Copper stills turn grain into whiskey at the High West Distillery & Saloon in Park City, Utah.
Switching from making prescription drugs to distilling spirits isn’t as drastic a change as it sounds, says former biopharmaceutical exec David Perkins. The real surprise is where the switch took place. In November, Perkins opened the High West Distillery & Saloon, Utah’s first distillery since the 1870s, in a Victorian livery stable and home in Park City. “Both involve experimenting and fermenting,” he says of his past and present jobs. “But whiskey I can try; the drugs I couldn’t.”
While he waits for his own whiskeys to age, Perkins is mixing other distillers’ products to startling effect. His spicy blended Rendezvous Rye is redolent of anise. His unaged High West Silver Whiskey, made from oats, is silky and grassy.
Dishes on the saloon menu—coffee-glazed black cod, bourbon onion soup with caramelized Gruyère—are designed to complement the whiskeys, as well as Perkins’s two vodkas and one of the state’s largest selection of wines by the glass. “We’re a shrine to good food and beverages of all sorts,” Perkins says. (435) 649-8300, highwest.com.
Photography by Stephanie Nitsch/Park city Chamber of Commerce
This article was first published in July 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.