Park City Area Restaurant Association’s cocktail contest is back in time to beat the heat | ParkRecord.com

Park City Area Restaurant Association’s cocktail contest is back in time to beat the heat

Like the temperatures outside, the Park City Area Restaurant Association’s annual Summer Cocktail Contest is heating up.

And that’s a good thing for people looking to cool down with a boozy refreshment. The contest, which began July 1 and runs through the end of the month, invites the public to visit the participating bars and restaurants and sample their entrants, then vote online to help determine a winner.

"It’s unique in that it gives locals and visiting guests the chance to decide the winner," said Ginger Ries, executive director of the Park City Area Restaurant Association. "It goes for the whole month, so it’s a great way to drive business to our member restaurants that are participating in the contest."

This year marks the second time the contest has been held over the entire month, with the public voting online. Response to last year’ event was positive, so the restaurant association decided to keep the format. Previously, a panel of judges determined the winner during a one-night contest.

"That’s tough to sample 16 different cocktails in one night," Ries said. "That’s hard for all the reasons that you can imagine. So spreading it out gives everyone a chance to get out and enjoy the different libations and creations. This way, the general public is choosing the winner, and that seems like the better way to go."

This year, the field of entrants has expanded to 17, including the return of last year’s winner, High West Distillery & Saloon. A full list of participants and the cocktails they’ve submitted is available online at parkcityrestaurants.com, but Ries said some common trends have emerged in the ingredients used in the cocktails.

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"A few years back, bacon was a trend," she said. "This year, when I was entering all the different recipes on the website and getting ready to launch it, I noticed cucumber seems to be a common ingredient in some of the entries, which is interesting. Maybe it’s like the fashion world, where trends come and go."

Parkites aren’t the only ones encouraged to knock back a few. Ries hopes to also lure people from the Salt Lake Valley. A marketing campaign is underway there, and she is eager for people flock to town for the chance to become alcohol arbiters for an evening or two.

"I hope some people are coming up and enjoying cool cocktails this month," Ries said.

"Certainly Mother Nature is giving them a reason to come to the mountains and try some of these. With these warm temps, the drinks definitely sound refreshing."