Bar-X - Salt Lake City, UT
To get a good sense of a city, when I touch down, often, the first place I head is the oldest building I can find.
In the case of Salt Lake City, I found such a place in Bar-X, the oldest operating bar in all of Utah. As their website will tell you, “the same year that Prohibition was repealed (1933), The Bar-X opened its doors.”
Straddling a stool, the man behind the bar, co-owner Duncan Burrell, asked me, “What’ll it be?” I told him anything with Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon, and I watched him furrow his brow and glare at the floor as though he were contemplating the world’s problems, and then he looked up and smiled at me.
“Do you like Amaros?” Burrell asked.
“I’m working on a little something. Tell me what you think.”
As he prepared my cocktail, I scanned the dimly lit bar. Though it was a weeknight, it was packed with patrons that ran the gamut. Artist-types in vintage suits and ties. One even had a guitar case. There was a pack of commuters who brought their luggage just like I did. There was a couple pawing at each other in a dark corner. There was a group of women dressed in their fineries who’d hoist glasses and gave a high pitched “Cheers!” in regular intervals. There was even a man in a dress.
“Funky little bar you’ve got here,” I said.
“What’s that?” asked Burrell.
And with that, the cocktail was done. In spite of the bar’s crowd, Burrell took time to walk me through the drink’s ingredients while he cleaned his station.
“I like that Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon has a heavy rye content. It’s a good bourbon to drink on its own, but I wanted to give you something to really bring out that spice. This Chartreuse® Liqueur has an intense herbal quality and I used another herbal liqueur, Amaro Nonino® to help even things out. Finished it off with a few dashes of orange bitters. Hopefully, all this will highlight the spicier side of that rye in the Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon.”
1 1/2 parts Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon
1/2 part Amaro Nonino® Liqueur
1/4 part yellow Chartreuse® Liqueur
2 dashes orange bitters (preferably gin barrel aged orange bitters)
When visiting Bar-X, I recommend taking your Scout next door to Bar-X’s sister, the newly opened and simply named Beer Bar, for a brat. It’s my hope that one day, “Scout and a Brat” becomes as common as asking for a peanut butter and jelly. And whether you show up with your luggage or in a fancy dress, rest assured you’ll be treated to a true taste of Salt Lake City’s nightlife.
155 E 200 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84111-1508
Enriched by a hint of peppermint, it impresses with notes of pepper balanced by slight citrus overtones, and a spicy, warming finish.
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A Chicago-based storyteller, keeper of a whiskey blog and shop-owner who's known for his appreciation of America.