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Artisan, mixologist cocktails at Tuscon's Casino Del Sol Resort

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When traveling to a resort with so many things going on -- casino, live entertainment, fine dining, golf -- it's usually enough that you get a good drink. It seems an excess of riches that Tuscon's Casino Del Sol Resort has several excellent and award-winning bars, presided over by head bartender-mixologist Aaron DeFeo. I was very happy to be hosted to experience it!

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The casino has several bars that subtly specialize in different spirits. In other words, you can get a vodka martini in all of the bars, but one section of the lobby features clear spirits and another, brown spirits like bourbon and whiskey.

DeFeo incorporates into his drinks wild-crafted lavender found on the premises, fresh local fruits and also, several local spirits, such as mesquite-smoked Whiskey Del Bac. He's won "Most Imaginative Cocktail in Arizona" twice. He also creates shrubs -- drinking vinegars that were popular in colonial days. Though he let me know that some bacon-infused drinks are popular, other meat- or seafood- infused or garnished drinks just aren't Arizonans' cup of tea.

He doesn't just keep local spirits on hand; he has one of the rarest bourbons on the market: Pappy Van Winkle. Pappy was in the news a few months ago for being stolen from its own warehouse.

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