Each year, we ask a selection of Utah’s best bartenders to use local spirits and local ingredients and hit us with their best shot (or shots). So last Sept. 12, bartenders bravely gathered on a Sunday morning after the Saturday night late shift to swizzle up some hair of the dog and present their entries into the 2021 Salt Lake magazine Cocktail Contest. They didn’t disappoint. Through Nov. 30, we invite you to drop in to their bars and try their creations (or mix them up yourself at home). Pick your favorites and click the image below to cast your vote.
How long behind the bar? I’ve been at Alibi for three years and a bartender for about six.
What’s your favorite after-shift drink? It depends on how complicated I feel like getting. Usually it’s mezcal on the rocks. If I’m feeling indulgent it’s a piña colada.
What is the “star ingredient” of your CC entry? For me, it’s Hamilton Beachbum Berry’s Zombie Rum Blend. It packs a little bit of a punch but it’s nice and drinkable.
What inspired the flavor combination? Pineapple upside down cake. I added a little bit of ancho chiles to add some depth and complexity. It reminds me of fresh baked goods.
What’s your favorite drink to make? Anything tiki—something fun and exciting garnished with a flower and an umbrella.
What’s a drink that makes you cringe? I don’t want to yuck anybody’s yum! I’m down for anything. There’s not a cocktail I’ve met that I haven’t liked.
Best hangover cure? Pozole! It’s the best.
Got a bar joke? It’s really cheesy. E-flat walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Sir, I’m sorry, but we don’t serve minors.”
Why do you love bar work? The people! The excitement. Getting into that flow state and just having fun and dancing and making cocktails and the whole production of it. Giving people a place to cut back and have fun and forget about things.
Do you get a rush on a busy weekend with big crowds? Absolutely. There’s nothing that compares to it. You’re just focusing on exactly what you need to grab to make that cocktail and listening to your favorite song and jamming. It’s really fun.
Dead Man’s Party
Combine all ingredients in shaker. Shake and strain onto crushed ice.
Pineapple Ancho Shrub
14 oz pineapple juice
5 ancho chilies
4 tbs peppercorns
1 cup apple cider vinegar
4 cups sugar
Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Cool.