In this edition of 120 Seconds, we had the pleasure of talking to Aaron Defeo, Phoenix’s Most Inspired Bartender. The resident bartender of Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Defeo has been chosen as as the Phoenix finalist in Bombay Sapphire’s Search for the Most Inspired Bartender. His outstanding cocktail, Eastern Promises, has garnered his success in the Valley and will bring him to Las Vegas in September.
Competing against 52 top mixologists from across the US, the winner will be featured in and on the cover of GQ magazine. We asked him about drinks, life, and how to win in Vegas. Let’s take a look. We’ll keep you posted on how Defeo does in Vegas.
DLT: What was your inspiration behind Eastern Promises?
I really think that gin–in general–benefits from England’s colonial exploits, much to the detriment of the rest of the world. In particular, some of the eastern & middle-eastern flavor influences and notes stand out… cassia, licorice, cubeb (allspice flavor), and, of course, Coriander, from Morocco. Thai basil, one of the key ingredients in Eastern Promises, is a distinctly Eastern ingredient. It meshes very well with the rest of the notes, especially the licorice botanical, which lends a subtle, basil-like anise to the gin. I also used Ramazzotti Amaro, which not only goes well with the pineapple in the drink, but also carries that anise note. Of course, the pineapple syrup is also made from Chai tea, which evokes so many Eastern flavors (many of which are also found Bombay). »READ MORE