The innovation and creativity of Utah’s talented cadre of bar professionals never cease to amaze us. They’ve tumbled the ever-changing tides of capricious liquor laws, the uncertainty of Zion curtains’ rise and fall, and most recently, the challenges of making a living when the business of booze slinging has been decimated since mid-March. While the state’s coffers have been raking in the big bucks with direct-to-consumer sales, the business models of our bars and restaurants have suffered at the same restrictive hands.
Over the course of the past few months, we’ve given a mighty shout out to ways that we can directly help out our hospitality heroes and support local booze makers--whether that’s through takeout meals, fundraising campaigns, or keeping your liquor spending local. In an effort to both direct dollars to our local barkeeps and to effect long-lasting change in the industry, our dear friends at Quarters Arcade Bar and the Utah chapter of the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild have pulled together a petition campaign aimed at swaying Utah’s Governor and legislators who can potentially make a difference. The asks are relatively small but would nonetheless be a huge boon to the bar industry, should they be implemented.
The highlights? Most of the requests will allow bars and restaurants to more realistically meet the margins for success that are available in most other states. The immediate ask is for an executive order from Utah’s Governor to sell sealed container cocktails “to go” (we’ve still got to adhere to open container laws, folks!) as many other states have allowed during the pandemic. Additionally, wholesale pricing for licensees (Utah is the only state where bars and restaurants must pay retail just like the rest of us), allowing flexibility with “Happy Hour” advertising, and increasing bar license quotas will support our local hospitality industry long-term in big ways. Sign the petition here, and lean on your representatives with your phone calls and letters. Let others know you are supporting our barkeeps by posting to social media with the hashtag #saveutahbars. And, in the meantime, spend your dollars directly with bars, restaurants, and locally-based booze mongers who’ve got your back (and your home bar) with packaged mixers ready to go.
Just add booze.
Our friends at Seabird have nailed the batched cocktail mixer game in style. Each bottle contains enough mixer for 6-8 cocktails (or more), making them perfect for a pandemic-friendly porch hang with friends. Most are thoughtfully engineered to balance with a single spirit like vodka, gin, tequila, or your favorite whiskey, shaken or stirred with ice. Seabird has partnered with locally-owned The Store locations for easy product selection if you can’t make it to either the Draper or The Gateway Seabird bar (or their sister spot, Yoko Ramen). Limited delivery service is also available should you prefer to not step out at all. Online ordering available here.
The fine folks at Post Office Place know their cocktails down cold, so it’s no surprise that bar manager Crystal Daniels and team have dedicated themselves to helping us weather this downtime in delicious fashion. Check out their Instagram (@postslc) or call the bar to see what’s available to-go. The selection changes weekly, but it’s always guaranteed to be knock-your-socks-off creative.
A few months ago, Beehive Distilling cleverly put Utah’s canned cocktail culture on the map with the launch of three delish pre-mixed cocktails (think: Gin Rickey and a refreshing Moscow Mule). Just pick them up at the state liquor store (or Beehive’s distillery) and pop the top. Upping your home bar game has never been easier now that they’ve also added custom high-end mixers to their repertoire, handmade at the Distillery and available at their package store, where you can also pick up their spirits on the fly. The tart Lime Cordial is mighty nice, and the Creamsicle mixer will make the Orchid Thief of your dreams. More information available here.
Both Lucky 13 and Lucky 13 Roadhouse serve up one of our absolutely favorite Bloody Marys, and you can get their proprietary mixer for that delightful elixir to go at either location. Bonus points and gold stars go to the OG by-the-Ballpark location for their clever to-go packaging for an additional three mixers (like the Booty Call or Violet Beauregarde punch). Just add ice and your preferred booze for a grown-up version of a juice pouch, biodegradable agave straw included. Ordering information can be found here.
We’ve long relied on Top Shelf Utah’s festive party catering for events large and small. They’ve creatively pivoted their catering model to supply our home bars with fresh-squeezed goodness delivered right to our doors with The Bartender’s Box. The insulated and gorgeously packaged box arrives with everything you’ll need for a weekend of cocktails. From house-made orgeat to fresh-pressed fruit and veggie juices, custom bitters, and garnishes, every included item is carefully sliced, squeezed, or concocted. Just follow along with their recipe cards and your booze of choice. Online ordering available here.
One of our favorite local barmen and gent about town, Ryan Manning, developed a line of mixers and phenomenal tonics sold under his bespoke Bar Daddy label. We’ve located his luscious orgeat syrup at Caputo’s Markets, perfectly balanced tonic at Waterpocket Distillery, and we’re sure that there will be more demand for his concoctions tout de suite. Online ordering available here.