Since first bottling its signature, award-winning whiskey and swinging open the doors of its old-west-meets-modern-mountain-town saloon in 2009, Park City's High West Distillery has been a happening spot to get hitched. When High West opened their larger distillery and tasting room last year, the spacious venue—nestled in the mountains of Blue Sky Ranch in Wanship—offered couples a second destination to host whiskey-infused weddings and celebrations. (We jumped at the chance to style an editorial shoot in the stunning space—see more here). This September, High West is serving up new ways to raise a glass to your love.
HIGH WEST WHISKEY-PAIRED DINNER | THE NELSON COTTAGE
The cozy and historic Nelson Cottage resides on the same street as High West's Park City saloon. The cottage's blue-painted exterior is charming and quaint, but the interior has been renovated with contemporary updates: exposed brick and wood beams, glowing Edison-bulb chandeliers, a sleek wood-burning stove, and a marble bar station. The ambiance is intimate and romantic—it's a quieter, more private setting than the bustling saloon—which makes it perfect for small gatherings and celebrations, including High West's exclusive whiskey-paired dinners. Held every Saturday through the summer (winter dinners are also in the works), the multi-course, prix-fixe dinners feature whiskey pairings and a chef's menu that changes from week to week based on seasonal finds from the farmer's market and local purveyors.
On a recent visit, our evening began with whiskey cocktails and hors d'oeuvres served on the cottage's sunny patio. We ordered a round of whiskey sours (yum), followed by the Dead Man's Boot, made with whiskey, tequila, lime juice, and ginger beer (double yum and dangerously drinkable—hence the name?). After cocktail hour, our small group moved inside for supper—there were less than 12 of us dining together—and took our seats on leather chairs at communal wood tables decorated with blue High West Vodka bottles filled with colorful wildflowers.
Our first course: a large, satisfying bowl of warm spring pea soup with confit kennebec potato, smoked egg yolk, and parmesan paired with High West 14-year Light Whiskey. The second course: entrees and sides all served family style, including an incredibly tender and flavorful grilled 124-day dry aged prime New York strip (124 days!) with roasted cippolini onions and barolo reduction; light but substantial steamed Hawaiian wahoo loin topped with lemon and dill; a refreshing Copper Moose Farm salad with greens, watermelon radishes, compressed cucumber, heirloom tomatoes, fennel, goat cheese, and Silver Whiskey vinaigrette; perfectly caramelized roasted heirloom carrots, golden beets, fennel, and brussels sprouts; and a not-too-creamy potato salad made with marble spuds, red onion, and sour cream. All of the dishes were paired with High West Double Rye! and American Prairie whiskies.
The third course: roasted strawberry gelato with macerated strawberries, brioche croutons, 6-year barrel aged balsamic, and poppy meringue paired with High West Silver Oat Whiskey. The decadent, savory-sweet dessert, and the evening's many whiskey pairings, had everyone pleasantly buzzing.
Cost is $75 per person; the optional whiskey pairing is an additional $35. Make reservations for date night, or inquire about renting the cottage to host your own whiskey-paired rehearsal dinner, engagement party, or day-after brunch.
SUNDAY BRUNCH | HIGH WEST DISTILLERY IN WANSHIP
Speaking of brunch, our favorite meal of the week is newly available at High West Distillery's Wanship outpost. Brunch is served every Sunday through September (and likely October too) from 10:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Gather your girlfriends for a brunch bridal shower, bring the boys for a bachelor party distillery tour and whiskey tasting, or head to the hills for a day-date with your honey. Go for the mountain views, stay for the buffet and the Bloody Mary's and whiskey cocktails.
The western-country buffet features a smorgasbord of breakfast and lunch favorites. We filled our plates with petite pastries, mini mason jars of yogurt with granola and berries, bagels with shmear and Lox (on our visit, the bagels came from The Bagel Project, but they rotate through different bageleries), charcuterie and cheese, eggs benedict, bacon, french toast with syrup and assorted toppings, watermelon and feta salad drizzled with balsamic, a hearty cobb salad, and tender brisket.
To drink, there are traditional beverages like mimosas and Bloody Mary's, but you can also order a selection of High West's signature whiskey cocktails, including their clove- and coriander-spiked lemonade, a classic Old Fashioned, and the previously mentioned Dead Man's Boot (our drink of choice).
Before or after you dine, ask to join a tour of the distillery—tours happen on the hour from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Learn more about High West's story and whiskey-making process, and see where the magic happens: in a 1,600-gallon copper pot still from Scotland. If you're not boozed-out after, hop over to the tasting room for an education in Whiskey 101. (Our tour guide joked that when the distillery and tasting room were built, the first "university" in Wanship was created.) We call it research, you can call it higher learning.
Brunch is $35 per person; whiskey and other beverages are an additional cost. Make reservations ahead of time, or be prepared for a wait.