Exotic, to a Tea

The Marrakech–Bangkok

It’s an interesting proposition: Create a menu of three truly memorable specialty cocktails that can also be served without alcohol and still stand on their own. These drinks would be offered at the newly opened Delano Marrakech in Morocco, a city where for some, alcohol is out of the question. But as taste is never negotiable, Emilio Tiburcio, a Las Vegas mixologist, accepted the challenge.

During his visit, Tiburcio was inspired by the markets, with their profusion of intense spices, vibrant flowers and exotic fruit, and by the mystery of the desert at nighttime. To further infuse a sense of place, Tiburcio incorporated a teapot—typical of Moroccan tea culture in the Maghreb, where it is used to pour tea from a distance to create a layer of foam in the tea glass—to serve his infused syrups and non-carbonated mixers. In particular, the Marrakech-Bangkok marries Tiburcio’s Moroccan-inspired ingredients and service style with lime and ginger, borrowed from Thai culture—international hospitality at its most delicious.

Directions: In a mixing glass, muddle four blackberries. Add 1½ ounces Absolut Citron vodka, 2 ounces apple juice (poured at a distance from a teapot, if possible), ½ ounce lime juice, ¼ ounce rose water and ½ ounce ginger-infused simple syrup (2:1 sugar to water boiled with a small piece of gingerroot, cooled and double strained). Add ice, cover, shake and double-strain into a chilled 9-ounce cocktail glass. Garnish with a blackberry and a rose petal on a pick. (For a non-alcoholic drink, substitute the vodka with additional apple juice, and after shaking, double-strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass.

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When musician, author and Double Down Saloon owner P Moss published his second novel in September, Vegas Knockout: A Novel in Stories, about the biggest boxing match ever to come to Las Vegas, he commissioned a shot be created in its honor. “He insisted that it had to be red and pack a punch,” says Double Down Saloon partner Chris Andrasfay. Sounds simple enough. “Making drinks does not have to be a complicated science,” he says.