It’s not really a secret The Vesper at the Cosmopolitan is my favorite bar on the strip in Las Vegas. It’s pretty much like coming home.
It’s apparently been a while though since I looked at Vesper’s menu. I prefer to go off the cuff but bartender George Sproule said I should try some of the new cocktails. Quite a few looked attractive and I tried a couple including the One Night in Bangkok (Tanqueray Rangpur gin, ginger beer, cardamon, lime, coconut cream, kaffir leaves, egg whites). The Tanqueray is rangpur lime flavors — a sort of hybrid of mandarin orange and lime.
This was so delicious that my friend who tasted all my drinks this weekend asked for another sip. This fragrant and frothy concoction is probably something I’d sip at the end of a night at the bar.
Next I tried The Mulberry (Baker’s bourbon, Nonino Quintessentia, DOM Benedictine, whiskey aged bitters, Creole bitters) which is generally my brown, bitter, stirred style. I liked it though I still love the Mayan more from their opening menu. Check out George in this video mixing the Mulberry.
My other picks from the menu would be:
#1 License – Laird’s applejack, La Gitana Manzanilla sherry, pear eau di vie, lemon juice, bitters
Fear & Loathing – St. George Terroir gin, Crema de Mezcal, maraschino, lemon, pineapple, cherry bark bitters
Corpse Bride – Bols Genever, Aperol, Solerno, absinthe ice sphere, lemon, strawberry-rhubarb syrup
I was at the Vesper three times my last trip so there are a few more cocktails to cover. George asked if I had tried the Bittermens Citron Sauvage yet which I haven’t. Bars are using the Citron Sauvage in place of orange curacao (Triple Sec). With the Redemption Rye and the Kronan Swedish Punsch, this cocktail was not as “old man drinks” like as my usual whiskey drinks. Tart, odd, different came to mind. None of it bad, of course. Actually, I liked it because it made you think about the drink a bit.
On my way out of Vegas, I hit up the Vesper for old time’s sake– er, sure, okay I was planning on an one & done sort of thing but we had some time to kill. We had just come from a great buffet lunch upstairs at the Wicked Spoon but I was saving my drinking for Vesper. I wanted some brunch cocktails.
First I asked George for something along the lines of a Bloody Mary but no vodka. He got to work and about 7 minutes later presented me with a Bloody with St. George Spirits Breaking and Entering bourbon. A guy sitting next to me was so fascinated by the use of Bitter End Memphis BBQ bitters and the amount of time it took to make the drink. “I think it took him half an hour!” No, really, it was more like 7 minutes. It was delicious of course with the right amounts of savoriness and piquancy.
Then I let George have at it with both tequila and mezcal. For good measure, there was also basil eau di vie and absinthe. Although it didn’t taste the same as the Scotch drink I had the night before, it reminded me of that wizardry. I don’t have a great shot of it but imagine a brown, bitter, stirred drink with: Macallan, Talisker, Cocchi di Torino, Amer Picon, Fernet-Branca and Campari at Vesper. Luckily though I got the recipe.
- 1.5 Macallan
- .5 Talisker
- 1 cocchi di Torino
- .5 Campari
- dash Fernet-Branca
- dash Amer Picon
Stir, strain, serve up and garnish with lemon twist.
The Vesper Bar at the Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S., Las Vegas, NV 89109 — (702) 698-7000
Over at RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay, I’ve been hearing good things about the bar program where Nathan Greene (formerly of Vanguard) just took over. He says he’ll be rolling out a new menu at the end of this month. And for those in the know, he’ll also have a secret menu. Now you know.
I let Nathan have free reign over what I was going to drink and he gave me a cocktail of St. George Terroir gin, Byrrh, Drambuie 15, Dubonnet Rouge, Dolin Blanc, bitters, orange oil. The Drambuie 15, Dubonnet Rouge and Dolin Blanc is his custom blend he likes to use in cocktails. Normally I’m not a Drambuie sort of gal but the 15 is actually pretty good.
Next I spotted June, one of my favorite liqueurs. I first had it in Seattle and haven’t seen it in LA yet. I don’t think it’ll be as popular as St. Germaine but it has a similar floral quality but it’s less sweet and cloying. This unnamed cocktail is pisco based. Nathan used Barsol pisco, Espirit de June liqueur, orgeat, lemon, orange blossom water and grapefruit bitters.
When I originally did research on cocktail bars in Las Vegas, I came across Herbs & Rye but never quite made it. Downtown Cocktail Room was the furthest off the Strip as I got.
I enjoyed reading through menu mentioning the different eras of cocktails. I usually get a house specialty but since we were at a table, I couldn’t talk to any of the bartenders. I ordered a classic cocktail, the Bijou (gin, Green Chartreuse, sweet vermouth) off the menu. It was very good.
Next, I decided to have an Aviation– made properly with both maraschino and creme de violette. I hadn’t had one in a while and felt like one. Like the Bijou, it was perfect. I ran into some (bar) industry folks as I was leaving and Herbs & Rye is definitely their hang out spot (like the Varnish in LA) but we were off to our next adventure.Frankie’s Tiki Room ever since I found out the designer also did the Tiki Room at Disneyland. Of course, they do say a bunch of respected tiki carvers contributed to the overall aesthetic to the bar.
Sadly, I think things have changed at Frankie’s. A local bartender in Vegas told me they stopped doing the fresh juices. My Mai Tai was way too sweet. I could not finish my drink and we left early. It would have been fun to just hang out if we were at the bar but the tiny carved wooden seats at the tables were well, tiny, carved wooden seats with the thread-bare cushions. They looked cool though.Frankie’s Tiki Room 1712 W Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89102 — (702) 385-3110 © The Minty // LA Cocktails 2013
6 thoughts on “Las Vegas: The Hottest Cocktail Spots”
do you have the recipe for the last night in bangkok drink at vesper?