Christopher Stephenson/Lake Effect: 2021 Salt Lake Magazine Cocktail Contest

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? 15 years

What’s your favorite after-shift drink? A Czech pilsner.

What is the “star ingredient” of your CC entry? Sugar House Rye Whiskey

What’s your favorite drink to make? Any drink with egg white. I love to garnish. 

What’s a drink that makes you cringe? Some of the “trashier” drinks irk me a bit. Like when people order Blow Job shots, AMFs, Long Islands, stuff you would order in a nightclub. I’ll still make them, but I’m not excited about it.  

Best hangover cure? Usually some sort of breakfast burrito helps me through that. A greasy potato is a must. And a Mexican Coca-Cola (with the real sugar). Throw it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, it will foam when you open it, but that’s my number one go-to. 

Got a bar joke? I hear inappropriate ones all the time, so I have cultivated a “bartender chuckle.” 

Why do you love bar work? Booze. I’m a big booze nerd. Anytime we get a new whiskey in, I’m stoked to try something I’ve never tried before. I’m really just trying to consume as much knowledge as I can. 

What is a cocktail/spirit you used to hate but now you love? Why? When I first got into bartending, fernet and campari, stuff with big bitter notes, were a big turn-off for me. Now they’re my favorite thing to use in cocktails and drink myself. If you don’t like them now, come to my bar and I will change your mind. 

Christopher Stephenson/Lake Effect; Photo by Austen Diamond

Second Iteration

1½ oz Sugar House Distillery Rye
½ oz Holystone Distilling Bosun’s Navy Strength Gin
½ oz Sfumato Rabarbaro 
3 dashes Bitters Lab Celery and Coriander bitters
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
¾ oz manuka honey and marigold tea syrup.

Manuka Honey and Marigold Tea

1 part manuka honey 
1 part marigold tea 

Combine by pouring hot tea directly over the honey, stir on low heat until honey is completely dissolved. Let cool. Store in refrigerator. 

Salt Lake Magazine
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