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Ross Simon, proprietor of Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour, thinks about cocktails in the way an engineer might think about building a prototype: Equal parts science, innovation and creativity.
That may be why the new cocktail menu features a science fiction-themed cover straight from the 1956 cult classic “Forbidden Planet.” The sci-fi design plays well with the interior’s vintage vibe, but the new cocktails are what make the experience truly out of this world.
From an artful upgrade to a Long Island Iced Tea to a fruity spin on a Pisco Sour, Ross Simon stays true to his back-to-basics style. The majority of the cocktails remain deconstructed classics done right — and the newbies, which make up about 30 percent of the menu, are no exception.
The L.I.T. Up, served in a Coca-Cola can minus the actual soda, could certainly qualify as the most interesting addition. Using Amaro Averna — a sweet, thick and herby liqueur — port wine, vanilla liqueur, lemon bitters and an in-house carbonation system used to recreate the Coca-Cola flavor, the L.I.T. Up takes the Long Island Iced Tea “from crap to craft,” according to Simon.
Using premium vodka, gin, rum and tequila, it’s also quite potent too – there’s a limit of two per guest.
New food items also made an appearance, and while the drink menu will likely change annually, the noshes change with the seasons.
The Green Chili “Mac” with house-made green chili, a four-cheese sauce and jalapenos, just showed up this spring. It’s decadent and delicious with just the right amount of kick.
For a great shared appetizer, the Betelnut Pork Belly or Smoked Brisket Tacos go great with a nice strong cocktail. The pork belly is served in easy-to-split pieces with a bright red Korean-style barbecue caramelized around the outside. The pork belly melts in your mouth and goes perfectly with the sweet and tangy flavor of the sauce.
For whiskey lovers, try La Chocolat Sazerac — it might become your new addiction. With just the right amount of booze-forwardness, a hint of cacao, and some added light and sweet flavors from the Peychaud’s Bitters and Aztec Chocolate Bitters, it goes down like a dream.
If something on the fruitier spectrum seems more your speed, the Sucker Punch captures the sweet, fragrant flavors of summer. Using the traditional combo of Pisco and bitters, Simon takes it up a notch by mixing the Peruvian liquor with lime, strawberry candy syrup and plum bitters – which adds a balance to the sweetness. It’s served ice-cold and a bit frothy.
For something traditional, try the B&T Flawless Martini, which is a pre-blended mix of gin or vodka, vermouth and served at less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit — it’s perfection.
If you’re a Martini or Old Fashioned lover, or maybe have always heard of the Negroni and want to give it a try — take one of the old gals for a spin around the dance floor. There’s a reason why certain drinks stand the test of time.
The old standbys and mainstays Bitter and Twisted has come to be known for will likely take up permanent residence on the menu.
Located in the heart of Downtown Phoenix inside the historic Luhrs Building just off the light rail, Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour is open Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. with food served until 1:30 a.m. Click here for more information or to check out the new menu.