Autumn. It is the season when we turn inward, reflecting on another summer gone and bracing for the winter to come. The days grow shorter, the trees skeletal and the September sky takes on a metallic, cobalt blue aspect. It was with this in-between time in mind that we asked 15 of the best craft-cocktail experts in the city to help us out and fix us a solid drink to aid our autumnal musing. Their creations were inspired by the harvest and came with a surprising stubbornness manifested in their use of bright, summery ingredients that seem to say, “Wait, there is still sunshine to be savored.” Each of the 15 contestants used their shakers to give us one last winking glimpse of summer. Pour it over ice and serve.
Welcome to September and Salt Lake magazine’s 2022 Farm-to-Glass Cocktail Contest. Make these cocktails at home and/or visit all 15 of the participating bars to try each of the entries and visit saltlakemagazine.com to vote for your favorites. Salt Lake magazine’s editors and our sponsoring partner Francis Fecteau of Libation SLC will be out on the town during the contest doing the hard work of tasting each cocktail as well. Editor’s and reader’s choice awards will be announced at the end of October. We invite you to belly up to these bars, order one more round of summer and help us choose the best cocktail of the season.
This contest is sponsored by Libation SLC.
Great Basin Sour
By Mangesh Sawant, Laurel Brasserie & Bar
Sawant has enjoyed visiting national parks near Utah and drew his inspiration for the Great Basin Sour from a trip to Great Basin National Park. The drink combines High West bourbon, Sugar House Distillery rye and Grand Marnier.
The Green Dragon
By Kenzi Anderson, Water Witch
“I name all of my drinks after things found in The Lord of The Rings. Because, well, I love The Lord of The Rings. With The Green Dragon, I wanted to create a verde [green] michelada. Something refreshing and spicy for a late summer barbecue.“
Last Spritz of Summer
By Alex Thompson, Copper Common
“When it’s hot I like to drink a cooling spritz style of drink, but also I wanted to work in some of the bitter flavors and fortified wines we use at Copper Common to create something transitional, tart and sweet with a little sizzle,” says Alex Thompson.
By Kelsey Terrell, Beehive Distilling Bar
“The cocktails I’m normally drinking are usually more bitter and I wanted to try…using seasonal fruits to make something colorful and summery,” says Kelsey Terrell. Summer Haze mixes Wahaka mezcal, Sugar House Distillery bourbon and Waterpocket Notom.
By Tommy Mckeever, Lake Effect
“When I think of September, I think of peach cobbler,” Tommy Mckeever says. He wanted to challenge himself to get that flavor and feel into a cocktail by creating a peachy shrub with hints of baking spices as the main mixer.
The Desert Bloom
By Dominick Medel, By The Glass (BTG) Wine Bar
Dominick Medel found his inspiration for The Desert Bloom from the farmers’ market. “I really wanted something earthy and funky in a sweet-tart combination that uses herbs and cactus flower with a little spicy kick from jalapeños.”
By Sam Miller and Mikey Edwards, Island Time
Chameleon is a bizarre riff on a difficult-to-make tropical drink called the Miami Vice. Sam Miller and Mikey Edwards combined a colada portion inspired by (WTF?) elote—Mexican street corn—and a daiquiri portion with a watermelon base.
See more stories like this and all of our food and drink coverage. And while you’re here, why not subscribe and get six annual issues of Salt Lake magazine’s curated guide to the best of life in Utah.