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Arizona Cocktail Week offers fresh, flirty fun across Valley

Bar Manager Tim LeFever, of Mabel's on Main in Scottsdale, makes a Luhvul 65. (Becky Lynn/KTAR Photo)

The weather is warming up and it's Valentine's Day, so why not kick up your heels and enjoy something that's delicious and refreshing?

The third annual Arizona Cocktail Week starts Friday and runs through Feb. 20. The week includes all kinds of dinners paired with specialty cocktails and seminars with the pros.

A special wristband is available for purchase and can be used all week at different spots around the state that are offering signature drinks -- and parties -- to celebrate.

If you like to party like it's 1929, one of the coolest events is the "Light Rail Toast to Gatsby."

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, attendees will dress in attire of the Roaring '20s -- think flapper dresses and bow ties and tuxes -- and use the light rail for a cocktail bar crawl in downtown Phoenix. It begins at the Hotel Palomar at 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, Arizona Cocktail Week producer Leila Lin said that just like the Gatsby crawl, everything old is new again.

While the margarita is still the top cocktail in the Southwest, nationwide imbibers are trending back to the darker liquors, like bourbons and ryes, and classics like gin are big. But Lin also said that the trendy thing right now is to bring the kitchen to the bar -- using techniques that are used with food prep and even including herbs and vegetables in beverages.

Speaking of vegetables in your drink, how about onions?

Little pearl onions are sometimes dropped into martinis and Bloody Marys may have everything from asparagus to okra tucked in the glass, but one drink features cooked onions in the drink recipe.

The Luhvul 65 will be featured at the "High Class Hillbilly Hoedown," sponsored by Bulleit, at Mable's on Main in Scottsdale on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

The cocktail contains cooked onions puréed with strawberries and then sweetened with sugar. Mable's bar manager, Tim LeFever, revealed the recipe.

Here's what you need: Bulleit rye, lemon juice, the puréed strawberry-onion gastrique and champagne

1) Start with 2 oz. of Bulleit

2) Add 3/4 oz. of lemon juice to taste

3) Add 3/4 oz. of the gastrique

4) Add ice; shake

5) Top it off with Prosecco

6) Pour slowly into a flute

7) Add garnish (optional)

The Luhvul 65 will be paired with an appetizer of roasted Wagyu bone marrow, braised oxtail, onion jam, Aleppo pepper, fennel and micro arugula salad, making for quite an adventure in drinking and eating!

Mabel's on Main is at 7018 E. Main Street in Scottsdale.

All the Arizona Cocktail Week dinners and events are ticketed. To see the entire lineup of parties and events and to purchase tickets and wristbands, visit Arizona Cocktail Week.

Lin has advised all Arizona Cocktail Week attendees to drink responsibly, so to assist with that, they've partnered with UBER, a car service that is set up ahead of time with a credit card. UBER is also offering special rates and deals with the wristband.

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