If you haven’t stopped by the newly remodeled Jade Bar recently, it’s definitely worth a visit. Last fall, Jade Bar finished their expansion and renovation, following in the lines of Elements, which went through a beautiful renovation a few years ago. The floor plan is larger and the views are better with floor-to-ceiling glass walls to encourage viewing of the beautiful valley below. The decor is upscale, yet comfortable, enticing visitors to relax and have fun. Or enjoy the large 850-square-foot patio with a mix of tables, couches, high-tops and a fireplace, perfect for our temperate Phoenix evenings.
The overhaul goes beyond architecture and decor. Master mixologist Ryan Magarian not only worked with the designers to help create an ergonomically sound bar, but also provideda fun and fresh farm-to-table cocktail culture. Margarian is a renowned bartender hailing from the Northwest. “Considered a purist by his industry peers, Ryan’s talent and passion revolves around mixing classic and vintage cocktails, often re-imagined with a whimsical and intelligent twist,” says the website www.liquidrelations.com.
My first experience at the new Jade Bar was at their grand opening where media and VIPs were regaled with new tastes from both the bar and the kitchen. I was impressed by how easily they fit the many people that attended, without it feeling crowded or cramped. The samples that were passed around intrigued my palate enough for a return visit on my birthday.
Before heading in for dinner at Elements, we joined friends for happy hour on the patio. Jade Bar’s Happy Hour is called “The Pour” and it happens every day from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. There are special prices on selections of draft beer, wine and specialty cocktails. My eyes perused the menu and quickly stopped at “Meet the Gingers.” I love any place that makes their own ginger beer and Jade Bar’s product is amazing! You have a choice of three classic ginger beer cocktails, including a Moscow Mule, a Dark and Stormy or a Presbyterian. Their claim that their ginger beer is “extra spicy” is not made in vain. Super delicious. My husband enjoyed a classic gin and tonic, and we were pleasantly delighted to find out that they make their own tonic, as well. We snacked on chilled edamame, blistered shishito peppers and heirloom popcorn and were not disappointed.
On a side note, I want to say that my dinner that followed at Elements was one of the best I’ve had in the Valley. The combination of beautiful city views, a cozy booth to snuggle with my husband and the delicious food, I recommend it for any special occasion. Now back to Jade Bar…
When I was invited to check out Jade Bar on a more intimate level, I jumped at the chance. Meeting with their PR guru, Jan Bracamonte, I was able to get some additional tastes and a better idea of what’s happening at Jade Bar. We sat out on the patio, enjoying the sunset views (and the heat lamps as it was getting a bit chilly) and discussed the menu and the concept.
We ordered three signature cocktails: Kingdom of Walnut (Bols Genever 1820, Punt e Mes “Bitter” Vermouth, Nux Alpina Green Walnut Liqueur), the Pepper Smash #2 (mint, Krogstad Aquavit, lime juice, yellow bell pepper juice and grade A maple syrup) and the Botticelli (vodka, Aperol Italian Bitters, lime juice, grapefruit juice and Brut Champagne). We sipped while we noshed on a few Jade Bar favorites: Steak Tartare, Chicken Liver Mason Jar and the Truffle Mac n’ Cheese.
I’ve been expanding my cocktail palate and I really enjoyed the ones that we tried. The Kingdom of Walnut was a perfect pair with the nuttiness of the truffle in the mac n’ cheese. I described the cocktail when I first tasted it as “Christmas in a glass.” I would order that pairing again, for sure! In the Pepper Smash #2, the kick is perfectly balanced, the main source being the freshly extracted yellow pepper juice (a new one for me). This is a cocktail that is perfect for winter and I think would pair beautifully with the shishito peppers. The Botticelli is a delicate cocktail that could actually be versatile and enjoyed in both the summer and the winter. You’ll notice the commitment to quality products just by reading the menu, practically everything is made in-house (freshly pressed lime juice, freshly extracted honeydew juice, house blended clover honey syrup… just to name a few).
The food is meant to complement Elements, one of Arizona’s best known restaurants thanks to Food Channel star Chef Beau MacMillan. Chef Beau is the man behind both menus, for Elements and for Jade Bar. The menu in Jade Bar includes three categories: very light snacks, smaller plates and then bigger plates (which means you can eat your meal entirely at the bar). And it’s full of very interesting options and you will likely find it very hard to choose. I sure did.
Jade Bar is more than just “The Pour.” Check out Mixology 101 every Saturday. In an intimate setting of a maximum of 10 attendees, learn all about cocktails and spirits, with the Sanctuary mixologists demonstrating three to four cocktails, every Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Cost is $30/person. Check the schedule online.
Love music? Enjoy live music on the patio every Friday night. There are many reasons to visit Jade Bar at Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain… keep coming back to explore them over and over.
Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa