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Utah's mixed drinks simpler, but rules still complex
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utah Legislature, often known for its resistance to anything that might encourage liquor consumption, has inspired the invention of a newmartini unique to the Beehive state.

Club Bambara in downtown Salt Lake City at the Hotel Monaco has introduced the SB211 Martini, named for the bill that went into effect Monday that increases the alcohol content of single-liquor drinks from 1 ounce to 1.5 ounces.

The legislation also eliminates sidecars, or separate shots of alcohol, in martinis, apparently to appease tourists accustomed to stiffer drinks.

"This change allows us to better serve our tourism guests who dine with us," said Bambara's manager Guy Wheelwright. "And there's a lot less explaining to do."

Tourists complained about the old 1-ounce martinis, wondering aloud if waiters had sipped some on the way to the table. Guests had been told that laws prohibited stiffer martinis - unless they stepped into the near-by private club. And there, bartenders had to shake up a single martini twice - one time for the single ounce, and another separate shake for the sidecar.

"It's pretty good," said hotel guest Brandie Pope, sipping the stiffer 1.5 ounce martini on Monday. "It's got a kick."

Bartender Austin Craig's recipe for the SB211 Martini includes 1.5 ounces of Beefeater Gin, a few drops of dry vermouth, shaken vigorously with fresh sage and green apple. The drink is garnished with fresh thyme and juniper berries.

Prices reflect the cost of the added alcohol. The SB211 Martini sells for $10, a dollar more than with a single ounce of alcohol.

Across town, martinis at the private club Cheers to You will contain 1.25 ounces of alcohol - not the full 1.5 ounces - to accommodate regulars who like to order shots along with their martinis or single-liquor drinks such as rum and Coke.

Owner Bob Brown said if the drinks contained the full 1.5 ounces, customers would be breaking the law by ordering a 1.25 ounce shot - by having too many alcoholic beverages on the table.

"We're going a little bigger but this way, we'll still be legal," said Brown. "No matter what, though, tourists still are going to be confused because it's common to order shots."

There's one more twist to the new law. Additional alcoholic flavorings used in, say, a Long Island iced tea or other multiple liquor drinks must be reduced from 2.75 ounces to 2.5 ounces. And that primary pour must come from a metering device atop a bottle, while secondary pours are to be measured with a shot glass. Cheers.

dawn@sltrib.com

* The drink may have come from a sweeter but similar cocktail, the Martinez, served up in California in the 1870s

* Prohibition helped elevate the martini's stature. Whiskey - Americans' preferred tipple - required skillful blending and long aging, while bathtub gin was relatively easy to produce.

* Franklin Roosevelt preferred martinis, was a sloppy mixer and sometimes used unconventional ingredients such as anisette or fruit juice.

* Richard Nixon was reportedly drinking a martini the night the Watergate crisis drove him from office.

* The actor W.C. Fields started the day with two double martinis and was known to take an oversized cocktail shaker full of martinis to the studio. (Heavy drinking brought on his death in 1946.)

Source: Martinilovers.com

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