Sip Into Spring

Cherry Blossom, as served at Tao Beach in the Venetian, $14

Hanami is the Japanese tradition of viewing or even picnicking under the sakura (cherry blossom trees). Cherry blossoms can be found all over the country, many originating as gifts of friendship between the Japan and the U.S. The tree blossoms in spring. The effect is intense and short-lived, and is celebrated with cherry blossom festivals wherever they grow.

While you cannot hanami under any sakura in Las Vegas, you can refresh yourself in the shade of a palm tree or a poolside cabana at the Balinese-inspired Tao Beach with one exotic and delicious cocktail blushing pink as those delicate blossoms.

“The inspiration comes from the aromas of fresh flowers lining the beaches of Fiji,” Tao Group beverage director Edward Allen says. “I wanted to showcase those amazing floral notes by utilizing St. Germain in a refreshing summer cocktail.”

Combine 1¾ ounces Absolut Citron vodka, 1 ounce cranberry juice, ¾ ounce fresh sour mix and ¾ ounce St. Germain in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice and top with ¼ ounce club soda. Garnish with maraschino cherries.

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Like the 1922 Rudolph Valentino film of the same name, the Blood & Sand is an oldie but a goodie. The recipe first appeared in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, but over the last year or two has been increasingly spotted at savvy bars all over town. You can find the Blood & Sand at Downtown Cocktail Room and listed on menus at Herbs & Rye, in the Library Bar at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan and most recently at Savile Row in Luxor, where lead bartender Ray Srp made the sage decision to add it to the lounge’s cocktail list.

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