No matter what time of year, you can't go wrong with a cocktail in Park City. But July is and especially rewarding time for lovers of specialty drinks, thanks to the Park City Restaurant Association's annual Summer Cocktail Contest. You may remember the incredibly unique LaBounty Bourbon Ice Bomb, last year's prize winning entry fro the Silver Star Café, which included a whiskey filled ice orb to be smashed at the table. This year twenty-six restaurants have entered (see below) and we caught up with a couple of the top contenders to see how they came up with their summer inspired concoctions.
Nearly halfway through the contest and the currently leader is the Spicy Watermelon Rose Spritzer from the Royal Street Café. The bright pink drink combines vodka, rosé wine, a spicy watermelon mix with jalapeños, a splash of soda, and a frozen rosé wine ice cube. "I wanted to come up with something that's light and refreshing, perfect for sitting on the deck of Royal Street or barbecuing in your backyard," says mixologist Bonnie Ulmer. "Using watermelon from our local farmers I could make a drink that didn't just look good, but also tastes great, whether or not you choose to add the alcohol." Ulmer is no stranger to creating winning drinks, she's won previously with drinks like a St. Germain Elderflower Cocktail and the Blueberry Mojito.
Mixologist Angela Henderson of the Powder at Waldorf Astoria has a strong contender and is looking to close the ranks in the next two weeks with the Red Velvet. "This cocktail is inspired by the traditional story of the Red Velvet cake's creation. A pastry chef accidentally dropped beets into his mixture and discovered it was wonderfully delicious," says Henderson. "Drawing from our culinary roots, I decided this was the perfect twist to make a unique cocktail." The Red Velvet, which took four to five different variation to perfect, is a summery mixture of High West 7000" vodka, Patron XO Liqueur, Chambord, Frangelico, organic beet juice, lemon juice, and a garnish of cream cheese sherbet. If you're looking to pair this martini variation with your food, Henderson, recommends (of course) enjoying it with a slice of Powder's red velvet cake or chocolate fudge cake with coffee mudslide and feuilletine crunch.
Here's the full list of restaurants and their respective entries:
- Apex at Montage Deer Valley: Ginger Passion
- Baja Cantina: Baja Sunrise
- Billy Blanco's: Rat Rod Rum Punch
- Bistro 412: The Local “Jito Rita”
- The Brass Tag: Albion
- Butcher’s Chop House and Bar: Patio Vibes
- Coal & Lumber: Mountain Queen
- Deer Valley Grocery~Café: Kambuch Fresca
- Eating Establishment: The Fuzz
- The Farm: Raspberry White Balsamic Spritzer
- Firewood: Fireline
- Flanagan’s On Main: Guav Town
- Ghidotti's: Peachy Rye
- Glitretind: Miner’s Bloody Breakfast
- Grappa: Rosé Royale
- Handle: Pineapple Express
- Hyatt Centric: Spicy Jack Rabbit
- Lespri Prime Steak & Sushi Bar: Bourbon & Bartlett
- Powder at Waldorf Astoria Park City: The Red Velvet
- Red Rock Junction: The Salty Patio Dog
- Royal Street Café: Spicy Watermelon Rosé Spritzer
- Silver Star Café: Mine Fire
- Squatters: Golden Bulleit
- Sushi Blue: Spicy Hummingbird
- Tupelo: The Odd Duck
- Wasatch Brew Pub: Fool’s Gold
Vote for your favorite on the Park City Restaurant Association website until July 31. And just in case you need to vamp up your own drink mixing repertoire, the ingredients and recipes for each cocktail are listed for your perusing pleasure. We can all cheers to that!