Last night, we found ourselves in the back alleys of Scottsdale, seeking a local speakeasy, Citizen R+D to immerse ourselves in a fun, new trend in cocktails. In true speakeasy fashion, we called the phone number listed on a clipboard hanging by a nail and then awaited our burly gatekeeper, Tony, to enter the intimate, swanky club.
This particular night, mixologists Kris and Tara, prepared for us three drinks we selected from an extensive list of 27 options -- this particular night's rotation of choices. First up, was the Shell Shock, which tasted fabulously similar to the Pusser's Painkillers we wrote about last week. This version was a concoction of rum, vanilla ice cream, pineapple juice, the coconut milk from the fresh coconut our drink was served in, all topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Next up, the Black Blazer. Prepared table-side, this flaming combination of Jameson Irish whiskey, Blackmaker root beer liqueur, Stroh black strap molasses high-proof rum, maple syrup, topped with whipped cream and toasted orange peel, packed quite a wallop. And, yes, before you exclaim that we ordered another drink, please note that there were three of us in attendance.
Our third, and final selection, was the La Flama Blanca, another table-side flaming creation (we like fire), this time with Patron XO Cafe, Stroh black strap molasses high proof rum, espresso, grated Mexican chocolate, and whipped cream on the top. Similar in some respects to the Black Blazer, but it evoked a completely different flavor profile.
Among the other concoctions we spotted in the club, were paint can punch (literally served in a paint can), and dry ice charged drinks that brought to mind a witch's brew.
Speakeasies are a hot new trend, with establishments like this popping up in cities across the country.
These aren't the old-fashioned speakeasies where you could get yourself
a tumbler full of moonshine. Back in the day, bartenders were forced
to try to find innovative ways to hide the awful taste of the hooch.
Today, these modern speakeasies are the dens of creative mixologists who
are taking old-fashioned drinks and reinventing them with unique
ingredients and a flair for the dramatic. While clearly not illegal in
modern times, their hidden locations, nondescript entrances, and
limited capacity, make you feel like you just might be doing something