Local Libations with Scott Gardner

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Utah distilleries, spirit-makers and bars continue to innovate with new drink creations, combining unique flavors and syrups into the perfect blends. Award-winning bartender Scott Gardner (Water Witch, HSL) used local spirits from Beehive Distilling, Elevation Distilling, Vida Tequila and Outlaw Distillery to create these delicious, fall-inspired drinks.


Beehive Distilling Barrel Reserve. Photo: Talyn Sherer

Beehive Distilling – Barrel Reserve

This cocktail with Beehive Distillery’s Barrel Reserve Gin adds some fall spice and deeper flavors to pair with the imprint of toasted oak leaves in their gin.

2 oz. Beehive Barrel Reserve Gin
1 oz. fresh lemon
.5 oz. autumn syrup*
2 bar spoons apple butter

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 10–15 seconds. Strain over crushed ice in a double-rocks glass. Top with more crushed ice to fill and garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick.

*Autumn Syrup
Ingredients: 1 cinnamon stick, 6 cardamom pods, 1 tsp. fennel seeds, 6 oz. sugar, 8 oz. water
Lightly crush the cardamom and fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle. Crack the cinnamon into a few pieces. Add all the spices to a saucepan. Toast the spices until they become aromatic and begin to smoke. At this point, add the water, followed by the sugar. Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to heat until the mixture is brought to a simmer. Simmer for five minutes and pull from heat. Let the syrup cool to room temperature with the spices. Strain out the spices. Store in refrigerator for up to three weeks.


Elevation Distilling Salt City Vodka. Photo: Talyn Sherer

Elevation Distilling – Salt City Vodka

This basic sour with Salt City Vodka uses a Darjeeling Tea to add some texture as well as fun, earthy flavors to a classic:

  • 2 oz. Salt City Vodka
  • .75 oz. fresh lemon
  • .75 oz. black tea syrup*
  • 2 dashes of Bitters Lab apricot vanilla bitters

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 10–15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel and grated nutmeg.

*Black Tea Syrup
Ingredients: 1 tbsp. loose-leaf black tea, 10 oz. simple syrup.
Add tea to simple syrup and store in a refrigerator overnight. Strain the leaves. Holds for up to three weeks.


Outlaw Distillery Coffee Rum. Photo: Talyn Sherer

Outlaw Distillery – Coffee Rum

Using Coffee Rum, create something delicious and easy to make for the holidays: a classic milk punch recipe with a White Russian soul.

2 oz. Outlaw Distillery Coffee Rum
2 oz. whole milk (use half-and-half for a richer, creamier drink)
.5 oz. vanilla syrup*

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 10–15 seconds. Strain into a punch glass over a cube of ice. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

*Vanilla Syrup
Ingredients: 1 vanilla bean, 6 oz. sugar, 7 oz. water.

Prepare one vanilla bean by splitting the bean lengthwise and scraping the paste-like seeds with a utensil. Add the vanilla beans and the pod to a saucepan with the sugar and water over medium heat. Simmer for 5–10 minutes. You may have to stir the syrup to separate the beans, as they’ll want to clump together. You can keep the pod in the syrup to allow it to continue to flavor the syrup over time. This will keep up to three weeks.


Vida Tequila Añejo. Photo: Talyn Sherer

Vida Tequila – Añejo

Añejo Tequila has a lot in common with bourbon, brandy and other spirits treated with prolonged barrel aging. Using that idea, this Vida Tequila Añejo Old Fashioned adds earthy malt characteristics and rosemary to the classic formula.

  • 2 oz. Vida Tequila Añejo
  • .5 oz. malt syrup*
  • .5 dashes rosemary tincture**

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and top with ice. Stir the cocktail for 10–15 seconds and strain over a large cube of ice. Garnish with an orange twist and rosemary sprig.

*Malt Syrup
Ingredients: 10 oz. Eden Foods organic barley malt syrup, 6 oz. water, 2 oz. 1:1 simple syrup.
Add 6 oz. boiling water to 10 oz. organic barley malt syrup until it combines with the water. Once combined, add the simple syrup. Mixture holds up to one month.

**Rosemary Tincture
Ingredients: 1 oz. dried rosemary, 120 mL everclear, 120 mL water.
Add the rosemary and everclear to a Mason jar and let sit at room temperature for three days. After three days, add the water and strain out the rosemary. Due to its alcohol content, this will keep indefinitely. (This receipe is from Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in NYC.)