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For the Birds 

Eat Drink SLC returns to Tracy Aviary to benefit nonprofits

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For me, the single most enjoyable booze-and-food event in Salt Lake City last year was Eat Drink SLC, the inaugural libation and culinary fundraising event held at Tracy Aviary. This year's edition promises to be even better, with an all-star lineup of wineries, distilleries and brewers in attendance, along with an equally impressive roster of restaurant partners.

It works like this: Attendees stroll through the aviary on the evening of Thursday, July 7, noshing on small plates from around 25 different restaurants. Whiskey Street, Trestle Tavern, Stoneground Kitchen, HSL, Frida Bistro, Current, Copper Onion, Bambara, Avenues Proper and Amour Spreads among them.

In addition, libations aplenty will be available at various stations throughout the venue, including more than 80 different wines to sample, plus craft cocktails featuring small-batch local distilleries and local beers from award-winning Utah craft breweries. Presenting food sponsor Nicholas & Company will team up with drink curator Vine Lore Wine and Spirits to make sure everyone is well-fed, and whistles are wet. Live music will also be an important aspect of the summer evening.

Proceeds from Eat Drink SLC benefit Tracy Aviary, SB Dance and Race Swami, the latter of which is an organization that empowers underserved youth from Salt Lake's west side, many of whom are from families involved in the food and beverage industry. "The aviary is a wonderful setting for this urban culinary event," Scott Lyttle, deputy director at Tracy Aviary, says via email. "And, we very much appreciate receiving a portion of the proceeds, which we will use to maintain our beautiful exhibits and support our many popular community programs such as Avian Adventure Summer Camps, Nature in the City and Little Chicks classes."

As mentioned earlier, local distilleries and restaurants will partner up during the event to create unique craft cocktails. Included in the pairings are SLC gin distillers Beehive Distilling, with drinks mixed by Takashi. Copper Common will handle the mixology duties for High West Distillery, while Rocky Mountain Distilling/Kid Curry Vodka will hook up for cocktails made by Finca. Finally, the team of Craft + Estate and Whiskey Street have some tasty surprises up their sleeves.

One the beer front, local brews will be provided by Red Rock Brewery, which was named Brew Pub of the Year by Brewpub Magazine and Large Brewpub of the Year by the Great American Beer Festival, along with more craft brews from Proper Brewery and Uinta Brewing Co.

For wine lovers, Eat Drink SLC is an opportunity to sample from a bevy of wines poured by more than 20 wineries. Those participants range from home-grown Utah winemakers (such as Salt Lake City's Ruth Lewandowski Wines and Park City's Old Town Cellars) to the Mediterranean varietals of Uvaggio, and wines from the Northwest U.S. including Adelsheim, Canoe Ridge, Elk Cove, Precept Wine Co. and Willamette Valley Vineyards. International sips will be provided by Premium Port Wines of Portugal, Italy's Leonardo LoCasio Selections, both Old and New World wines from Mundo Vino and Communal Brands, plus wines from Napa, New Mexico and beyond.

Tickets can be purchased online at Attendees must be 21 or older and ticket prices—which include food, drink and entertainment—are $85 per person in advance or $95 on the day of the event. However, I wouldn't wait around to buy tickets. Last year's Eat Drink SLC sold out two days prior to the event.

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