by: Amanda Savage
Tucked away in the heart of Old Town, Cowboy Ciao lives as one of the areas long-standing hubs for food and drinks. With the support and spirit of innovative owner Peter Kasperski, mixologist Alexa “Pixie” Bowler recently debuted a 10 item Arizona-inspired cocktail menu — that’s arguably the best in town.
Many bars attempt seasonal cocktail menus, but few succeed in creating anything people want to talk about. The result is typically a poor representation of mixology made with: one part mass manufactured spirit, one part processed sugar-syrup garnished with a lack of substance and creativity. Luckily, places like Cowboy Ciao exist to show people how it’s done.
Creative, fun and pint-sized Bowler — who may occasionally introduce herself as your “Spirit Guide” — adds a depth to her cocktails that borderlines art. For the Arizona-themed menu, she didn’t solely create names or flavors reminiscent of the state (that would be easy), but carried the theme through to the origin of the product she uses. Local husband-wife owned AZ Bitters Lab supply the bitters, the bourbon comes from Tempe’s first distillery — no aspect of any cocktail went unnoticed.
Although it was difficult to only feature four: the Gin Blossom, Berry Goldwater, 50 Shades of Zane Grey and Side Haboob capture the creativity and quality of this menu.