Seven reasons to lift up a glass

1. A recent trip to the Park City Food & Wine Classic proved timely for Las Vegans escaping the triple-digit heat and subsequent humidity. This included members of Cirque du Soleil’s O, who popped up at the Grand Tasting at the Canyons Resort, and then gave an intimate performance at the closing party at the Montage Deer Valley. The next event ( is slated for July 10-14, so you have plenty of time to plan next summer’s great escape! But if you need out now, the second annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival is Aug 9-12.

2. Well, he said he was going to do it, and by George (Lucas), he did. RM Seafood lead barman J.R. Starkus just unveiled his new menu of barrel-aged cocktails. And as promised, he included the Chewbacca’s Jacuzzi, as seen in very fine print in the awesomely entertaining (if not accurate) YouTube sensation, Mixologist (Google it). It’s a beast: Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, Averna, Meletti, Angostura and some smoke, served “any way you like” and guaranteed to put hair on your wookiee.

3. If you can’t take the heat, get out on the climate-controlled patio! Hyde Bellagio presents Fountains at 5 every Friday evening featuring summer cocktails by the pitcher. Aug. 16 is National Rum Day (or so say the PR reps), so we suggest the Spicy Hurricane, with Bacardi Añejo, orange and passion fruit purees and jalapeño juice.

4. Marché Bacchus hosts a five-course David Arthur Vineyards wine-pairing dinner with a little creative input from Alex Stratta on Aug. 16 ($95, 804-8008). Stratta himself hosts a five-course wine-pairing dinner with Banfi Vintners at the Palazzo on Aug. 24. $200, 414-9000.

5. Making the rounds this weekend? Check out the new cocktail menu at Central, including two new summery sangrias, and the 11 new flavored caipirinhas at Fogo de Chao. Then cheer on Team USA at First Food & Bar with the red, white and blue First Place cocktail, and check out the Olympic Trials Beer Flight at Public House. And don’t miss $5 Fernet Branca shots at Vesper, all day, every day!

6. [UPDATE: This event has been postponed to a later date.] Enjoy wine tasting, blending, mixology and cuisine from celebrated chefs during the Mandalay Bay Wine & Spirits Weekend, Aug. 17-19. On Saturday, mixologist Armando Rosario teaches Cachaça Classics, and the “Modern Mixologist,” Tony Abou-Ganim, elevates your dinner party with rum.

7. And on the randomest of notes: Ever wondered what happens when the spirit of Thailand meets the pride of Ireland? Le Thai chef-owner Daniel Coughlin (himself a blend of Thai and Irish) calls it the Thai-rish Shit Show: half Mekhong, half Jameson Irish Whiskey. Drop it into a pint of PBR for the Thai-rish Car Bomb!

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