Fresh cocktails for spring sipping
From the palest juice of fragrant Key limes to glossy near-black basil, green ingredients and garnishes pop up in cocktails year-round. We’re always excited to see how bartenders eagerly embrace all things emerald come springtime. Spanning the spectrum from classics like a traditional lime daiquiri to original recipes using jalapeño infusions, celery bitters or kale juice, there’s a little something for everyone under the sun.
Need more inspiration for the home bar? Some of the drinks featured here and dozens more appear with full recipes and gorgeous photographs in the soon-to-be-released Utah Bartenders Guild Cocktail Book. Look for this hymnal-sized volume, full of local drinks lore and recipes from award-winning bartenders all over the state, alongside the bar swag at your favorite Bartenders Guild member watering holes or at the purveyor of all things shaking and stirring, Boozetique (315 E. 300 South, SLC, boozetiqueslc.com)
Chartreuse, Celery Bitters, Cucumber
O.P. Rockwell • 268 Main, Park City • 435-565-4486 • oprockwell.com
Chartreuse has a bit of a roguish reputation in drink lore. Like Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and cilantro, people either love it devotedly or can’t stand the distinctly vegetal herbal liqueur made with heavy hints of artichoke. The 400-year-old secret recipe has been reproduced since the 1730s by monks in La Grande Chartreuse order in the foothills of the French Alps not far from Grenoble. Called Elixir Vegetal de la Grande-Chartreause, this “Elixer of Long Life” recipe using 130 herbs and botanicals survived the French Revolution, distillery nationalization, both World Wars and a devastating landslide. According to the brand’s website, Chartreuse products are “still prepared by two Carthusian Brothers entrusted with this mission by their Order. They work in the greatest secrecy and are the only ones who know the details of manufacturing. Even today the formula remains a mystery, which modern investigation methods have not been able to penetrate.”
Something Devour editor Ted Scheffler, myself and Park City-based barman extraordinaire Chris Panarelli have in common: We are on Team Chartreuse. For the #juan cocktail, Panarelli uses Vida tequila blanco, Lillet Blanc, a few shakes of celery bitters and dry vermouth that he infuses with cucumber, all stirred over cracked ice, then strained into a coupe glass. Vegetal, earthy and refreshing, the well-balanced #juan hits about every green note in the cocktail symphony.
Cucumber, Lime, Jalapeño
Copper Kitchen • 4640 S. 2300 East, Holladay • 385-237-3159 • copperkitchenslc.com
Copper Kitchen general manager Bryan Lebehn says bartender Chase Wallin developed The Import cocktail as a bit of an ode to the flavors he associates with his other job as a forest firefighter. “It’s got a nice balanced blend of the freshness of the cucumber and lime juice with a touch of heat from the jalapeños and the smokiness of the mezcal,” Lebehn says. Wallin first developed the recipe for a mid-winter bar special, and we can’t wait to see it on rotation again soon as a perfect patio drink for spring (hint, hint). Bonus: After a recent renovation and re-licensing, Copper Kitchen now has a dedicated area with bar and tableside seating for just over 20 happy patrons; food service optional. It’s a much-appreciated cocktail addition for denizens of the south end of the city.
Water Witch • 163 W. 900 South, SLC • 801-462-0967 • waterwitchbar.com
“A classic Wray-Daq is probably my favorite drink of all time,” says award-winning Utah bartender Scott Gardner. “It’s the best drink. Ever.” He continues waxing poetic on all things daiquiri-related during a cool and drizzly afternoon as those of us grouped inside his bar, Water Witch, nod in sage agreement. Indeed, sipping on a well-made daiquiri is like finding a little spot of spring sunshine, whatever the weather might currently be.
There’s a lot to love about Gardner’s clean, minimalist take on the classic daiquiri, made with Wray & Nephew overproof Jamaican white rum, fresh lime juice and just a titch of simple syrup. But word to the wise: You probably won’t find the Wray-Daq listed on the ever-changing menu board at Water Witch. This is a drink-lover’s bar to the Nth degree; for cocktail nerds (guilty, as charged), each visit is the best kind of bartender roulette. Just put yourself in their talented hands, and Gardner—along with co-owners Sean Neves and Matt Pfohl—treat you to whatever boozy genius they’ve got in mind. Classics are made superlatively and with little fuss. Unusual liquor treasures are served with a subtle nod and little other fanfare—or price mark-up. Case in point is the Wray-Daq, a cocktail Gardner has brought with him to each of the many top bars he’s worked at in Utah. “It’s a promise I’ve made people: Scott Gardner will always have a daiquiri,” he says, no matter where he’s shaking or stirring things up. So far, inflation hasn’t crept up on him, either. I got mine for six buckaroos plus tax.
Spicy Jalapeño Margarita
Leafy Greens, Jalapeño, Cucumber
There’s something about ordering drinks at Zest that makes this imbiber feel more than a little bit naughty. I think it has something to do with how fresh and healthy (and delicious) the food options are: Everything is vegetarian and gluten-free, and most of the menu is completely vegan, to boot. Having a fabulous adult beverage alongside all that clean eating feels like the best kind of pat on the back for choosing to dine so well. And at Zest, there’s not just one, or even two, green drink offerings—there’s usually three or more to choose from on the extensive bar menu. Green juice mimosas at brunch, margaritas with a peppery kick, and my favorite detoxifying green drink in town: the Antioxidrink. Made with gin and a plethora of beneficial botanicals that change a bit with what’s in season, it’s good for what ails ya. While owner Casey Staker was reluctant to part with the recipe for this potent and proprietary potion, he did graciously share the recipe for Zest’s magical margarita. Staker says the always popular jalapeño margarita is a drink people love “because it hits so many sensations: salty, bitter, spicy, sweet and sour, making it a great balanced drink!”
Zest Kitchen & Bar • 275 S. 200 West, SLC • 801-433-0589 • zestslc.com