Handle’s ‘Rum’ holds on to win the 2021 Park City Savor the Cocktail Contest | ParkRecord.com
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Handle’s ‘Rum’ holds on to win the 2021 Park City Savor the Cocktail Contest

Pandan plant inspired Chung’s drink

Reagan Chung, bar manager at Handle, was inspired by flavors of his childhood when conjuring up his "Rum" cocktail, which won the Park City Area Restaurant Association's Savor the Cocktail contest.
Photo by Blake Peterson

Handle’s “Rum” cocktail took top honors at the 2021 Park City Area Restaurant Association’s Savor the Cocktail Contest.

The drink, created by Reagan Chung, Handle’s bar manager, was inspired by the flavor of the pandan leaf, which is used in many Southeast Asian and Chinese dishes.

“My mom had a dessert that used pandan, which tastes of vanilla and coconut, but also a little herbaceous as well,” Chung said. “I wanted to create a cocktail that revolved around that ingredient, because a lot of people haven’t heard of it. So it was interesting to bring it to the public and showcase it.”



Chung, who has been at Handle for two years, already had the drink in mind before the cocktail contest was announced.

“Things came together pretty quickly,” he said. “Everything came together within a week or so.”



The Park City Area Restaurant Association revamped this year’s contest, extending it from one month to a three-month period from June through August.

“We’ve made some adjustments to hopefully help the restaurants in their recovery efforts coming out of the crazy year we have experienced with the pandemic,” said Park City Area Association Executive Director Ginger Wicks near the launch of the contest. “This will also give diners — local residents and visitors — a longer timeframe to get out and enjoy the various cocktails and vote on their favorites.”

The Park City Area Restaurant Association is an umbrella organization that supports and promotes more than 70 restaurants in the Park City area.

This year’s contest featured 15 restaurants that welcomed Parkites and visitors to sample their most inventive cocktails throughout the summer, Wicks said.

“We’re so proud of another successful year of the Savor the Cocktail contest thanks to our talented mixologists and enthusiastic community,” she said. “Huge congrats to this year’s winner, Reagan Chung, who was among a talented list of local competitors.”

"Rum," by Handle bar manager Reagan Chung, is a cocktail featuring pandan syrup, coconut water and lime.
Courtesy of the Park City Area Restaurant Association

Chung was surprised by the win.

“It was a very competitive contest, way more competitive than I thought it would be,” he said. “We were ahead by at least 5 points for most of it, but when I came to work at 5 p.m. on the closing day, we were actually behind another restaurant. So, we worked hard and we were able to push the cocktail and get some votes at the end to win.”

The win, he said, serves as an opportunity to showcase his skills as a mixologist.

“It gives me the platform to introduce different and unique cocktails to Park City,” he said.

Chung will be awarded a $500 cash prize and city-wide bragging rights, and will be featured in a marketing campaign leading into the restaurant association’s popular fall “Dine About” event.

In addition, he will also have the opportunity to partner with Top Shelf to create a Bartender’s Box, a cocktail experience that can be ordered and delivered to cocktail-lovers’ homes.

“I have not thought about the box yet, but it will be fun to think of ways to get that box going,” he said.

Handle will offer the “Rum” cocktail for another couple of weeks, until it reveals its autumn menu, Chung said.

“People will still have a chance to come and try it out, but it won’t be available for too long,” he said.

Although Chung won the contest, he is still thinking of new cocktails.

“Once we put one on the menu, I’m already putting together the next round of ideas,” he said. “There is always inspiration that comes from ingredients, traveling and visiting other restaurants.”

Handle’s “Rum” cocktail

Mixologist: Reagan Chung

Ingredients:

• 1.5 oz. Plantation 3 Stars Rum

• 0.25 oz. Licor 43

• 0.75 oz. pandan syrup

• 1 oz. coconut water

• 0.75 oz. lime

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with an edible flower.

For information about the Park City Savor the Cocktail contest, visit http://www.parkcityrestaurants.com.


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