National Bourbon Daze

photo-1copy.jpgI’m not usually one to celebrate faux-lidays, but National Bourbon Day is a notion I can still get behind. Even though it appears to be championed by a company called (also boosters for National Pasta Day and World Pistachio Day), I’m always down for a refreshing cocktail. June 14 took me first to Le Thai for the newest cocktail on the menu, the Mint Thai-lep, a play on the traditional mint julep, made with Maker’s Mark, tamarind juice, a little simple syrup, lots of ice and fresh mint ($9)—strong! Luckily, I didn’t have far to go.

My next stop was the Laundry Room at Commonwealth for a National Bourbon Day celebration presented by Bulleit. We nibbled on macarons, brownie bites and gourmet caramel corn while sipping three cocktails: the Summer Smash (Bulleit bourbon, lemon, orange, simple syrup and mint), the Shakedown (Bulleit Rye, vanilla syrup and lime) and the Haute Fashioned, which features Bulleit 10, a relatively new marque (to Las Vegas anyway), Angostura Aromatic Bitters and an orange twist. I couldn’t get too blitzed, though; I still have to sew my costume for National Caviar Day (July 18).

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Maccioni Comes Full Circo

Maccioni Comes Full Circo

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In a short conversation with Mario Maccioni, the restaurateur confirmed that his family would close its iconic Italian restaurant Circo in Bellagio in late spring 2014. With the imminent closing of Valentino in the Venetian, the Italian fine-dining scene in Las Vegas is being hit hard. And while lovers of fine Italian cuisine still have high-end places such as the Batali restaurant empire and Il Mulino to fall back on, the choices seem to be dwindling year to year. More on this trend in an upcoming Diner's Notebook column.