Kacie Wilks/Oquirrh: 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? Seven or eight years now.

What’s your favorite after-shift drink? Usually a shot of Amaro. [laughs] And I love rum, so a daiquiri on ice is my jam.

What is the “star ingredient” of your CC entry? The shrub. It has plumcots, which are my new favorite fruit ever, rhubarb and ginger and apple cider vinegar. I love making shrubs because it’s great for mocktails and more healthy for you.

What’s your favorite drink to make? I love tiki, I also love doing Negroni variations. I think it’s really fun to play with those different liquors and flavors.

What’s a drink that makes you cringe? I get really bummed when people order Long Islands. You can still have a boozy drink with alcohol that will taste way better.

Best hangover cure? Usually some wine, to be honest. Definitely a good breakfast—I do a lot of smoothies.

Got a bar joke? No, I’m not the jokester. I do put funny labels on things, like my shrub is called “No Shrubs.”

What is a cocktail/spirit you used to hate but now you love? Why? I learned to love beer, but now I don’t love beer so much anymore. I think I have just too much of a sweet tooth.

Kacie Wilks, bartender at Oquirrh, with her drink Blood of a Unicorn
Kacie Wilks/Oquirrh; Photo by Austen Diamond

Blood of a Unicorn

1½ oz ginger shrub⁠
½ oz lime⁠
1½ oz Wahaka Mezcal

Hard short shake. Top with soda or ginger beer. Shave fresh nutmeg. Garnish with candied ginger.


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