It’s not hard to locate an adult beverage in Las Vegas. But for those who know their spirits, sorting the frozen daiquiri pushers from the real deal can work up quite a thirst. We’ve broken it down for you by spirit—the rest is up to you.
It’s the most basic and prevalent of spirits, but it is celebrated and exalted above all others at Red Square (in Mandalay Bay, 632-7407). More than 200 labels of wodka are represented and sorted into neat little flights for you to fancy. Plus, the subzero vodka vault offers superfans a chance to suit up in furry hats and coats and experience vodka Arctic Circle-style. For another chilling experience, visit the ice bar at Minus 5 in the Shoppes at Mandalay Place and Monte Carlo (Minus5Experience.com).
Cocktailians and mixologists are drawn to gin like magnets. Whether classic English Dry, Old Tom, Plymouth or Dutch Genever in profile or even of the nouveau variety, classic cocktail fanatics flock to Herbs & Rye (3713 W. Sahara Ave., 982-8036) for thoughtfully and historically reproduced gin drinks spanning pre-1865 to 1948 (the cocktail scene got pretty ugly after that). In addition to classics such as the Aviation and Negroni, modern speakeasy (gotta love that door) Downtown Cocktail Room (111 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 880-3696) brings gin into the 21st century one original cocktail at a time. Try the Cat’s Pajamas—it’s just that.
For sheer volume, Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar (in Town Square, 948-8006) takes the Tortuga rum cake. The 184 rums that populate the city’s largest collection are best enjoyed during “Island Time,” Tommy’s happy hour, daily from 4-7 p.m. Rum cocktails are celebrated there as well as on-Strip at the Caribbean-inspired Rhumbar (in The Mirage, 792-7615), where the Latin Manhattan, Spanish Trampoline and 1944 Mai Tai show off rum’s versatility and cigar-pairing characteristics.
Where there is tequila, fun and mayhem are sure to follow. Staff at Dos Caminos (in the Palazzo, 577-9600) were certified by the Tequila Regulatory Council in conjunction with Cazadores tequila to properly sell the stuff—all 100-plus bottles. Guess that gives them a license to thrill. The Tequila Temptresses at T&T Tacos & Tequila (in Luxor, 262-5225) are also more than happy to show you to T&T’s lineup of 86 labels and then, no doubt, lure you into the photo booth for a little blackmail material. Hussong’s Cantina & Taqueria (in the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, 553-0123) will also happily help you to an original margarita, which the bar claims was invented at the landmark Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico, in 1941.
There is no shortage of tipsy temples dedicated to whiskey, and the granddaddy of them all is the Whiskey Attic (4700 S. Maryland Parkway, 597-3237), best known for its lineup of (currently) 647 whiskeys, including 310 scotches and 172 American whiskeys. Casa Fuente Cigar Bar (in the Forum Shops at Caesars, 731-5051) offers the members of its Spirits Society discounts on the rare scotch and whiskey on the Black List, including one of just six bottles of Glenfiddich 50 in the United States. Especially known for its incredible singe-malt scotch lineup (more than 180 of ’em) is Craftsteak (in MGM Grand, 891-7318), with more than 200 whiskeys in total served “on the rock”—one massive glass-filling block of ice. Delmonico Steakhouse (in the Venetian, 414-3737) boasts an impressive collection of 250 whiskeys, including 151 scotches, 44 bourbons and frequent updates to the house Book of Whiskey. This is also a great stop for the rye lover; there are 24 of them.
The Green Fairy has been alive and well in Las Vegas since absinthe became legal again. For a traditional absinthe drip (your choice of six brands with ice water and sugar) or for modern absinthe cocktails such as the modern classic, the Huntridge, Downtown Cocktail Room has a seat for you. DCR also serves la fée verte “with panache”—with simple syrup and water—and “scorched,” where the sugar cube is soaked in alcohol and set aflame. Center-Strip, Sage Restaurant (in Aria, 877-230-2742) serves nine absinthes tableside from a cart in both traditional and Russian-style. Remember: Stop, drop, roll.
To find cognac heaven, just look up! Alizé (at the top of the Palms, 951-7000) offers 113 Cognacs, 46 Armagnacs and 21 Calvados, including a number of pre-phylloxera epidemic (1873) original rootstock cognacs. Chef André Rochat curates the collection himself, so be assured of food-friendliness. Best-selling here are the blended cognac flight featuring three interesting half-ounce tastes for $35 all the way up to $365. For a bigger splurge, there’s the Jacques Hardy Private Reserve Vintage 1802 for $830 a shot or the Vintage 1777, available only by the bottle for $35,000. Yowza!