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Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Seasonal Cocktail Menu at Wild Grape New West Bistro

The award winning Wild Grape Bistro in downtown Salt Lake City has been open over two years now, and never fails to please.  The bistro tries to emulate a small town café, but with gourmet quality food.  It frequently updates its seasonal menu of regional dishes cooked from ingredients that are mostly “fresh, local, organic” and sustainable.  The food is great (try the Ballard Pork Chop), but since I’m the SLC cocktail examiner, you can probably guess where my true interest lies.

The drinks menu is impressive, and the staff is knowledgeable and prepared to tell you all about it, and to recommend pairings for food.  The wine list is really well thought out with something for everyone, a wide range of prices, and almost everything available by the glass.  The standard cocktail menu features almost 20 cocktails made from flavored vodkas and gins infused at the restaurant.  Other ingredients include fresh fruits and herbs, in addition to some house-made bitters.  The new seasonal cocktail menu includes some old favorites and some new additions.  One is the Grape Mint Julep.  Mint Julep fans like the Utah Mixologist might (did) wonder how the Wild Grape could mix a decent Mint Julep under Utah’s liquor law regime that dictates only 1 ½ oz of liquor per drink (additional alcoholic “flavorings” are permitted, but there aren’t any of those in a Julep). The Grape Mint Julep was served cooler-style in a Collins glass and was quite tasty; basil syrup was substituted for simple syrup and white grape juice was added to make a cooler of it.  The result was an enjoyable, if not traditional, Julep.

Other interesting concoctions that arrived at our table were Strawberry Fields (muddled strawberries, grapes, and peach, with Hendrick’s® Gin and sparkling wine added) and the Wild Grape French 75 (Gin, lime juice and prickly pear, again with sparkling wine).  Old favorites like the Sergeant Pepper (a whiskey sour with fresh squeezed sour mix, cracked black pepper, and Bourbon) are still on the menu and are well worth giving a try (you’ll love the crunchy peppercorn bits) if you haven’t done so.  The Wild Grape Bistro is highly recommended.

The Wild Grape New West Bistro
481 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City

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