Arizona Chefs Go For Local Flavors

Dishes Featuring Ingredients That are Uniquely Arizona, plus a Recipe for a Monsoon Sazerac Whisky Cocktail.

Arizona Cactus / Jill Dutton

Local Ingredient: Cactus

Danielle Leoni, the executive chef and co-owner of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, includes Arizona cactus on her menu. Her appetizer Squid & Cactus Paddle Frittas includes Longfin Squid, cactus paddle and local vegetables in a spicy pepper sauce. The Breadfruit & Rum Bar has award-winning modern Jamaican cuisine in an elegantly casual and tropical setting. Offering expertly prepared jet-fresh seafood, daring new rum cocktails, and a finely curated collection of premium rums and cigars. Diners can expect wild caught and sustainable seafood, locally grown organic produce as well as locally raised meats.

Rattlesnake with Cactus Fries / Facebook

Local Ingredient: Rattlesnake

Rustler’s Rooste mountaintop eatery boasts a panoramic view of the valley lights from any seat in the house. Rustler’s Rooste serves the finest steaks, ribs, chicken and the freshest seafood, but the one aspect of their menu that diners can’t get anywhere else is their authentic rattlesnake.

Quissence at the Farm / Facebook

Local Ingredient: Farm To Table

Dining at Quiessence at the Farm is unlike any other experience in Arizona. The lush and vibrant Soil & Seed Garden on property includes ingredients that are then incorporated into the menu for an authentic farm-to-table experience. Chef Dustin Christofolo determines each element planted in the garden to perfect his refined, rustic menus that adjust with each harvest. The flavors of the Arizona terroir shine through each dish with the unique layering of flavors and exceptional uses of the local ingredients.

Local Ingredient: Creosote

Garden Bar PHX is a garden-to-glass cocktail experience by James Beard-honored mixologist Kim Haasarud located in the historic Roosevelt South neighborhood of Phoenix that’s inspired by fresh ingredients, artisanal spirits, and sustainability practices. Garden Bar PHX offers a Monsoon Sazerac whisky cocktail. Monsoon season in Arizona is one that is not only identified by the pouring rains, but the smell of those rains.  Creosote is a wild bush (aka greasewood) that is found throughout Arizona or almost any desert landscape.  Once it’s hit with water, it releases a scent that is all too familiar.  (One can even detect rain coming with this aroma.)  It’s a clean, earthy fragrance that is so signature to the desert. This bush can be harvested for its leaves and is used in many topical salves to soothe skin and inflammation. One can also make a tincture out of it and embody that fragrance of a desert monsoon.

Monsoon Sazerac

1 oz wheat whiskey (i.e. AZ Distilling Desert Durum or High West American Prairie)

1 oz Calvados (or cognac)

Barspoon simple syrup

3 dashes Peychaud bitters

Barspoon of Absinthe (for rinsed glass)

5 drops of creosote tincture *

Lemon Peel

*Creosote Tincture

Add approximately 50g of creosote leaves / branches in a mason jar.  Fill halfway with everclear (or overproof spirit).  Let sit overnight to fully infuse and evaporate some of the alcohol.  Strain. Filter into a dropper.


  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice and add the absinthe.  Stir and set aside.
  2. In a mixing glass, add the bourbon, Calvados, simple syrup and Peychaud bitters.  
  3. Fill with ice and stir for 30 seconds.
  4. Dump out the absinthe-ice in the rocks glass.
  5. Strain the stirred contents into the absinthe-rinsed glass.
  6. Add a dropper of the creosote tincture into the cocktail.
  7. Top with a lemon twist and serve.

Recipe Credit: Kim Haasarud / Garden Bar PHX

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