Awards, well-paired pork and a word about balls

• The Cosmo and Aria cleaned up at the inaugural Beverage Blowout Industry Appreciation Awards, held Oct. 8 in Las Vegas: Best Cocktail Menu: Vesper in the Cosmopolitan; Best Wine List (non-casino): Marché Bacchus French Bistro & Wine Shop; Best Beer Menu: Todd English P.U.B. in Aria; Best Spirits List: The Whisky Attic; Best New Bar Design: Hyde Bellagio; Best Bar Staff (casino restaurant or bar): American Fish in Aria; Best Bar Staff (non-casino restaurant or bar): Herbs & Rye; Sommelier of the Year: Nick Hetzel of Sage in Aria; Bartender of the Year: Mariena Mercer of Chandelier in the Cosmopolitan; and Bar of the Year: Vesper in the Cosmopolitan. Congrats all around!

• In addition to all that hardware, the Cosmopolitan also recently acquired a new beverage attraction, a bottle of Balvenie Fifty, one of just 88 bottles commemorating 50 years of service by the industry’s longest-serving malt master, David Stewart. For a mere $3,400 per ounce, you can taste 50-year-old Cask 5576. I can tell you firsthand that it is sublime. More at TheBalvenie.com.

• Did you enjoy Felix Baumgartner’s ultimate base-jump Oct. 14? Celebrate with three new flavors of sponsor Red Bull (cranberry, blueberry, lemon-lime), available only in October and only at Haze, Marquee, XS, Surrender and Pure.

• If you missed National Bourbon Heritage Month, Elements Kitchen & Martini Bar has your do-over: a seven-course bourbon-pairing dinner, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22, featuring seven bourbons and guest speaker Drew Levinson of Wirtz Beverage Nevada. $89, reservations required, 750-2991.

• Nove Italiano launches its new quarterly Sunday Feast with Labor Wines, Local Swine, a four-course, family-style, wine-pairing dinner featuring locally owned Labor Wines and locally raised heritage pigs from chef Geno Bernardo’s farm in Pahrump. 6 p.m., Nov. 4, $75, reservations at 942-6832.

• And, finally, a word about balls. You’ve put away your summer whites, and you’re looking forward to the big chill but your cocktail is still all heated up. This is a problem. Here is one solution: the Tilt by Soirée Home, a stainless steel chilling sphere that keeps your drink colder longer, without interfering with the flavor or watering it down. Store in the freezer (or freeze 4-6 hours) for more than 30 minutes of nonstop chillin’. Tilt is center-weighted so it will always sit upright and is easily removed by an included retrieval hook. And—natch—Tilts come in pairs. $35 for two, Amazon.com.

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Squid Ink Pasta Carbonara at Valentino

Squid Ink Pasta Carbonara at Valentino

Chef Luciano Pellegrini makes this amazingly rich off-menu dish from scratch, using special Italian pasta flour from Pasini with 10 eggs per kilo of flour and three tablespoons of squid ink. The ink, he says, adds “mild flavor and the richness of the sea.” He then rolls it out, cuts it into thin squares and tosses it with house-cured guanciale (hog jowl) and lobster meat. A sprig of thyme is added, followed by the chef’s carbonara mix (egg yolk, half-and-half and shallots), drizzling it all with extra virgin olive oil before serving. You’ll skip dessert.

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