Martini Madness

The Best Of The Best

Writing this post was so much fun that we really had to apply some strict discipline in order to keep it professional.

Before heading over to Maui for a while, we decided to sample some of what Phoenix/Scottsdale has to offer. What could be more fun than sampling Martinis and sharing the recipes?

Our first stop was the Soul Cafe in North Scottsdale. This is already one of our favorite spots and the perfect place to start our bar tour.

Soul Cafe


April 10, 2015, Happy Hour

The atmosphere is laid back and down to earth. The staff is friendly and casual. Sheila, the owner, stopped by for a few minutes to chat. The very excellent bartender, Conor, was kind enough to share the recipes of the drinks he recommended. Thank you, Conor!

1.  Hot Marilyn

Cut strawberries

Muddled Jalapenos

Mint & lime flavoring to taste, a few drops are sufficient (you can muddle fresh mint with lime rinds if you don’t have flavoring)

1/2 oz Strawberry Puree

1 1/2 oz Skyy Strawberry Vodka

Muddle the jalapenos (and  the fresh mint with lime rinds if you’re going to use them)  in the shaker, add ice, vodka , mint, lime and puree. Shake, strain and pour. Float the sliced strawberries on top and add a sliced jalapeno to the rim.

2.   Coconut Martini 

1/2 oz Vanilla

2 oz Coconut Vodka

Splash of pineapple juice

1/2 oz Cake Vodka

1/2 oz of heavy cream or half and half, depending on your taste

Toasted coconut

Pour the liquids over ice into a shaker. Spin the rim of the martini glass in simple syrup and dip the sticky rim into the toasted coconut. Shake, strain and pour.

This is a high octane drink! It is so tasty that you can easily down three of them before you even feel the first one. Eat something with it.

Onward and upward!

Roy’s Desert Ridge


April 15, 2015, Happy Hour

Next on our list is Roy’s Desert Ridge at the J. W. Marriott Hotel. Back in January we posted an article on Roy’s cuisine. Now it’s time to comment on their drinks.

We started going to Roy’s in Hawaii when the first one was opened in Hawaii Kai on Oahu  in 1988 and were thrilled when one was opened in Phoenix .

In a fitting send off to tax day, what better place than the bar at Roy’s? The atmosphere of the bar, restaurant and grounds are as close to a Hawaiian resort as one can get without actually being in Hawaii. The bartenders, Robert Holditch and Kenny Carlson were great and the restaurant manager, Chris Karkoski was very gracious and informative.

1.  Roy’s Hawaiian Martini

This is Roy’s signature martini and the recipe is for a batch that serves six. If you’re going to serve this at a party, it needs five days advance preparation prior to serving and believe me, it’s worth it!

1 Ripe pineapple

2 Cups of Skyy Vodka

1 Cup of Malibu Coconut Rum

1 Cup of Stoli Vanil

2  oz of simple syrup

Slice the pineapple into one inch pieces and store the slices in a gallon container. Thoroughly blend the Skyy Vodka, Malibu Coconut Rum, Stoli Vanil and the simple syrup. Pour the mixture over the pineapple slices. Let the whole thing sit at room temperature for five days to infuse the flavor. When it’s time to serve, pour over ice, shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a wedge of fresh pineapple leaving the skin on the wedge. Yum!

2.  1988

Roy Yamaguchi opened his first restaurant in Hawaii in 1988. This drink is in honor of that day.

1 1/2 oz Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka

1/2 oz Patron Citronge Liqueur

1/2 oz Soho Lychee Liqueur

1/4 oz Pomegranate juice

1/4 oz Fresh grapefruit juice

Shake, strain and pour. Drop in a whole lychee to complete. Some of the brand names may be hard to find, if so, use common sense substitutes.

Moving right along.

Tommy Bahama’s, Kierland Commons, Scottsdale, AZ


April 18, 2015, Lunch

Tommy’s is always a pretty cool place to hang out no matter where the location. Outside the door at this location, there is no denying that you are in Arizona. Inside, the setting is unmistakably tropical, could be Maui, HI or Naples, FL.

After introducing ourselves to Daina Hunt, General Manager, we sat down at the bar. This Saturday afternoon the bar was packed! The bartender, Shane Terry was kind enough to take a few moments between serving drinks so that he could share some of Tommy B’s recipes with us.

1.  Grapefruit Basil Martini

This was already one of my favorites and I would have ordered it no matter.

Over ice cubes in a metal shaker

2 1/2 oz Grey Goose Vodka

1 oz Fresh grapefruit Juice

Fresh muddled basil

Shake, strain and pour. Float some basil on top

Super good and super simple to make!

2.  Bye, Bye Blues

A very unusual martini. Despite the fact that there are no blueberries in it, it is blue, almost purple in color and has a hint of blueberry taste.

Over ice cubes in a metal shaker

2 1/2 oz Van Gogh Acai

1 1/2 oz Scratch Lemonade

Fresh muddled mint

Shake, strain and pour. Float some fresh mint on top.

The  simplicity and creativity of this drink is striking.

3.  Key Lime 

Yup, it was a long afternoon and two just wouldn’t do. So, we saved the best for last. This drink was just so damned good it is hard to describe. It was like drinking a piece of pie.

Over ice cubes in a metal shaker

2 oz Van Gogh Blue

1/2 oz Licor 43

2 oz Keke Liqueur

Crumbled Graham Crackers

Pour the liquids over ice into a shaker. Spin the rim of the martini glass in simple syrup and dip the sticky rim into the crumbled Graham Crackers. Shake, strain and pour. Baby, oh baby!

These were high octane martini’s. It’s a good thing we parked about 1/4 of a mile away. Even so, we stopped to do some shopping and to chill.

Back to the future!

El Chorro


April 23, 2015, Happy Hour

El Chorro is located in Paradise Valley and  is right out of the1950’s with a nice, modern, southwestern twist.

After introducing ourselves to the General Manager, Ryan Prentiss, we sidled up to the bar in our best 1950’s threads and in keeping with the atmosphere, ordered two classic martinis. We were served by the Beverage Manager, Alec Van Dobben who expertly prepared our drinks. A vodka martini for me and an iconic gin martini for Kathy.

Classic Vodka Martini

Over ice cubes in a metal shaker

3 1/4 oz Ketle Vodka

A wash of Martini & Rossi vermouth

Shake, strain and pour.

Garnish with 2 pimento stuffed green olives

Classic Gin Martini (this is the REAL classic)

Over ice in a metal shaker

3 1/4 oz Bombay Sapphire gin

A wash of Martini & Rossi vermouth

Shake, strain and pour

Garnish with 2 pimento stuffed green olives

It doesn’t get more classic than this!

So, since this was the last stop on the Martini Madness Tour, we figured what the hell, let’s order a few mixed drinks. Alec recommended a French Martini and a Bellini, neither of which we ever had before.

Alec’s French Martini

Over ice cubes in a metal shaker

2 oz Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur

1/4 oz cranberry juice

1/4 oz orange juice

1/4 oz pineapple juice

Shake, strain and pour

Garnish with a slice of orange

Very refreshing. It cut the edge off the very, very potent Classic Vodka Martini.


Over ice cubes in a metal shaker

4 oz Cava (Spanish sparkling wine)

1 oz Ciroc Peach Vodka

1 oz white peach puree

Stir, strain and pour

Garnish with a peach slice

Like drinking peach Champagne. Deceptively potent!

This ends the Martini Madness Tour.

Now it’s off to rehab!


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