Seven reasons to raise up a glass

1. We’ve reached the middle of pool season. If your own middle runneth a bit over, lighten up with the Spa-Tinis menu at Morton’s The Steakhouse (893-0703), a collection of low-calorie cocktails designed with the health-conscious consumer in mind. Keeping the count under 200 calories are products such as Monin sugar-free triple sec, Monin agave nectar, TY-KU Soju, Absolut Acai vodka, as well as fruit purees, fresh citrus and mint. $14 each,

2. MGM Resorts International has also jumped on the skinny cocktail bandwagon, eschewing the hidden calories found in fruity and frozen drinks. At less than 150 calories per cocktail, the less-sinful drinks can be found at the MGM Grand pool, Bellagio’s Petrossian Lounge, Mandalay Bay Beach Bar & Grill, New York-New York’s Boathouse Bar, Monte Carlo pool and Japonais at The Mirage. At the last venue, try the Cucumber Passion, combining Hangar One Kaffir Lime vodka, passion fruit juice and house cucumber-water mix, garnished with sliced cucumbers.

3. Need to take it (your belt) down a notch farther? Try Encore Beach Club’s under-100-calorie Skinny Lemonade on for size: Combine 1½ ounces TY-KU Liqueur, 4 ounces lemonade. Add ice, shake, strain over fresh ice, top with a splash of soda and garnish with a lemon and cherry.

4. Rounding out the group, for the ultimate in guilt-free imbibing, one packet of Zilch margarita mix makes one zero-calorie, zero-carb, no-sodium, sugar-free margarita. Just order a tequila and water on the rocks, and mix it in. Each box of Zilch contains 10 convenient single-serving packets for $5. Recipes for frozen margs by the glass and pitcher at

5. In other news … Fins up, Parrotheads! Margaritaville restaurant at the Flamingo will undergo a major expansion this fall to create the Margaritaville Casino at the Flamingo, a 15,000-square-foot gaming space with 22 gaming tables, 220 slot machines and the centerpiece 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar to help change both attitudes and latitudes. Keep an eye on things at

6. Drink your dessert! Last week, Koi Las Vegas in Planet Hollywood debuted its Buzzed Mochi tasting menu in honor of National Ice Cream Month. The creamy Japanese dessert has been paired up with four new cocktail-inspired dipping sauces. Mix and match ’em or sample the Chef’s Selection: Mango with Grand Marnier sauce, chocolate with Frangelico sauce, green tea with Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce and strawberry with Godiva white chocolate liqueur sauce. Two pairings for $10,

7. Rock ’n’ Roll Wine announced this week that three-time Grammy Award winners Train will headline the sixth annual Wine Amplified Weekend at Mandalay Bay Beach on Sept. 17. Keep an eye on for ticket sales, the winery line-up and additional talent.

Suggested Next Read

Gone Coco-Nuts

Cocktail Culture

Gone Coco-Nuts

By Xania V. Woodman

“We’re the Palms! When you think Palms, you just naturally think of a tropical oasis, and what’s a tropical oasis without exotic fruits such as coconuts?” asks N9NE Group mixologist Dave Herlong. His delicious Coconut Colada debuted this summer, a triple-coconut experience, which focuses on the pure, clean flavors of the coconut. “Using the fresh coconut water from the freshly cracked shell is an important ingredient of this cocktail. The fresh water imparts a natural sweetness that really stands out.