Anyone who grew up in Arizona will tell you, the state prides itself on it’s “Five C’s”: Copper, Cattle, Citrus, Cotton, and Climate. However, The Westin Kierland in Scottsdale has a strong case for adding a sixth C for, cocktails. Beverage Specialist Matthew Allen and Chefs Chris Masco and Zachary Bocker have created a truly authentic Arizona experience in the opening of Doc’s Watering Hole as part of the existing restaurant Nellie Cashman’s Monday Club Cafe.
Both the bar and restaurant use their menus to honor Arizona in a way that makes this local girl’s heart swell with pride. Located overlooking the hotel’s Dreamweaver Canyon, diners and bar patrons get to enjoy the hotels Scottish bagpipes at sunset, honoring Scottish immigrants who heavily contributed to Arizona’s mines, railroads, and towns.
Start at Doc’s Watering Hole, named after the infamous Doc Holiday, and sip on Barrel Aged cocktails from the late 1800’s. These cocktails are handcrafted from Arizona spirits and bitters, including a “C for Citrus” ingredient in each, then barrel aged for 4 weeks and served to you in a corked decanter.
The Manhattan is a fan favorite of course, but the menu also includes the Martinez, a potent blend of Thumb Butte Gurley Street Gin (of Prescott), local Arizona Bitters, Vermouth, and maraschino liqueur, and the orange garnished Blood and Sand, made with unsmoked Whiskey Del Bac from Tucson. Doc’s also offers handcrafted cocktails, such as my favorite, the AZGNT, made with Western Sage Gin from Thumb Butte, John’s Tonic Syrup from Phoenix, and the ever popular Az Bitters Lab “orange sunshine”, garnished with rosemary and lemon, its refreshing, but with a nice bite.
The rosemary garnish may look overpowering, but the way the cocktail is crafted, all you get is subtle rosemary smell, which complements the floral herbaciousness of the sage gin. You’ll notice throughout the bar and restaurant, subtle nods to Arizona’s “C for Copper” mining past in the decor, creating a familiarity and comfort for this local girl.
Drinks in hand, head into Nellie Cashman’s Monday Club cafe, where Executive Chef Chris Masco and Chef de Cuisine Zachary Bocker have thought of everything Arizona when designing the menu. The menu they’ve honored the “C for Cattle” by serving exclusively Arizona Prime Beef. Both the Southwest Caeser Salad and the Green Chili Griddle Cakes offer a modern take on Southwestern cuisine.
While it can be tiring in Arizona to see so much Southwest branded food, Chef Masco’s menu is a breath of fresh air. The Southwest Caesar features fire roasted corn, and cornbread croutons, offering diners something familiar, done fresh. The green chili griddle cakes, similar to a corn cake, offers a mellowing mushroom ragout to the spicy green chili.
For your main course, it’s all about the Arizona Prime. Custom Arizona Prime steak knives cut like butter through any steak offering, and as a self proclaimed steak aficionado, the steak is perfectly simple, seasoned, seared, and served just as food was done in the late nineteenth century. Cashman’s in-house steak sauce is great, but I tend to be a purist when it comes to steak.
Notable sides include the Bisbee Creamed Corn, which combines the best parts of “elote” (grilled Mexican street corn) into an easy and satisfying side. For the less adventurous, the Brussels Sprouts and Au Gratin Potatoes are top notch, prepared simply and perfectly.
If steak isn't your thing, Nellie Cashman’s also offers Pan Seared Rainbow Trout and Turkey Pot Pie with cornbread crust. Finally, if you’ve got room for dessert, try the Triple Berry Creme Brûlée with a cinnamon twist, or the Strawberry Apple Pie, which features a graham cracker crust.
After your meal, head outside and enjoy Dreamweaver Canyon, and the beautiful Arizona “C for Climate”.
Visitors and locals alike will appreciate the experience at Nellie Cashman’s and Doc’s Watering Hole, as well as the Westin Kierland Resort. As for that final “C for Cotton”? I’ll let you know, but something tells me their attention to detail and dedication to honoring Arizona doesn't stop at the food and ambience, and continues throughout the resort.
Click here to read some of Susan Lanier-Graham's experiences at the Westin Kierland Resort—where she attests to some lovely cotton sheets perfect for a lovely night's stay.