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Annual Park City summer cocktail contest spotlights locally mixed concoctions

The La Vaquera Cocktail, created by Tupelo mixologist Trevor Brown, won Park City Area Association’s summer cocktail contest last year. This year’s contest runs from Aug. 1-31.
Courtesy of the Park City Area Restaurant Association

What: Park City Area Restaurant Association’s 2020 Summer Cocktail Contest

When: Aug. 1-31

Web: parkcityrestaurants.com.

2020 Summer Cocktail Contest participating restaurant and bars

710 Bodega

Alpine Pie Bar

Billy Blanco’s

Blind Dog

Butcher’s Chop House

Eating Establishment

Flanagan’s on Main

Grappa Italian Restaurant

Hearth and Hill

High West

O.P. Rockwell

Royal Street Cafe

Silver Star Cafe

Squatter’s Roadhouse Grill

Waldorf Astoria

Wasatch Brew Pub

August is a great time to get a drink in Park City this year.

That’s when the Park City Area Restaurant Association hosts its 16th annual summer cocktail contest.

The contest, which was started in 2004 to show locals and visitors they could get a drink in Utah, normally runs in July, but was pushed back to run Aug. 1-31 due to the coronavirus, said Ginger Wicks, Park City Area Restaurant Association executive director.

“We weren’t even sure we were going to hold it this year, because we didn’t know what phase we would be in, or how the restaurants would be feeling,” she said. “So we took a survey and many of the restaurant and bar owners said they felt comfortable participating in the contest and managing social-distancing guidelines. So we pushed it back a month.”

The more business we can drive to these establishments now will help retain them through the unknowns…” Ginger Wicks, Park City Area Restaurant Association executive director

The format remains the same as it has been in the past. Cocktail lovers can enjoy the new boozy concoctions created by mixologists of the 16 participating restaurants and bars and vote for their favorite, according to Wicks. (See accompanying list of this year’s establishments).

Voting runs through Aug. 31 on the PCARA website.

“There will be one vote per email address per cocktail allowed, so you can’t vote for the same cocktail over and over again,” Wicks said. “Once people vote, they will receive an automated response asking them to verify their ages and that they want to vote for the drink. In order for the vote to be counted, people need to click on that response. We’ve tried hard to put systems in place to keep the contest fair and balanced.”

The website will also feature links to the participating establishments, cocktail recipes and, in some cases, mixologist videos, she said.

“Given that the contest runs the whole month, it gives the public an opportunity to get out and try the different cocktails,” Wicks said.

This year’s list includes new participants such as O.P. Rockwell, Hearth and Hill and the Alpine Pie Bar, as well as contest vets and past winners like the Silver Star Cafe, Deer Valley Resort’s Royal Street Cafe and High West, according to Wicks.

“We’ve got a good mixture of mixologists and beverages, and this is a fun, feel-good time and a great way for the mixologists to get their creative juices flowing,” she said.

The contest will also feature a weekly opportunity drawing to show appreciation to voters, Wicks said.

“We will put the emails of those who vote into an opportunity drawing and give away a Bartender Box,” she said.

The Bartender Box is a cocktail mixing kit created by Top Shelf, a local bartending service.

“In addition, the contest’s winning mixologist will work with Top Shelf to create a unique Bartending Box, which we will push out and highlight in the months following the contest, leading up to the winter season,” Wicks said.

That collaboration is in addition to a $500 cash prize and bragging rights given to the winner, she said.

“The Park City Area Restaurant Association will also do some marketing around the winning cocktail and mixologist’s establishment,” she said. “We’ve got so many talented bartenders here, and we enjoy highlighting them and the establishments they represent.”

The annual contest is a good way to get locals and visitors into the bars and restaurants, Wicks said.

“The more business we can drive to these establishments now will help retain them through the unknowns that may be coming their way as we move towards winter,” she said.

It’s also a way for Park City to feel a sense of normalcy, Wicks said.

“A couple of months ago all of these establishments were closed, and we were wondering what summer was going to look like,” she said. “So I think getting to do a promotion that they enjoy and is fun for their staff is great for them. And given everything we’ve been through this summer, I think this is a fun event for the folks who are in town to enjoy and have a drink.”


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