When we think of American whiskey, the mind tends toward places like Tennessee and Kentucky, right? Well, you might be surprised to learn that award-winning whiskey and other spirits are also distilled right here in Utah — and in a ski town, to boot. That is the case with Park City-based Alpine Distilling.
The distillery is owned and operated by a talented and creative Park City couple, Rob and Sara Sergent. The Sergents say of their distilling practices, “We are flavorists, curating grains, woods, berries, fruits and roots to craft our award-winning portfolio. Our efforts mirror the values of our community: Adventurous, Innovative and Authentic.”
Alpine Distilling produces world-class whiskey and gin, along with an outrageously tasty liqueur called Preserve. Sara and Rob moved to Utah from Louisiana after having lost virtually everything in Hurricane Katrina. It was an opportunity to “reinvent” themselves and to launch a business that was well-suited to their backgrounds, talents and professional interests.
Rob, a Master Distiller, hails originally from Kentucky, where his ancestors “dabbled” in moonshine back in the day. Sara holds a diploma in Gin from Scotland and says she seeks “to craft the best American Gin, and she roots her process in the classic principle of ‘only the best’.” Her Alpine Gin has received Double-Gold recognition in London, New York and California, and Alpine products have garnered some dozens of gold medals worldwide, including a Double-Gold for Alpine Preserve at the World Spirit Awards.
Alpine whiskeys — Alpine American Whiskey and Utah Straight Bourbon Whiskey — are distilled in a hand-made American pot still and, according to Alpine, “Our grains are sourced from the finest US farms, and we source Kentucky Bourbon yeast for fermentation to ensure that only the highest quality spirit is distilled and then aged in toasted, American oak barrels.”
Alpine Gin and Alpine Lily Lake Gin are both kosher certified and offer up light, fruity notes on the palate: cherry and tangerine in the Alpine Gin and grapefruit, pomegranate and cranberry in the Lily Lake.
In addition to their flagship whiskeys and gins, Alpine makes a delightfully sweet and spicy Lafayette Spiced Bourbon Whiskey and the aforementioned Alpine Preserve Liqueur. The latter is named for the Swaner Nature Preserve and a portion of proceeds from bottles of Preserve sold to support the Swaner Nature Preserve’s mission to “Preserve, Educate, Nurture.”
Preserve Liqueur can uplift almost any cocktail when used as a mixer, but I prefer to sip it straight, over ice, or perhaps with a splash of soda water. It is a natural, gluten-free spirit — a blend of blood orange, black tea, raspberry, lemon balm and ginger in a 100% corn base.
A recipient of a host of prestigious awards, Alpine Preserve is one of the most complex and delectable liqueurs I’ve ever encountered.
Here are a trio of tasty cocktails from Alpine Distilling to try out at home:
- 1 oz Preserve Liqueur
- 1 oz Alpine Gin
- 0.25 oz Lemon Juice
- 3 oz Champagne/Prosecco
- Pour Preserve and gin in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
- Strain into a champagne glass, top with champagne or Prosecco.
- Garnish with candied ginger and orange zest.
- 1.25 oz Lafayette Bourbon
- 0.5 oz Preserve Liqueur
- 0.5 oz Grilled Lime Juice
- Splash of soda water
- Serve on ice and garnish with grilled lime slices.
Kentucky Corpse Reviver
- 1 oz Lafayette Spiced Bourbon
- 1 oz Cointreau
- 1 oz Lillet Blanc
- 1 oz Lemon Juice
- Shake ingredients on ice and strain into glass. Garnish with lemon rind.