Vida Tequila * – Inspiration is like finding free street parking in downtown SLC on your first pass: elusive and fleeting. When it comes to wanting to pour a glass of something strong, if you’re like me: brain, don’t work, no more. A pint glass of vodka is the best I can manage at times.
Which is why its far more sensible to let your brain take a well deserved rest and crib from the best. And one of the best in SLC is Vida Tequila, who have taken to solving this creative crisis for overworked brains.
The line up is chock full of smart bar tenders. In PC the lineup includes Chris Panarelli of OP Rockwell, Michael Drennan of Handle, Arianne Prina King of High West Distillery, Mary Bates of J&G Grill, and Dylan Gitlan of Fletcher’s; while down in the valley, Vida is featuring Jacob Sanders of Finca, Jacob Hall of Bar X, Davy Bartlett of Finca, Richard Romney of Takashi, Amy Eldridge of Undercurrent, Cherie Bartleson of Trio Dining, Josh Jones of Taqueria 27, Natalie Hamilton of Finca, Giancarlo Farina of Provisions, Scott Gardner of Naked Fish and Marcus MacDonald of Bar X. Phew. Time for a drink.
You can follow Vida Tequila on Instagram for more featured recipes, and to get things rolling, we have two selected recipes to share as well.
Vida New Fashioned by Cherie Bartleson
* 1.5 oz VIDA TEQUILA Reposado
* .25 oz yellow chartreuse
* 2-3 dashes Beehive lemon bitters
* 1 sugar cube
* 2 oz local peach juice
* 2 jalapeño wheels
* lemon twist
Directions: Muddle together the sugar cube, bitters and jalapeño wheels in the bottom of a shaker. Add peach juice, chartreuse and reposado, top with ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into footed rocks glass. Garnish with lemon rind, being sure to twist it over the glass to express the oil.
Rosarito by Jacob Hall
1.5 oz VIDA TEQUILA Blanco
.5 oz lemon
.5 oz cherry heering
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Laphroaig scotch rinse
If you’re still new to the party, Vida Tequila was founded in 2003 by SLC locals John and Lisa Barlow. The tequila is produced in Arandas, Mexico and everything from the planting of the Tequilana Weber Blue Agave to the bottling process is handled via exacting traditional methods. The Barlow’s commitment to making the purest tequila has been unwaveringly consistent; only the finest parts of the agave plants are used and the juice is distilled twice before bottling and aging. It’s why critics like Paul Pacult of Spirits Journal, Kara Newman of Wine Enthusiast, and Meredith May of Tasting Panel give this local spirit scores ranging from 94-97.
With the holidays just around the corner (sorry, sorry, I know) its the perfect time to discover a new favorite tipple!
Squatters / Wasatch – In beer news, we’d be remiss not to mention last months release of the crowler by this local favorite. Craft beer lovers now have another option when looking to pick up from the Squatters’ Beer Store; which is the only place offering this convenient to-go packaging in Utah.
Similar to a growler, which is typically a 64 ounce glass container, a Crowler is a 32 ounce can which is purged and filled directly from the tap lines and then sealed on the spot, allowing the beer within to stay fresh longer – keeping light and oxygen out and carbonation in. Beers that are draft only are now available in this new recyclable 32 ounce can.
“The Crowler is the perfect on-the-go container and we are excited to be the first brewery in Utah to offer it to our adventurous beer fans,” says Jon Lee, Head Brewer. “And from personal experience, I know how easy they are to transport when I’m rhoid-buffing down a mountain or kicking back with buddies over a trailside beer. Because of our long history with cans, which dates back to our first Provo Girl can in 2001, we are stoked to be able to bring Crowler technology and its bar-top seaming machine to our Squatters and Wasatch customers – think of it as “canning on demand!””
The Beer Store is open Monday –Friday from 10 AM – 7 PM and Saturday 11 AM – 7 PM. The Beer Store also offers cold beer in 12 ounce cans and bottles (4% and high gravity beer) for purchase. The Crowler is being sold for $3.99 for 4% draft beer.
Ruth Lewandowski Wines – Finally, perhaps you’re looking for something of a grapey nature to fill your glass? If you’re not on this local wine making company’s mailing list, I encourage you to signup ASAP. Yesterday they announced the impending release of several new wines, which are sure to go fast, and first dibs goto newsletter subscribers – who can also attend and enjoy a release party for the new wine.
Here’s the details from the mailer, in owner and maker’s Evan Lewandowski’s own words:
I’ve been eagerly awaiting the unleashing of 2014 Chilion and 2014 Boaz Cuvée Zero for months now. Not only were they not ready for the world, the world might not have been ready for them. These are the more intense and structured wines of the range, and they just need a little minute to get everything in place before they come to you. Add to that the fact that Fall is officially falling hard now – as the nights get longer and colder, and our tables shift to the deeper, earthier and richer, there’s no time like ‘ahorita’ to get these wines in your glass. I am not blind to the fact that many a sheisty winemaker out there will claim (every year) that the new vintage is the best vintage yet. They need to sell it, after all. The cellar is packed to the gills and bills are piling up. Get it outta here! That being said, with both new wines, 2014 is the best vintage yet! The fact that it’s only the third iteration of these wines makes it altogether possible and believable if I say this again next year.
2014 “Chilion” Fox Hill Vineyard Cortese. The ever enigmatic and surprisingly smashable orange wine is back for round three. Following the 2013 is no easy task, that wine is crazy! Chilion die-hards know the story, but newcomers to this wine might be surprised to hear that this wine, made from the white grape Cortese (pictured above), spends nearly 6 months on its skins; full skin-contact fermentation with an extended maceration right through the winter. Pressing my luck (ha…pressing…get it?) by finally drawing the wine off skins in March seems counter intuitive at first, but I’ve learned that it’s exactly this extended length of time with the skins that softens the tannin profile and buffs out any bits of astringency to be found. 2013 was the first crack at the amped-up time on skins, and in 2014 I aimed to hone the practice. As per usual, no yeast additions, no fermentation aids, full native malolactic conversion, no fining or filtration. A couple more weeks on skins than the previous vintage, and a slower, more gentle press cycle give the 2014 a greater sense of purpose. It’s strange to say, I realize, but really…the wine is more focused, more elegant in structure and just less “all over the place” than before. Don’t get me wrong, I like “all over the place” (look at me), and I assure you, the wine is as crazy as ever. It’s just a bit more organized. As Thom Yorke drones on the Kid A album, “Everything in its right place…”
2014 “Boaz” Testa Vineyard Red Wine. How do I even begin to explain this, my dream wine from the Testa property, and the fact that the 2012 and 2013 versions were not 100% what I wanted? I don’t want to misrepresent the love I have for the previous two years, and the love that others have shown for them, as they were pretty miraculous wines. Even still, in 2012 when I first stepped onto the Testa property with Maria (the loveliest farmer in all the land), I was captivated not only by ‘Uncle Charlie’s Block’ Carignan, but also by one of the oldest Grenache plantings in the state. This ancient Grenache, next to the original farm house, and their Cabernet Sauvignon, which lies hidden away on a cascading, log-flume-like slope behind the family’s current home, also grabbed my attention. (I did just say Cabernet…and many of you know that I bag California Cab like its my j.o.b. But I don’t hate the player, I hate the game; the game of overripe, over-extracted, over-oaked, over-EVERYTHING’D Cabernet…and that, these last few decades, has defined CA Cabernet. I also just said ‘log-flume.’) If you’ve spent much time exploring the wines of the Priorat region of Spain, or the Languedoc in France, you’d not be surprised by my intense desire to throw all three together as a representation, a sort of “wine portrait” of the Testa Estate. Each of these varieties expressing the land in a radically different way, joining forces in the bottle to tell a story they couldn’t have otherwise told on their own. I inquired about availability of these other two parcels of fruit, and Maria, apologetically, flat denied me. The Cabernet was contracted out, and Maria normally gathers the Grenache for her own bottling. I inquired again in 2013 and received the same answer. Perhaps Maria grew tired of my pestering, or perhaps I had proven myself with the 2012 and 2013 wines (honestly, if I was a grower, I’d be hesitant to sell to me at first as well!)…maybe a bit of both. Regardless, Maria consented in 2014 and I did a little dance. When you get it in your glass, I think you will too.
* Gastronomic SLC is a proud local partner of Vida Tequila.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. I ate all the pies.