Roadtrip to Utah or How I Spent My Time Locating Booze
Five years ago I took a roadtrip with a college buddy. We went through the Southwest and had many adventures including a terrifying mule ride at the Grand Canyon, visiting useless psychics in Sedona, rescuing ladies from their cult leader husbands, had terrible food in New Mexico and slept with scary cowprint bedspreads in Texas. We decided this trip, we’ll go the northern route. After a brief stop in Vegas which let’s face it, is really like LA’s backyard, we headed to Utah and would eventually pass through Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.
I have always thought Utah is a beautiful state. I’m glad we go to see so much of it.
We managed to get to Zion just as the sun was setting lighting up the place.
After we leisurely drove through Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park as well as a national forest, we stopped at a hot air balloon rally.
It was amazing to see all the hot air balloons in Panguitch, Utah. I didn’t mind the little detour but it did take some time to get to Salt Lake from Vegas since we stopped so much.
Needless to say, we were tired when we eventually got to Salt Lake City around 12:30 a.m. We had some words with the front desk at our hotel who thought we should come back later at 3 p.m. to check in but we insisted we had booked the right night. We told them to pretend we arrived 30 minutes before. A quick search showed us bars closed at 2 a.m. so we thought we still had time to get at least one drink before turning in.
As I tried the door handle of Bar X, it turns out bars in SLC turn everyone out on the streets at 1 a.m. No wonder there were all these people milling around in front of the bar. And here I thought the food truck parked in front was just that popular.
So no booze for the Minty. Boo.
The next day we attempted to order brunch cocktails at 11:15 a.m. in the morning at Finca. We were denied. Apparently they can’t serve until noon on Sundays so we had to wait a bit. There I was introduced to the idea of a “zion curtain.” Utah is about 60% Mormon and it is against their religion to drink. As a result, there are many odd laws including the one I encountered the evening before. People in Utah claim it’s better though because you used to have to become a member of a bar in order to drink there. Yep, you had to buy drinking licenses. But they still have what we call strange laws including this zion curtain. It’s to block the view of minors from seeing drinks made.
Also, beer is only sold warm at the store and you can only get beer that is less than 4% ABV. What? For reals, people!
Considering all the weird laws I had encountered so far, I was a little surprised to find big banners of Five Wives Vodka all over the weekly Park Silly Sunday Market at Park City. It seems you could do a little drinking in the cordoned off areas on Main Street.
And yes, Five Wives! How did that name ever fly?
Law makers and business people in Utah really fought to get the drinking laws relaxed before the Olympics and also for the annual Sundance Film Festival. It was embarrassing to them to have visitors be denied and even ticketed during happy hour — you used to have to order food before you could order a drink at happy hour. These days (and with lowered voices) I was told you could just order drinks and keep the menu handy in case they try to ticket you for consuming booze willy nilly.
I thought surely I would be able to get a drink at the distillery. I had been looking forward to visiting the High West Distillery where some of my favorite whiskies are made and blended.
Nope. The Old Fashioned looks fine but there’s something weird about this Manhattan variation, the Spaghetti Western (made with Punt e Mes). No, I wasn’t talking about the taste. In fact, both were pretty good but why is my Manhattan so short? Is this a taster? Did they know we were about to go on the tour? Eek!
I didn’t find out the answer until a bit later…
The tour is relatively short and it is free. However, the tasting is not.
Fine, fine… every pour is measured but apparently the data is collected and compared to receipts by the alcohol board control (ABC). There is NO free booze in Utah.
I did the standard tasting of Silver, Double Rye, Son of Bourye and Campfire. I’ve tasted all of these before but thought my friend should try them since we were at the distillery after all. I was discouraged from trying some of their newer stuff. The tour guide didn’t like them. Ah well. I still love the Double Rye and Son of Bourye best.
So, what’s the reasoning behind the baby drinks? While at happy hour across the street at Butcher’s, I discovered after trying to order a Boulevardier, Utah doesn’t allow cocktails to be more than 2.5 ounces of alcohol. And a Boulevardier is 3 oz. I was too tired to argue so I ended up nursing a Campari and Soda. Some have suggested I should have ordered the Boulevardier at .75 oz of each whiskey, Campari and sweet vermouth but I have a feeling I would have been denied. I overheard someone say there can be only two types of booze in a drink. That can’t be right… can it?
Well, with Utah, I can believe it.(435) 649-8300
© The Minty 2013