Seven reasons to raise up a glass

1. It’s official: It is now safe to drink in Utah. Memberships to private clubs? Gone. Bottle service? Happening! Liquor sales on Sundays? YES! “Following modifications to Utah’s alcohol regulations, distilleries and breweries can now legally sell their own bottled products for retail purchase on Sundays and holidays,” the missive from Park City’s High West Distillery reads. High West’s first Sunday sale went down on July 24. It’s said that Park City’s mayor purchased it as a gift for the visiting First Lady, Michelle Obama.

2. Mark it on your calendar: Aug. 16 is National Rum Day. Says Ed Hamilton, a.k.a. the “Minister of Rum,” the Molasses Act of 1733 and the 1764 addendums were catalysts for the American Revolution. At that time there were more than 150 rum distilleries in New England. The more you know …

3. Speaking of sugarcane distillate … Do you love rum? I mean, do you really love rum? Did you write the book on rum—literally? Then you probably already work in the rum industry. Still, Tommy Bahama is searching for the world’s first rumologist. “A rumologist is a person with a vast knowledge of all things related to rum—one who can pour, educate, mix and create island-inspired cocktails for Tommy Bahama,” explains Tommy Bahama’s Rob Goldberg. The one-year consulting gig pays $50,000 and comes with a new Tommy Bahama wardrobe and a busy travel schedule. The process begins at When you win, don’t forget where you heard about it. We like rum, too.

4. Onda Ristorante & Wine Lounge at The Mirage (866-339-4566) today launches the Discover Italy series, a monthly culinary exploration in which guests will enjoy a $55 three-course menu with an option to add an unlimited wine pairing for $14. Aug. 11-25 highlights Calabria; Sept. 8-22, Campania; Oct. 13-27, Lombardy; Nov. 10-24, Umbria; and Dec. 8-22, Piedmont. Viva Italia!

5. Bellagio’s Epicurean Epicenter series continues as the wines of Husic Vineyards are showcased in Tuscany Kitchen, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17. The four-course menu, created by Prime Steakhouse executive chef Sean Griffin, will be complemented by great wine pairings from Napa Valley’s Husic Vineyards selected by Bellagio director of wine and Master Sommelier, Jason Smith, and Husic owners Julie and Frank Husic. The evening finishes with “A study in Gouda.” $195 per person, call 866-906-7171 to reserve seats.

6. If you missed National Tequila Day on July 24, you can catch up on your tequila quotient by attending the 2011 Spirits of Mexico Festival, North America’s largest celebration of agave-based spirits, in Old Town San Diego, Sept. 11-18. The highly anticipated annual affair ( features more than 80 tequila brands and attracts more than 2,500 consumers. Can’t make it to SoCal? The fifth annual Las Vegas Tequila Fest will be held at Planet Hollywood, noon-5 p.m. on Sept. 17.

7. Former Las Vegas headliner Carlos Santana has joined the Noble Crew as a partner in Casa Noble tequila. “Passion, dedication and integrity is what attracted me to Casa Noble tequila,” Santana says. “They strive for excellence and don’t take shortcuts.” For one Supernatural Margarita, combine 1 ounce fresh lime juice, 1 ounce fresh sour orange juice, 2 ounces Casa Noble Crystal tequila and 1 ounce agave nectar. Add ice, shake and strain over fresh ice into a double Old Fashioned glass rimmed with Tajin chili powder.