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Boozing in Utah at Skybox Sports Grille

The liquor laws just changed in Utah. Just last year, here's what you had to go through in order to get a stiff drink in the land of Brigham Young.
posted: 06/21/2009

So you’ve booked a ski trip to Utah with apprehension: You know it has the dankest snow but you want to party a little. And you think partying there involves riding around in horse-drawn carriages while drinking caffeine-free cocoa with those religious folks you’ve heard about. Fear not. Though the Byzantine booze laws change minute to minute there, that’s no reason to skip Utah altogether. Yes, it does have real beer that’s readily available, and, yes, you can order two shots at once.

Mike Zangrilli, bar manager at the Skybox Sports Grille in downtown Salt Lake City, takes a humanist approach to drinking there. “You can’t have more than two drinks at the same time,” he says. “But as a human you are built with two hands. Two drinks, two hands—so it works.” As for the basics of Utah law, Zangrilli says you can have up to a liter of beer at a time and you can order a one-ounce “sidecar” shooter with that beer. You can also get a sidecar with your hard liquor as long as it’s different from the one-and-a-half-ounce shot you just ordered. In addition to condemning the dreaded 3.2 percent beer, Zangrilli also cautions against microbrews. “There are some tasty ones on tap, but they are only four percent [alcohol]. Do it up right and get the stronger beer in the bottle, ‘state beer.’” The state bottles, labeled with Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control stickers, come from state-operated liquor stores, and they’re full-strength.

If you want to hit the hard stuff, Utah’s two-different-shots regulation has unwittingly given you a reason to get creative—like with Twiskey (tequila and whiskey). There’s also the Wodka (whiskey and vodka) and the trusty Jägin (Jägermeister and gin). Feel like impressing your new pals at après? Order a Risky (red wine and whiskey). And for the true connoisseur, get a state bottle of Pacifico, take a sip, then fill the empty bottleneck with a shot of Patrón to make a Baja Fog.

Whatever you order, you’ve got to play by the rules. So you may as well invent your own delicious treat.

- SKIING MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

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