Seven reasons to lift up a glass

1. Breathe pool at the Hard Rock caught some Air on July 14, joining the list of venues hosting launch parties for Air, a low-alcohol (4 percent), low-calorie (95 of ’em), effervescent water in citrus—my preference—and berry flavors. Seems like an ideal, light alternative to syrupy or juicy drinks when heat is a factor. And here, heat is almost always a factor. $7 for four, Lee’s Discount Liquor,

2. The Cosmopolitan debuted its second barrel-aged cocktail this week, a Cosmopolitan (natch), featuring Hangar 1 Mandarin Blossom and Solerno blood orange liqueur that were aged 11 weeks in a Peju sauvignon blanc barrel. It’s $13 on the brand-new menu at Vesper.

3. Cluster Truck returns to the South Point from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Aug. 4 for X107.5’s second annual Dave and Mahoney Beer Bash & Food Truck Fest. The poolside event will feature beer and sake tasting, Patrón Margarita Mecca, gourmet food trucks and live entertainment. Follow the event at @TruckWrangler. $20,

4. Keep your calendar out. Rock ’n’ Roll Wine’s seventh annual Wine Amplified Festival will once again transform the 11-acre Mandalay Bay Beach into a wine and music utopia featuring more than 150 wines and award-winning alt-rocker headliners Young the Giant on Sept. 15. General admission and VIP tickets available at

5. After 130 years of producing great zinfandel, Sonoma’s St. Francis Winery & Vineyards has announced that the Pagani Vineyard vines, planted in 1890 by Felice Pagani, have run their course. The 2009 vintage (93 points from Wine Enthusiast) will be the last. Secure a bottle of this limited-production taste of history for your collection. $45,

6. On the local wine front, you have just till the end of July to enjoy the Generous Pour package at Capital Grille in the Fashion Show. Enjoy liberal pours of up to nine wines with your dinner for just $25. Each is hand-selected by master sommelier George Miliotes.

7. If High West isn’t the official whiskey of Park City, Utah, it darn well should be as its HQ is located right in the heart of historic Old Town. Visiting during the recent Park City Food & Wine Classic, I cruised by the distillery (soon to add a satellite facility and restaurant on a 3,000-acre dude ranch!) to sample the latest whiskey expression, which launched on Derby Day in May. Campfire—a blend of rye, bourbon and scotch—is the ideal whiskey for cookouts, barbecues and any other backyard pursuit that creates smoke. Let’s hope it comes to Vegas soon!

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Braised Short-Rib Fried Rice, Le Thai

Dishing With Grace

Braised Short-Rib Fried Rice, Le Thai

By Grace Bascos

In recent weeks, when Le Thai owner Daniel Coughlin prepared his addictive pork jerky, the chef set aside the precious clippings and whipped up a special crispy pork-fried rice. As you might expect, it sold out every time. Seeing the people’s need for a meatier fried rice, Coughlin answered with his current featured item: braised beef-short-rib fried rice. The dish arrives as a steaming heap, every forkful a collusion of fried rice (appropriately gleaming from its oil bath), slow-cooked and shredded beef, egg and onion.