What are your favorite memories of summer? One of mine is a girl’s weekend (before I moved here permanently) in Park City – three California girls came in for a four-day weekend. Dressed in short sleeved t-shirts and shorts, we rode the chairlifts from Snow Park to Silver Lake Lodge and to the top of Bald Mountain. It was a beautiful warm summer day so we didn’t dream of bringing a light jacket! It got chilly on the lift so the three of us huddled together for warmth. We each pulled our arms out of the sleeves wrapping them around our waists underneath our shirts to slow the goose bumps. When we arrived at Silver Lake, we ran into a shop and bought sweatshirts! We enjoyed the second half of our lift ride to the summit much better and have laughed about it ever since.
On the way down, we stopped for lunch at Royal Street Café and enjoyed a lingering lunch on the deck in the full sun with our new sweatshirts draped across the backs of the chairs and Blueberry Mojitos in our hands. Now, I live here full time and always bring visitors on that very same scenic lift ride and to bask in the sun for alfresco dining on the deck. As a local, I’ve learned to always bring a light jacket or sweatshirt as temperatures change frequently in the mountains, and I’ve also picked up a thing or two about cocktail options at the Royal Street Café.
My friends and I lucked into the Blueberry Mojito because we saw it come out on a tray to a patron sitting at a table next to us. We said to the server, “We’ll each have one of those.” What we didn’t know at the time was the Royal Street Café scours the farmers markets each week to choose local seasonal fruits such as raspberries and apricots and herbs such as rosemary and basil for their cocktails. They make juices and mixes fresh each day. When we were enjoying our day in the mountains, we were sipping the freshest local fruit juices and tasting hints of freshly picked local herbs from right here in the Wasatch Mountain area. To us, the experience was seamless but to the team at Royal Street Café, it was intentionally designed for us to really enjoy a sense of place – the mountains and the summer season. It worked!
A lot of the inspiration for seasonal cocktails comes from lead bartender, Bonnie Ulmer, who has been a part of Deer Valley since the beginning. I had a chance to spend some time with Bonnie, observing her skills in action, chatting with her on the deck and having a taste test of the latest signature cocktail. In case you need some help deciding which drink to sip as you drape your arm over a chair sitting on the deck on a summer afternoon, here are some suggestions for making your summer cocktail decision:
Try this summer’s signature cocktail – Rosemary Tom Collins. If you like something a little on the tart side with the freshly made sweet and sour mix and you want to completely blow your mind with the addition of the hint of rosemary, this is the one for you. When I tasted it, I couldn’t put it down because of the unique flavors. You’ll notice when I snapped some photos of the drinks on the deck, the Rosemary Tom Collins had been sipped quite a bit. I’ll admit it; it was me! You try taking just one sip and let me know how that works for you! The rosemary adds a unique sensory experience that encourages you to take sip after sip.
Experiment and go with this week’s special. The restaurant and beverage team at the Royal Street Café all weigh in on the weekly special cocktail. I got to try the RSC Berry Crush with Grey Goose vodka, splash of Chambord, fresh raspberries, and house made lemonade served over crushed ice. The weekly special is one of the things Bonnie loves most about summer! She had a twinkle in her eye when she talked about plans for a cucumber and basil combination she was planning. Whatever fruit is ripe and herbs are available, a new special cocktail is created to pair with the weekly food specials. If you want to be adventuresome and try something new, try the current creation.
Go with the winner – Deer Valley’s Blueberry Mojito. This drink is the winner of the Park City’s Best Cocktail Award in 2007/2008 and for good reason. With the combination of mint, lime and blueberries, how can you go wrong? People from all over the world come to Royal Street Café asking for this special drink and the recipe to take home. Even the culinary challenged (such as me) have been able to make this drink at home with success!
Stick with the classics. It’s fun to experiment with something new, but you certainly don’t have to! You can order anything from a Manhattan, a High West Distillery Rendezvous Rye Whiskey, to a locally brewed lager from the Wasatch Brewery to enjoy on the deck at Silver Lake Lodge.
The diners who stop at the Royal Street Café are an eclectic group and the drink choices certainly fall right in line. Whatever choice you decide, make it memorable. The important thing is to savor your summer and create lasting memories of your time in Park City, whether you live here year-round or you are here for a short stay.
For a peek at the menu and more information for Royal Street Café, click here.