There’s a whole lot of glasnost going on at Red Square, which is now under the Light Group’s rule. The focus remains on Russian and Eastern European fare as well as on vodka, which finds itself in all kinds of tantalizing situations at the hands of Red Square mixologist Michael Monrreal, who also did the cocktail menu for Union in Aria before that closed to become Javier’s. (Monrreal is now working on the cocktails for Citizens Kitchen & Bar, the second of three Light Group restaurant revamps at Mandalay Bay, this just across the hall in the former Red, White & Blue space.) The San Jose, California, native’s signature KGB cocktail was inspired by pepinos con chile y limón, or cucumbers with chili and lime, often sold in as street food in Latino neighborhoods. Although Red Square still offers vodka flights to demonstrate the subtle nuances between brands, countries of origin and styles, Monrreal’s cocktails show off vodka’s ability to play well with others. Za Vas!
In a mixing glass, muddle 4 cucumber wedges and 2 watermelon cubes. Add 2 ounces Square One Cucumber vodka, 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 ounce house-made chili syrup. Add ice, cover, shake and strain over fresh ice into a pilsner glass. Garnish with a cucumber spear, cucumber “half moons” and a watermelon wedge.