AJ’s Fine Foods Challenges Arizonans to Make the Hottest Drinks + Teams Up with Local Restaurants for Added Inspiration

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To celebrate the start of the New Mexico Hatch Green Chile season, AJ’s Fine Foods has teamed up with Blue Clover Distillery, The Italian Daughter, Tarbell’s, Tucked Away Craft Kitchen & Bar, Baby Boy at The Pemberton, and The Kaz Bar to launch a fun #HatchAtHomeAZ Cocktail Competition. 

Now through Sept. 17, Arizona’s armchair mixologists and cocktail connoisseurs are invited to get their cocktail shakers, muddlers, jiggers, and strainers out to come up with the most innovative and best tasting cocktail featuring Hatch Green Chile peppers. 

Arizona residents ages 21 and older are invited to enter their sizzling drink recipes by posting a public photo or video on their favorite social media feeds for a chance to win using #HatchAtHomeAZ. 

The grand prize, valued at $1,000, includes gift cards from AJ’s Fine Foods, Blue Clover Distillery, The Italian Daughter, Tarbell’s, Tucked Away Craft Kitchen & Bar, Baby Boy at The Pemberton, and The Kaz Bar; and a VIP experience, including a tour of Blue Clover’s distillery in Old Town Scottsdale, a Cocktail Kit from Blue Clover that includes its special red Hatch Chile and Habanero Spicy Bitters, and two VIP tickets to the Third Annual Hatch Green Chile Roast on Sept. 25, 2021, with a bottomless mimosa or Bloody Mary brunch for two and samplings of Hatch Chile food items and cocktails at this event. The contest’s winning Hatch Chile Cocktail recipe will also be featured alongside other Hatch Chile Cocktails at Blue Clover’s Third-Annual Hatch Green Chile Roast and Blue Clover Distillery will feature the winning contest cocktail as a “Cocktail of the Month” on its menu as well.

Recipes will be judged for creativity, heat level and overall taste by Weston Holm, Co-Owner of Blue Clover; a Cellar Expert from AJ’s Fine Foods; and John Christie, Director of Spirits for Tarbell’s.

For creative inspiration, AJ’s Fine Foods locations carry fresh Hatch Green Chile peppers and other food items made with the seasonal peppers. All AJ’s Fine Foods locations are now exclusively carrying Blue Clover Distillery’s spicy Pepper Vodka infused with Hatch Green Chile pepper, red pepper, and jalapeño pepper. 

Additionally, cocktail experts from Blue Clover Distillery, The Italian Daughter, Tarbell’s, Tucked Away Craft Kitchen & Bar, Baby Boy at the Pemberton, and The Kaz Bar are offering special Hatch Chile cocktails at their restaurants, now through Sept. 17, 2021. 

WHEN:            

Now to mid-September: Hatch Chile season

Now-Sept. 17: #HatchAtHomeAZ Cocktail Competition 

Sept. 20: Grand-prize winner is announced

Sept. 24-25: Blue Clover’s Third-Annual Hatch Green Chile Roast in Old Town Scottsdale

Sept. 25: Live cocktail competition at Third-Annual Hatch Green Chile Roast 

WHERE:         

Hatch Green Chiles are available at all 11 AJ’s Fine Foods locations in Arizona. All AJ’s stores are also exclusively carrying Blue Clover Distillery’s spicy Pepper Vodka infused with Hatch Green Chile pepper, red pepper, and jalapeño pepper. 

Hatch Chile cocktails will also be offered at the following participating restaurants: 

• Blue Clover Distillery, 7042 E. Indian School Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251

• The Italian Daughter, 23655 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85255

• Tarbell’s, 3213 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85018

• Tucked Away Craft Kitchen & Bar, 3630 E. Southern Ave., Mesa, AZ 85206

• Baby Boy at The Pemberton, 1121 N. Second St., Phoenix, AZ 85004

• The Kaz Bar, 7137 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, AZ 85251

WHY:              

The Hatch Green Chile harvest has become a culinary celebration in the Southwest. Fresh, authentic Hatch Green Chiles have been known to add flavor to spirits and cocktails. The harvest timeframe is limited, so many people stock up during the season and freeze Hatch Chiles so they can use them year-round. Besides being tasty, green chiles also have many health benefits.  

From virtual happy hours to experimentation at the home bar, the pandemic has fueled a growing movement towards at-home mixology. According to Nielsen CGA, ready-to-drink cocktail purchases grew 131 percent in the U.S. market during the past year. A recently released Cocktail Trends Report revealed that a growing consumer desire for “extreme flavors,” including chili, bitter and smoke, whose flavor profiles burn, cool, tingle and comfort, will be a focal point through 2021.                     

WHO:              

Bashas’ Family of Stores – the family-owned grocer that operates Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store, and both Bashas’ and Bashas’ Diné supermarkets – is an Arizona-based company founded by brothers Ike and Eddie Basha, Sr. With more than 100 grocery stores, it is one of the largest employers in the state and one of the Best Places to Work in Arizona. Since the company’s inception in 1932, Bashas’ has given back more than $100 million to the communities it serves. For more information, visit bashas.com, myfoodcity.com, or ajsfinefoods.com.

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