With pools filling up and cabanas booking up quickly, there’s no better time to make your reservations and plan poolside cocktails ahead of a visit to Scottsdale’s various resorts.
And who better to get drink recommendations from than the resorts themselves?
Let’s start in Old Town with The Saguaro Scottsdale, where the Cactus Jack ($13) — a blended cocktail with Milagro Tequila, watermelon agave, lime juice and a Tajin rim — reigns supreme.
“Watermelon and tequila pair so well together,” says David Swank, The Saguaro’s director of food and beverage. “The flavor profiles balance each other out perfectly. And having this blended, (you) couldn’t ask for a better cocktail at the pool.”
Hungry? Swank recommends pairing this watermelon cocktail with their Baja fish tacos ($16), stuffed with fresh mahimahi, pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, and drizzled with a chipotle aioli — all on housemade corn tortillas.
Canopy Old Town
A half-mile west, Canopy by Hilton Scottsdale Old Town’s most popular poolside cocktail also has quite the kick: the Pirate Jenny ($15).
Served at the resort’s rooftop pool and lounge, the Pirate Jenny mixes habanero-infused tequila with banana liqueur, carrot juice and a dash of lime juice.
“It’s a great mix of healthy notes from the carrot juice and a bit of heat from the habanero-infused tequila,” says Devin Mahoney, general manager and chief enthusiast. “It also has a great orange color that really stands out.”
He recommends pairing this hot cocktail with the queso fundido with honey-balsamic glazed pork belly ($14).
For a more tropical staycation, head to The Scott Resort & Spa, where guests can indulge in what they describe as “The Scott’s take on the piña colada — without the sugar rush”: the Helen & Maude ($11).
Described by The Scott as its “tropical homage to the classic Cuban mojito,” Helen & Maude mixes Nicaraguan rum with coconut, lime, mint and soda.
“The cocktail is very refreshing in the Arizona sun,” says Candie Watkins, The Scott’s food and beverage manager.
And what pairs better with a coconut and rum drink than a light shrimp ceviche?
“To get the ultimate oasis experience, I would recommend pairing the cocktail with our shrimp ceviche ($16) or our quinoa and avocado salad ($13), both light and delicious,” Watkins says. “To be honest, Helen & Maude pairs well with any dish at the pool.”
Over at Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows, however, guests prefer sipping on a refreshing, citrusy cocktail.
The top seller is the Tahitian limeade ($14), which features Tito’s vodka, Coco Lopez, lime and soda.
It’s what Andaz describes as a “skinny piña colada.”
“It’s light and refreshing, and it has a tropical flavor to it — the perfect beverage to cool down on a hot day,” says Andrew Basom, assistant operations manager.
He recommends pairing the fruity cocktail with Andaz’s carne asada fries ($16), loaded with marinated flank steak, queso Oaxaca guacamole, pico de gallo and cilantro crema.
Farther north, at JW Marriott Camelback Inn, guests love not one but three of the resort’s poolside cocktails: the Kokopelli colada ($16), the jalapeño paloma ($14) and the raspberry “pear-adise” ($16).
“The Kokopelli colada is a must-try,” says Arthur Pottenger, senior F&B operations manager, who described the cocktail as boasting a honey and coconut rim.
“It’s almost literally the icing on the cake for this drink,” he says. “People always love to eat the rim.”
The jalapeño paloma, on the other hand, features Patron Silver infused with fresh jalapeños.
“You can’t go wrong,” Pottenger says, adding that the raspberry “pear-adise” “isn’t sweet. It’s just refreshing.”
The Phoenician is a little tricky, as the pools are only available to registered resort guests, and they do not offer day passes to the general public.
However, this summer through September 10, a starting rate of $199 per night is being offered, with a nightly $50 resort credit.
That said, the Phoenician’s most popular poolside cocktail is a no-frills, guilt-free cocktail: the skinny margarita ($16).
“Guests like to enjoy a great-tasting cocktail without having to think about calories, especially while spending their days poolside,” says Lisa Mercer, food and beverage director.
And nothing pairs better with a light, refreshing margarita than fish tacos — Phoenician’s Baja fish taco ($16), to be more precise.
“Its cilantro-lime cabbage, pickled onions, avocado, corn chips and jalapeño-schug salsa blend nicely with the margarita’s El Jimador Blanco Tequila, lime juice and agave nectar,” Mercer explains.
Even farther north, Adero Scottsdale’s pool is the place to be for bourbon-based drinks, particularly the bourbon peach smash ($15).
“The flavor profile is very approachable, being light, flavorful and drinkable in the Arizona sun,” says Billi Levine, food and beverage director.
Come to Adero with an empty stomach, too, because Levine recommends ordering its Sonoran chicken sandwich along with the cocktail.
“The smoked green chile and pepper jack cheese adds a little heat to your palate,” Levine says.