Desert Diamond Distillery, STV WNN OPNS VDKA, and Prohibition 101

• Serendipitously enough, I spent Small Business Saturday in Kingman, Ariz., where the family-owned Desert Diamond Distillery is making a complete portfolio of Gold Miner rums available at Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits for $33. Using the first semi-automated distilling system in the U.S., two generations of Patts are putting out a mixable silver; the sippable Barrel Reserve; the complex, award-winning dark; and a sweet blue-agave flavored rum. Their holiday barrel program lets you gift someone very special their own 5-liter barrel of rum, which ages at Desert Diamond until it’s time for the recipient to help with bottling, labeling and wax-dipping ($375, yields 8-10 barrels). The Patts also periodically make vodka, and their first whiskey will come on line in about one year. Established in 2009 and opened in 2010, the tiny, high-tech distillery and tasting room are a day-trippable 112 miles from Las Vegas. If you go, tell Deborah Patt I’m loving the chocolate-nib notes in my bottle of dark rum, and can still taste the orange peel and eucalyptus in reserve barrel No. 2.

Francesco Lafranconi is staying busy this winter. Not only is the Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada executive director of mixology/spirits educator doing the menu at Scarlet, opening this month in the former Stuff store next to N9NE Steakhouse in the Palms, he is also mixing for Mr. Wynn. VDKA, a martini and infusion outpost operated by Las Vegas Nightlife Group, will open Dec. 28 along with Andrea’s just outside Surrender, capping off the trifecta of nightclub/dayclub, hip Asian supper club and now a bar. Bartenders will serve more than 150 flavored vodkas straight up from the city’s first Shock-A-Vodka speed-draft system (read: chilled vodka on tap) or in an original Lafranconi cocktail.

• Once the proof of your Repeal Day revelry has left your system, you might be itching to give it a go yourself. Comme Ça in the Cosmopolitan is happy to oblige. Learn the secrets of Sam Ross’ recently updated 18A cocktail program (try the Apple Sizzle!) during a one-hour Prohibition Bartending 101 class, where you can create your own throwback creation, enjoy paired hors d’oeuvres and keep the cocktail recipe book and bar kit. $150 per person, call 698-7910 at least one week in advance to book for up to six people.

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