A few weeks ago, we attended a High West tasting hosted by Finca Restaurant in Salt Lake City. Finca is a newer restaurant to Salt Lake City, and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots – serving up farm to table tapas as well as delicious cocktails. When I heard that Finca was hosting a High West tasting, I know we couldn’t pass it up–we are super huge High West fans.
Finca was completely sold out for the tasting – so it was nice to see a full restaurant ready to learn about whiskey and taste some of Finca’s specialty items. They started us out with a High West Prairie Punch. Traditionally, punch was a thoughtfully prepared item that was made hours in advance and served until the last drop was gone. Punch is difficult to do these days – seeing as it takes considerable time to prepare and can’t really be made to order. The key to this punch is oleo saccharum, which is an oil sugar created by muddling lemon peels into sugar. Yeah, how awesome does that sound? High West’s punch was outstanding – made with High West American Prairie Reserve Whiskey, lemon, brut cava, and bitters. We were also treated to Plato de Queso y Carne (a selection of Spanish and local cheese, house made sausage, membrillo, fruit, nuts, and crostini). The cheeses were amazing – but the house made sausage was unreal. We were off to a great start.
The second course consisted of High West’s Son of Bourye – which is a blend of 5 year Bourbon and 3 year Rye. This blend gives you the best of both the smokey and the sweet of whiskey. This was paired with Zanahoria de Asador (wood grilled carrots, cumin, local honey, and saffron). This pairing was great. The sweet and savory of the carrots went so well with the smokey sweet flavor of the Bourye. Also, if you know me, you know that carrots are probably one of my least favorite foods – but this dish was awesome. There was no carrot left behind.
The next pairing was by far and away my favorite: High West Campfire (Rye, Bourbon, Scotch) paired with Spanish Flatbread with smoked local mushrooms and smoked house ricotta. The High West Campfire is one of my favorite blends – it is super smokey and extremely smooth. The Campfire, paired with the smokiness of the mushrooms and ricotta, was phenomenal. The flavors in both were perfect together. The flatbread was then followed by Papas y Aioli (potatoes, paprika, garlic aioli). People love these Finca potatoes – it is one of the dishes you always hear about in relation to Finca. Also, the potato is another item I am not super fond of, but once again, the flavors that Finca puts into the dish made it great.
Lastly, we finished off the tasting with High West Rendezvous Rye (one of their most popular blends of a 6 year and a 16 year Rye Whiskey) and Hamburguesa de Finca (local beef slider, piquillo cream cheese, and pickled onion). YUM! The sliders were great – the picked onion and piquillo cream cheese made for great flavor, and the Rendezvous Rye was a prefect complement.
The dinner included more carbohydrates than I had ingested in along while – but everything was so fresh and delicious, I couldn’t pass anything up. Thank you Finca and High West for an amazing night, wonderful food, superb whiskey, and great company. We learned a ton about the process of High West, the differences between types of whiskey, and how to best pair whiskey with food. What an incredible evening!