Check out the best things to do in metro Phoenix this weekend, including Wet Electric with Diplo, the Phoenix Arab American Festival, ZapCon and more.
Like craft beer a few years ago, craft spirits are starting to come into their own.
Aficionados can try concoctions from a variety of distilleries during 4th annual Chandler Craft Spirits Festival on April 29. The 21-and-older craft spirits festival lets patrons have a choice of over 100 savory, sweet, tangy and spicy cocktail samples made with craft vodka, rum, moonshine, whisky, bourbon, tequila or gin.
Guests can also sample just the spirits or indulge in craft beers or wines.
Tiffany Shultz, principal for Levitate Agency, said the event was designed to highlight local and regional distillers.
“I love seeing the growth of craft distilleries and the craft movement in general. We really want to support the ones that are just coming up,” Shultz said.
At the festival, attendees can meet with the distillers and talk with them about their processes.
“We like for people to meet the person behind the product,” Shultz said. “They want to talk about their product…They want to be there themselves to tell people about what they are about.”
Festival goers can purchase some of their favorite spirits onsite from the distilleries and get recipes for their favorite cocktails.
“It’s a chance for everyone to come out and experiment with different cocktails and spirits that they may not necessarily try at a restaurant or bar, but they’ll sample it a festival and they will be hooked,” Shultz said.
One of the distilleries taking part of the event, Adventurous Stills of Tempe has only been open since January.
The three home brewers who started the distillery handle every step of the creation process in-house, including milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling and bottling.
Co-owner Kelly Lattig said using a hands-on process allows him and his partners to create better products.
“That’s how we differentiate ourselves from the mass-producing guys. It’s hand-drawn. It’s a lot of attention to detail,” Lattig said.
During the festival, food trucks and vendors will have food pairings to go with different types of cocktails, including Asian fusion foods, fry bread, Mexican food and wood-fired pizza.
In between samplings, guests can try lawn games such as Connect Four or Jenga or listen to live acoustic music and covers from Coach Taylor, Pride Through Strife and the Mister Mal Trio.
General admission ticketholders receive 15 drink sample tickets.
VIP admission comes with added bonuses, including 4 p.m. entry into the festival, 20 sample tickets, specialty cocktails, complimentary food and a private lounge area.
Details: 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 29. Downtown Ocotillo, 2855 W. Queen Creek Road, Chandler. $40 Early Bird general admission tickets, $60 Early Bird VIP tickets, $10 Designated Driver tickets. chandlercraftspiritsfestival.com.
If you are looking for something sweet or savory to drink or eat in your area, check out one of these local events.
Nirvana Culinary Festival
Fine wine and food not only go together but are often inseparable. In its first year, the Nirvana Culinary Festival brings members of the public together with local and nationally-renowned chefs and winemakers during a series of events focusing on food, wine and spirits from April 27 to 30.
The festivities, which all take place on the grounds of the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa, include a tiki cocktail competition, a fried chicken and champagne affair, a five-course dinner honoring wine legend Chuck Wagner, a celebrity golf tournament, a nighttime event showcasing specialties from local chefs and a New Orleans-themed brunch.
Celebrity chefs and athletes will take part in many of the events.
During the Thursday series kick-off Torch, an all-you-can-eat and all-you-can drink event hosted by chef Robert Irvine from the Food Network, guests and celebrity judges will have a chance to vote for their favorite rum-based cocktails from six local mixologists.
On Friday night during the Birds and Bubbles event, Todd English, a celebrity chef, author and restaurateur, will host, and D. Vincent Williams and the Nashville All Stars will try to get party goers moving to high-energy music.
The Best of the West event on Saturday night offers a chance to meet and try foods from different local chefs at interactive food stations. VIP ticketholders will have an exclusive chance to meet and attend a private book signing with Scott Conant, a cookbook author, restaurateur and Food Network judge.
The series concludes with the New Orleans Jazz and Bourbon Brunch, a brunch event with New-Orleans-inspired dishes such as gumbo and jambalaya and music by the Dixie Land Band.
Details: Thursday-Sunday, April 27-30. $85 to $145 for general admission. $225 for VIP tickets for Best of the West. Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa, 5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley. sanctuaryoncamelback.com/nirvana.
Urban Wine and Jazz Walk
With the growing popularity of on-foot events such as bar crawls and wine walks, those with an appreciation for fine wines no longer have to limit themselves to one specific place. During the revamped Downtown Phoenix Inc. Urban Wine and Jazz Walk, groups of friends, family members and couples can experience an assortment of different wines, try out new bars and restaurants and listen to live jazz music.
The establishments taking part in the event are located close to the light rail, in uptown to downtown Phoenix.
Many of the restaurants and bars will have activities that complement the event’s jazz theme.
At each location, participants can try wine samples for $2 to $3 and nosh on complimentary hors d’oeuvres such as caprese skewers, bruschetta, Bavarian pretzels and chocolate desserts.
Establishments will offer different types of wines, including Pinots, Malbecs, Chardonnays and Rieslings.
The event starts at Chico Malo, a Mexican and South-American restaurant inside Cityscape.
The first 300 visitors to stop into the restaurant will receive a commemorative wine glass.
Participants will have the chance to further indulge their passion for wine and jazz music by attending the Arizona International Jazz Day Festival. The music-centered event takes place from 4 to 9 p.m. inside the courtyard of the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix.
Details: 1-6 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Various locations in uptown to downtown Phoenix. Free to attend, $2 to $3 for wine samples. http://dtphx.org/things-to-do/seasonal.
Sweets Con and Desserts Expo
Foodies come in all shapes, sizes and ages. The Sweets Con and Desserts Expo encourages people of different generations to indulge in their love of the sweeter things.
During the expo, 300 cake, cookie, ice cream and other sweets vendors will sell and give out free samples of sweet and savory goodies, including vegan and gluten-free dessert options.
During hands-on classes and demos taught by World Food Championships finalist and TV personality Heather Walker, food connoisseurs can learn from an expert how to make their favorite treats.
More experienced bakers can take part in different dessert-themed contests, including most creative designed novelty cake, best dessert table, Candy Land VIP novelty cake and cookie art.
For families with youngsters, the expo will have a kids fun zone with face painting, games and chances to meet candy fairies and other characters.
VIP admission comes with early entry into the festival, a meet-and greet and entry into a special VIP lunch with catered food.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 29. Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria. $25 general admission for people 13 and up, $11 for children 4 to 12 years old. $25 for VIP admission for children, $45 for VIP admission for adults. sweetsconexpo.com.
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