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More evidence of Downtown Phoenix’s ascension as a destination for fine cocktails can be found at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel’s ICON Lounge in the form of new Chief Mixologist Clint Spotleson, who came on board three weeks ago to re-imagine the historic property’s bar identity.
The experienced and decorated Spotleson, a former My Nana’s margarita challenge winner who has concocted at signature spots like Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort’s Jade Bar, Mabel’s On Main and most recently Crudo in central Phoenix, was intrigued by the opportunities commandeering the bar service at the Renaissance offered.
“It’s a new challenge and will push me to a new level,” said Spotleson. “It’s a bigger beast.”
First on Spotleson’s to-do list was giving the Renaissance staff a graduate level education on the finer points of cocktailing, including Cocktail History, History of Spirits, and Distilling Science.
Once the staff is trained and Spotleson can get the inventory updated to include his essential spirits, liqueurs and mixers, he’ll introduce a 10-drink menu.
One such drink will be his take on the classic Manhattan, called the Trade Route, which comingles rye whiskey, the staple digestif Fernet Branca, rum-based Velvet Falernum liqueur and Angostura orange bitters. Stirred, never ever shaken, the Trade Route is a potent, elegant and delicious cocktail.