October 17, 2023

Cacao-Bittered and Milk-Washed Antrim


Milk-Washed, cocktail, cognac, brandy, bitters, cacao, milk-washing, antrim, Bacchus, bartending, alcohol, milk, foam

Last month, on our Bacchus bartending webpage, we shared a recipe for Milk-Washed Apple Cider. There, we promised to share the recipe for a milk-washed antrim cocktail that we made for a fabulous event using the same milk-washing technique. To make good on our promise, here is that recipe. Enjoy!

Cacao-Bittered & Milk-Washed Antrim

(makes 4 cocktails)


  • 6 oz cognac or brandy
  • 6 oz tawny port
  • ½ oz bitters (If that seems like a lot of bitter, it is! But trust us; the milk-washing process will smooth it all out in the end. Don't be afraid to use some strong flavors of bitters. We used cacao, coffee, oak, and tobacco.)
  • 3 oz whole milk
  • ½ oz lemon juice


  • 2 mason jars (or other similar container)
  • strainer
  • paper coffee filter
  • kitchen torch or lighter
  • fire-safe dish


  1. Combine cognac, port, and syrup bitters in a jar. Allow to marry for at least 2 hours.
  2. Put the milk in the second jar. Slowly pour in the liquor mix. Let rest for several minutes. Slowly add the lemon juice. The milk should begin to curdle. Stir until well mixed. Allow to stand in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (longer is preferred if possible).
  3. Filter the mix through a fine mesh strainer. Then strain through a rinsed paper coffee filter. The final product should be clear and golden colored. Serve over ice. Garnish with a lemon, fig, cherry, or other fruit as desired. This goes wonderfully paired with a bite of dark chocolate.

Eat and drink well!

Non-alcoholic variation:

Replace the brandy with 10 oz of apple cider. Replace the port with 2 oz of orange juice. If desired, you can simmer the juice mixture with winter/holiday spices in advance for an extra layer of flavor. Then simply prepare as described above.

October 11, 2023

Championship Chili


by Gary James

Bar Logistics Manager

When my family was young, we rented a home in the Sugar House area in Salt Lake City. The neighborhood was old, and the homes either belonged to elderly couples or were being rented by young folks like us. The LDS ward in our area was jokingly referred to as “Newly Wed or Nearly Dead.”

Our new (old) neighbors were quick to welcome us and invite us to church activities, including their annual chili cook-off. I wasn’t an especially good chili cook, but I found a recipe that seemed interesting because it used liquid smoke, and we made a batch to bring with us. The judging was done by a panel of sweet old ladies who had obviously been doing it for 50 years. They would take a nibble, nod at each other knowingly, and say, Oh, that’s Margaret’s. I can taste the chocolate,” or “Oooo, that one’s got a kick!”

At the end of the night, no one was more surprised than me when my chili took first place. I was careful not to make a big deal of winning because the dear old ladies didn’t seem very pleased that an outsider (a young whippersnapper, no less!) had taken their prize. Still, they were gracious and kind. One of them even offered to watch our baby son if we ever needed a sitter.

The story of the cook-off and my “Championship Chili” would have ended there, an odd little tale in our family history, if it weren’t for what happened next.

Bitter-Sweet Memories

A few months later, that same kind old lady was baby-sitting our son Connor when she found him in his crib, not breathing. In desperation, she called her son who came and tried to resuscitate Connor, but our baby was already gone. The poor woman was distraught. We were heartbroken and devastated.

It’s been over 20 years since those events, but I still make our family’s Championship Chili whenever my daughter Taylor requests it, which is often. Sometimes the smell and taste and texture of certain food is our strongest link to the past. And sometimes, when we go through the motions of preparing and sharing a meal, a part of ourselves is reborn.

To this day, every time I mix up a batch of this recipe I am flooded with the bitter-sweet memories of Connor, that house, and everything that happened there.

Championship Chili, chili recipe, black beans, rotel tomatoes, stirring pot, ladle, red flowers, peonies, dutch oven chili

Championship Chili

makes 20 servings


  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 yellow or orange peppers, chopped
  • (2) 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • (2-3) 10 oz cans of Rotel Tomatoes
  • (2) 15 oz cans of dark red kidney beans
  • (2) 15 oz cans of pinto beans
  • (2) 15 oz cans of black beans
  • 1 lb hardwood smoked thin bacon
  • 1½ lb ground beef
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp cumin


  1. In a slow cooker/crock pot, add all chopped veggies, tomato sauce, and Rotel tomatoes. Drain all canned beans and add them to the pot.
  2. Cut bacon into ½ inch pieces and fry in a pan until crispy. Add bacon and half the bacon fat into the pot. Add ground beef to the remaining bacon fat in the pan. Salt and pepper the ground beef, fully cook it, and drain off fat before adding the ground beef to the pot.
  3. Add chili powder, cumin, and minced garlic.
  4. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, then reduce heat for 1-2 hours.

Note: I also add fresh tomatoes to taste. If the smoked bacon doesn’t give enough of a smoky taste/scent, I add a dash of liquid smoke.

September 26, 2023



by Brantson Long

Bartender and Resident Globetrotter

smashburgers, black and white striped hat, Asian burger, American hamburger, poppy seeds on bun, Culinary Crafts, Bacchus bartender, Utah bartender, Utah caterer

I’ve always been interested in food. Eating it. Cooking it. Even a little baking. When I was a kid, instead of watching cartoons, I watched Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped, Iron Chef, or No Reservations. In fact, Anthony Bordain became a hero of mine.

I love Bordain’s advice that when you travel, you should eat where the locals eat and drink with them whenever you can. When I go somewhere, I always try to get off the beaten path and eat at places I can’t get at home. That’s why I found a tiny Mexican back-alley restaurant recommended by some rando in a bar, and a three-seat ramen shop in Kanazawa where I had the best ramen of my life! Sometimes you find what you’d never expect, like the sugar-glazed Asian-style wings at the Burr Trail Grill four hours from civilization on the side of a mountain outside Boulder, Utah.

The essence of Bordain’s advice (and the way he lived) was to be open to serendipity and to let food be a way to form connections. When I lived in Japan, I shared a lot of Japanese meals with people who became friends, but I also got to share a little American cuisine with them. Japanese people love American fast food! They would beg me to show them how to make “smashburgers.” Even though my Japanese wasn’t fluent yet and I had to rely on a lot of hand motions, it was always a great experience. And really, who doesn’t understand a juicy burger?

smashburger, lettuce, tomato, sesame seed bun, half-eaten burger, hamburger, medium well done burger


(makes 2 burgers with 2 patties in each)


  • 1 lb 80/20 ground beef
  • 2 slices Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 potato buns
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • goat cheese
  • balsamic vinegar
  • mayonnaise
  • whole grain mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Form ¼ lb balls of ground beef and place into fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat cast iron pan or griddle to 500°F.
  3. Place burgers directly into pan and press flat using back side of spatula to ensure crust. (Patties should be as thin as possible without breaking apart.)
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for one minute or until the edges become crisp. Flip and cover with the Monterey Jack and goat cheese. Cook for an additional minute, then put burgers aside to rest.
  5. Toast potato buns in burger fat.
  6. Lay out bottom buns and dress with mayo. Assemble burger by stacking meat patty, arugula, lettuce, tomato, and second patty on top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
  7. Dress top bun with mayonnaise and whole grain mustard. Place it like a crown atop your American masterpiece. Enjoy your smashburgers!

September 12, 2023

Alpine Mule


by Danny Bonilla

Bartender and Executive Vice Party Animal

bartender, culinary crafts, Alpine mule, blue curacao, vodka, blue cocktail, black chef's uniform, Utah catering, Alpine mule

When I was a teenager, my uncle would sometimes throw parties, and my family usually went. At one of those parties, I found myself all alone in the basement. Everyone else had gone to eat dinner, so it was just me and an open can of Bud Lite sitting on the coffee table in front of me.

This was my chance!

Even though I’d been around alcohol all my life, I’d never actually had a taste before. I picked up the can and gave it a sniff. It didn’t smell very good, but the temptation was irresistible. Checking to make sure no one was coming back down the stairs, I raised the can to my lips, held my breath, and took a big sip.

I nearly gagged. It was terrible! I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to drink something that tasted so bad. Right there on the spot, I decided that I never wanted to have another drink of alcohol my whole life.

It probably seems funny that someone who hates the taste of alcohol would become a bartender, but that’s exactly what I did. Years later, I started working behind the bar at Culinary Crafts events. At the first event I did at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, I was working with Ryan and Luis who showed me how to make a signature cocktail called an Alpine Mule. I figured if I was going to be mixing Alpine Mules all evening, I probably ought to know what one was supposed to taste like. I totally expected it would be disgusting, but for the second time in my life I held my breath and took a sip. To my surprise, it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it tasted great!

I’ve mixed a lot of drinks since, at events or just with friends. There are a few other cocktails that I really like (Alan Starks makes a good Moscow Mule and I like Tyler’s Whiskey Sour), but my favorite is still that first cocktail that Ryan and Luis introduced me to, the Alpine Mule. It’s 1,000,000,000,000 percent better than Bud Lite.

Alpine Mule

(makes 1 serving)



  1. Fill a glass halfway with ice. (Mules are traditionally served in a copper mug to keep the drink cold, but if you want to see the blue color of this drink clearly, use a clear glass.)
  2. Add the vodka, curacao, ginger beer, and optional lime juice. Stir.
  3. Garnish with a wedge of lime or sprig of mint if you feel like getting fancy. Or just enjoy it like it is.

August 29, 2023

Shiitake Happens


by Kaleb Crafts

Co-President and Challenge Accepter

Kaleb Crafts, Culinary Crafts, Utah top caterer, Best of State, beard, microgreens in beard, bald man in dark suit, president of Culinary Crafts

When I was fourteen, my family took a trip to Japan, a country near and dear to my father’s heart. For a high school-aged boy, it was a life-changing experience… sometimes in unexpected ways.

One afternoon we stopped at a cafeteria-style food hall for lunch. Each tray of food was served with traditional Japanese condiments, including pickled vegetables called tsukemono (pronounced “SKAY-moh-NOH”). These particular tsukemono were thinly sliced radishes, carrots, and cucumbers with generous amounts of Japanese horseradish or wasabi. Feeling adventurous, I took a small sample of the strange-smelling condiment and popped it into my mouth. Instantly, my mouth puckered and my nostrils tried to clamp shut. Noticing the tear that trickled down my cheek, my brother, Ryan, did what older brothers have a sacred duty to do: he dared me, “I'll give you twenty bucks if you can eat that whole bowl in one bite!"

Since younger brothers also have a sacred duty—to never turn down a dare—I scooped up the pile of pickles and stuffed them in my mouth. And then…FIRE! It felt like a mini volcano of acid had erupted in my sinuses. Tears streamed down my face, but I knew that if I could only manage the pain for a few minutes, the money and glory would be mine. I could practically feel that crisp twenty-dollar bill in my hand. Colors began to change as my vision blurred, but I kept chewing. By sheer power of will, I forced my esophagus to open and began to swallow. Unfortunately, my stomach didn't want any part of the hell that my mouth and sinuses had been enduring. With the help of my diaphragm and abdominal muscles, it put a sudden and violent end to the whole affair.

Lesson Learned

But here’s the strange part. Instead of leaving me with a lifelong hatred of horseradish, that experience did the opposite. I love horseradish, wasabi and anything with that unique tangy, acidic heat.

It’s strange how a person’s view of a particular food can be changed, for good or bad, by a single experience. For example, I had always told myself I hated mushrooms. To me, they had a weird texture and tasted like moldy dirt. For decades I refused to eat anything containing mushrooms, but then, one humid day in Vancouver, Canada, my narrative changed. A local mushroom expert prepared a meal for me that featured the 60 varieties of mushrooms he’d found on his hillside farm, and I knew I had to at least sample the dishes. I mustered the courage to try a pickled mushroom, and to my surprise, my love of acid and tang overcame my hatred of mushrooms. From that moment on, I couldn’t get enough of mushrooms!

I guess the moral (morel?) of the story is, don’t be too quick to write a food off or tell yourself you don’t like it. Maybe you just haven’t come across a variation or a way of preparing the food that you like. Stay open to new foods and to new ways of preparing them. Who knows? That food you’re sure you hate may turn out to be something you learn to love.

The other moral is, trust your taste buds, not your brother.

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