SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Hatch chiles are a big deal around this time of year. It’s the only time of year where you can get them because they are only ripe in a short, brief time from August to September. As a press release from Blue Clover and AJ’s hatch chile event puts it, hatch chile season is “the pumpkin spice of the Southwest.”
Hatch chiles are quite unique and give an extra nice taste to any dishes. They have even been made into seasonings and cocktail flavors. All the hatch chiles you can get in one place which is why this event from Blue Clover Distillery and AJ’s is more than just an event – it’s a celebration. They have come together at the distillery’s location in Scottsdale for this special event – the Third Annual Hatch Green Chile Roast - a two-day event September 24 and 25th complete with roasting hatch chiles. From unique cocktails to food, the hatch chile game is strong.
Weston Holm, distiller and co-founder of Blue Clover Distillery was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hatch chiles come from Hatch Valley, New Mexico so be exact. Holm wanted to bring something he grew up around and bring it to Scottsdale.
"I grew up making green chiles. It's in our blood and such an awesome food item group for every food you can possibly think of going really," says Holm. "We just thought, 'you know what? Why not just bring it here to Scottsdale' and nobody has had it here yet so we ended up doing that and have been doing it every single year and it's in all of our foods."
"We are obviously a distillery in Old Town Scottsdale initially so we are really proud to wear that name and so having that, we started playing with fruit fusions and we said, 'why not try infusing green chiles for spicy Bloody Mary's, and stuff like that' and it kind of grew from there."
Alice Itsell, liquor specialist from AJ's Fine Foods, was one of the judges of the cocktail competition and she said partnering with Blue Clover just made sense for this event because they sell their pepper vodka in their stores.
"Weston presented it to us as an option to sell it in store and the seasonality of it with it being hatch chile season, we thought it was a great time to take advantage of a really good cocktail flavored vodka," says Itsell. "AJ's just got brought in this year (2021) because they are bottling their product and selling it also so that's how we got involved."
On September 25, there was a live cocktail competition featuring local bartenders from Tarbell’s, the Italian Daughter, Tucked Away Craft Kitchen & Bar, Baby Boy at the Pemberton and Katz Bar. Blue Clover roasted a year-old long supply of hatch green chiles for their own hatch green chile vodka you can purchase at their distillery or at an AJ’s Fine Foods.
Baby Boy won the cocktail contest for 2021 with their drink called the Road Runner #3 that brought a tropical element to the competition with some pineapple and lime and of course some spice.
In addition, there was plenty of tasty food including hatch green chile pork stew, hatch green chile shredded pork tacos, hatch green chile burgers, hatch green chile cheese fries, and spicy Bloody Mary’s all ranging from $5 to $12. The event featured some live music and the ability to purchase a 2.5 pound bag of roasted chiles for $7.
Blue Clover Distillery is a micro distillery in Old Town Scottsdale located at 7042 E Indian School Road. They create small-batch gin and vodka that are selling in retail stores such as AJ’s Fine Foods. For more information about Blue Clover Distillery, you can visit their website here or if you want to find a AJ’s Fine Foods locations near you click here.