Nestled slopeside on Three Kings Drive is what USA Today called "one of Park City's best kept dining secrets." When Jeff and Lisa Ward took over the small deli a few years ago, they vowed to make it into something special. And that's exactly what the Silver Star Café has become. The Wards' dedication to raising the bar on service, craft food, and drinks was rewarded when they entered this year's Summer Cocktail Contest for the first time with a drink their general manager Jeff LaBounty spent months perfecting: the LaBounty Bourbon Ice Bomb.
A play on the traditional Manhattan, the Ice Bomb is made from local Sugar House Distillery Bourbon, Bianco Vermouth, Warr's 10-year port, house-made balsamic syrup, Fee Brothers peach bitters, and Fee Brothers black walnut bitters. Yes the ingredient list is important for making a delicious drink, but what brought the "Ice Bomb" to its landslide victory (265 perfect 1o out of 10 votes online compared to the second place's 142 voters) is probably the unique presentation and theatrics that accompany this aperitif. The alcohol is served inside a precisely crafted ice ball which is shattered at the table using a small mallet, creating the icy rocks and releasing the spirits. LaBounty feels this extra touch of showmanship brings a little something extra to the dining experience that's missing from the majority of eateries these days.
The average customer probably has no idea how much work actually went into their cocktail, especially this one. Mixology, to LaBounty, is much more than simply mixing a drink. Anyone can make a beverage given the correct measurements, but coming up with your own concoction requires experimentation, measuring in a little more or less of each carefully selected ingredient to find the right taste. Even with the recipe set in stone, LaBounty's creation still requires an extra level of fastidiousness. Every ice ball must be shaped perfectly in molds and turned dozens of times to ensure the thickness is completely even so they will shatter correctly (or at all). A hole is drilled in each orb so the liquid can be placed inside. The entire process is something he calls tedious, but you can tell LaBounty considers it worth the effort, given the pleasure people get out of it.
LaBounty is already starting to tinker with ideas for the winter line-up of drinks, but you can still try a LaBounty Bourbon Ice Bomb for yourself. It's part of a the line-up of craft cocktails at the Silver Star Café all summer long.