Whether it's after or before your first drink, you'll want to take a few moments to go on the distillery tour. We're totally with you if you subscribe to the "seen one seen them all" mentality when it comes to these tours, but we think it's worth it to 1) see the traditional 250-gallon copper pot High West distills in and 2) ask questions you have about the Utah laws.
For example, one interesting thing about High West and the local laws is that, currently, none of the whiskey served is actually distilled in the state - the booze is shipped in and it is blended with local water in house. That is in the process of changing, however. High West has been distilling on site since 2008 and at a nearby facility since December, but none of it is aged enough to be ready for sale. In that sense, the best might still be to come.
There's a bunch of whiskeys to try, but we recommend starting with the Rendezvous Rye, which was its first whiskey offered for commercial sale, the 2008 Winner of a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco Spirits Competition, and one of Malt Advocate Magazine's "Top 10 New Whiskey's of 2008."
Don't pass on food during your visit, either, as the menu is rock solid and High West is one of the more popular places in town for dinner and drinks. Carve out a night on your next visit to realign your perspective and get a glimpse of the hope that exists in the future when it comes to alcohol in Utah. Just passing through? Catch High West at the SLC airport in Terminal E.
[Photos: High West/Flickr]