Longtime bartender, first time entry wins cocktail contest

PARK CITY, Utah — Savor the Cocktail winner Julio Chavarria has been with High West since 2013 and made his way behind the bar (a coveted position in any Park City restaurant, let alone High West) in 2016. Chavarria entered Park City Area Restaurant Association’s (PCARA) Savor the Cocktail contest for the first time this year and won.

This year’s bar menu theme for High West was Dolly Parton.

“Our manager sent us a list of Dolly Parton songs, and Sweet Agony stuck out to me,” said Chavarria. “It was either that or Potential New Boyfriend, but I ended up [choosing] Sweet Agony.” Sweet Agony and Potential New Boyfriend— what’s the difference?

Chavarria found inspiration for Sweet Agony on a trip to Bend, Oregon, where he had a memorable cucumber basil cocktail.

“I’ve wanted to do a cocktail with basil for a while. I just couldn’t get it right for the first little bit, and then I threw in some basil and mint to add more herbal notes to lighten it up. One of my friends said, ‘Hey, if you had soda water, it would be delicious.’ So, I topped it off with soda water and made it a Collins-style cocktail.”

After experimenting with herbs and syrups, Chavarria eventually created a cucumber basil concentrate by leaving the ingredients in sugar for a few hours. The moisture was extracted from the herbs and cucumber and created the perfect syrup concentrate.

Chavarria joins High West colleague Robbie Remmes in the Savor the Cocktail winner’s circle.

“I had a lot of fun doing it. It was a cool experience, and hopefully, I get to do it again someday,” he said.

Sweet Agony


  • .75 oz High West Double Rye
  • .50 oz Jamaican Rum
  • .50 oz Amaro Montenegro
  • .25 oz Amontillado Sherry
  • .75 oz Cucumber & Basil Syrup
  • .75 oz Pineapple Juice
  • .75 oz Lime Juice
  • 3 Dashes Hop Tincture Club Soda

Combine all ingredients except Club Soda in a shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into Collins glass with pebble ice. Top with Club Soda.


  • Basil leaves

Recommended Style of Glassware:

  • Collins
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