) and smoked potato croquettes (potato skins).