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Voting underway to choose Phoenix’s signature cocktail

By Christina Estes
Published: Friday, April 5, 2024 - 2:43pm
Updated: Friday, April 5, 2024 - 3:06pm

Christina Estes/KJZZ
The final four drinks in the "Spirit of Phoenix" competition were presented at Tarbell's in Phoenix on April 4, 2024.

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is not the only “Final Four” in town. Phoenix has created a competition with a twist.

It’s called the “Spirit of Phoenix” — an idea Mayor Kate Gallego pitched to the Arizona Restaurant Association to craft the city’s signature cocktail.

“We hope one day The Phoenix will be on bar venues across the Valley and hopefully, even more broadly.”
— Mayor Kate Gallego

“We’re going to celebrate the great culinary scene and the great beverages that we are becoming nationally known for, as well as the very talented professionals behind our impressive cocktail scene,” she said. “We hope one day The Phoenix will be on bar venues across the Valley and hopefully, even more broadly.”

Jax Donahue, owner of Pour Form Consulting, helped organize the competition.

Page explaining cocktail ingredients
Christina Estes/KJZZ
The final four drinks in the "Spirit of Phoenix" competition.

“The only known city named cocktail would be The Manhattan. That's the only traditional one that is known around the world based on just a sole city in the U.S. Other cocktails definitely are considered to represent states or to represent a city but not specifically named for it like that," Donahue said.

From more than 70 entries, a panel of experts, including Donahue, picked the final four.

“We wanted to make it accessible to everyone."
— Jax Donahue, competition coordinator and judge

“They are meant to be staying anonymous,” he said. “I can tell you that not all of them work in cocktail bars. Some of them may be home bartenders, some of them may work at breweries, so it's really a gamut of different people that made it to the top four, which was the whole point. We didn't want it to just be cocktail owners or just people that work at fancy bars. We wanted to make it accessible to everyone.”

Samples of the final four will be at various locations in April. The public will choose the top two and then a final round of voting will lead to a winner being announced on June 2, which is 6-02, Phoenix’s area code.

Christina Estes/KJZZ
The final four drinks in the "Spirit of Phoenix" competition.