Russell Gardner of Block 16 Hospitality
Las Vegas’ mustache caché suffered dramatically when Downtown Cocktail Room’s Jeremy Merritt, former DCR barman Rustyn Vaughn Lee and—right as we were going to press!—Carnevino’s Jeremy Taylor pruned their prodigious hedges. That leaves Public House cicerone Gardner for sheer bravado. It’s just so … big!
Best New Trend
The writing is on the wall, so read it: The craft-beer explosion and the mixology renaissance have converged to form the perfect, delicious storm. As the good word spreads, look for cocktails to sport porters, lagers, sours and French farmhouse ales. The best performers will taste as good separately as they do together. Think of it as the ultimate beer pairing.
Best New Cocktail Category
What started at RM Seafood as a simple ode to a local bow-tie-wearing barfly has spread to include a number of iterations—barrel-aged, herbaceous, fruity—all variations on the theme of scotch and sparkling wine, both products close to its namesake’s heart. But it’s not truly a Stober until you toast and say, “Slàinte!”
Best Property Beverage Program
There’s so much mixology love going on at the Cosmo, if you cut it, it would bleed aromatic bitters. Having three devoted and passionate property mixologists means three times the innovation, and a cocktail-loving upper-management team makes sure the property gets first crack at whatever is best in glass, while two mixology kitchens keep the Cosmo’s bars stocked with leather-infused bourbon and cherrywood-smoked ice spheres.
Best New Spirit
A whiskey from a simpler time (or a more complicated one, depending on your perception of Prohibition). And it’s only been available in Las Vegas since Sept. 1. Al Capone loved it so much he built much of his underground business on it. So if it’s good enough for Scarface …