Gung Hay Fat Choy

The Firedrake Kiss, as served at Fusion Mixology Bar in the Palazzo, $12

Symbolism is big where Chinese New Year is concerned, as are the flavors presented by Palazzo’s award-winning mixologist Wendy Verdel-Hodges in her Chinese New Year cocktail. “The cocktail offers many complex flavors that are sure to tempt the palate,” says Verdel-Hodges, who is well known for her ability to transform just about anything edible into a delicious and thought-provoking cocktail. And those complex flavors, they come in waves. “First you taste bitter citrus notes, followed by sweet ginger and ending with a kiss of heat.”

“For the Year of the Dragon, I wanted to create a cocktail with a bit of heat to represent the dragon,” she says. “I also wanted to use ginger because it’s a flavor that is very popular in Asian cuisine. The reddish color is also associated with good luck.” And what hopeful gambler couldn’t use a little more of that?

In a mixing glass, add 1½ ounces G saké, ¾ ounce Campari, ½ ounce Domaine De Canton ginger liqueur, ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 ounce house-made chili-infused simple syrup (recipe below), 2 barspoons Perfect Purée of Napa Valley ginger purée and ice. Cover shake and double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of star fruit or a swath of orange peel.

Chili-infused simple syrup: Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil. Add a handful of dried chili peppers and turn off the heat. Allow the peppers to steep in the syrup until the desired level of spiciness is achieved. Strain out the peppers and allow to cool before use.