Las Vegas has long been known more for its wild, all-night parties (think models and bottles) than for having respected mixology programs. But now some of the top bartenders at the hottest bars and restaurants on the Strip are stirring up serious cocktails that even the most seasoned quaffers will be pleased to sip. Here are our picks for the artisanal cocktails you need to try during your next Vegas weekend.
The Porkchop at Yardbird Las Vegas
Brown liquors like bourbon and whiskey are popping up on creative cocktail menus all over the country, but this concoction at Miami import Yardbird is like nothing we have ever tasted. Made with Old Forester 86, Yardbird Dijon syrup, yuzu juice and apple cider, The Porkchop —created by lead mixologist Robert Ortenzio—is served in a highball glass over a Dijon thyme ice cube, helping to bring out all of the different yet complimentary ingredients.
Spicy Bite at BLVD Cocktail Company
The LINQ Hotel & Casino
With its artful décor, including antique crystal-cut lamps and sconces, a baby grand piano and swan motifs, you already feel like you’ve entered a different world when you walk into BLVD Cocktail Company. And the Spicy Bite—the brainchild of award-winning mixologist Juyoung Kang that blends Denizen White rum, Thai chili-infused green tea syrup, freshly squeezed lemon and a zesty cilantro garnish—completes the experience.
Mule Train at Rockhouse
Just because it has a dive bar feel doesn’t mean Rockhouse isn’t serving up some serious drinks, like this take on the Moscow Mule. With American Harvest small batch, organic vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, the simple yet tasty tipple is sure to satisfy even the most seasoned cocktail hound.
Punch, Drunk, Love at Crush
Gin is all the rage these days in serious cocktail circles, and the Punch, Drunk, Love at Crush is a delicious concoction, made with mint-infused Hendricks gin, Lillet Rosé, watermelon juice for some sweetness, fresh lime juice and simple syrup, shaken and strained over ice.
Basil Paloma at Franklin Lounge
Delano Las Vegas
The talented team at Franklin Lounge have a winner on their hands with this inventive tequila cocktail. Siete Leguas Blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, Monin grapefruit syrup, fresh basil leaves and Angostura bitters are shaken with ice, strained into a tulip glass and topped with Jarritos grapefruit soda. This drink is so good even tequila naysayers will be taken with it.
And God Created Women at Bardot Brasserie
Bardot Brasserie mixologist Craig Schoettler kicks things up a notch with his And God Created Women at this Michael Mina eatery. Using Citadelle gin—the spirit of the moment—first shaken with fresh lemon juice, St-Germain, Byrrh, simple syrup, and one whole egg white and then thoroughly shaken over ice to whip the white, this cocktail is perfect either sipped on its own or paired with one of Mina’s classic French dishes.
Rosemary Amaretti at Alibi Cocktail Lounge
Egg whites pop up again in the Rosemary Amaretti at Alibi Cocktail Lounge, where master mixologist Michael Monrreal blends them with rosemary-infused 50 Bleu vodka, Lazzaroni Amaretto and citrus, adding lavender bitters for an extra kick. Bonus tip: Alibi Cocktail Lounge is open 24 hours a day so you can get sip this distinctive drink anytime, day or night.
Lemon Basil Caipirinha at Rhumbar
The Mirage Hotel and Casino
Just because you’re in the desert doesn’t mean you can’t sip Caribbean-inspired libations. The Lemon Basil Caipirinha, made at the sleek Rhumbar with Leblon Cachaça, muddled lemon wedges and basil syrup, is a simple, yet potent mix that invokes a tropical feel.
Green Geisha at Kumi Japanese Restaurant & Lounge
Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino
On those unbearably hot Vegas nights, the refreshing Green Geisha provides the ideal antidote, blending Bombay Sapphire East gin, house-made melon-cucumber puree, fresh lime juice and Togarashi syrup, topped with Mr. Q Cucumber soda.