Garnishes needn?t be garish bouquets of tortured fruits or manhandled herbs. A swath of citrus can go a long way toward contributing aroma (gotta love those essential oils) as well as eye candy. What would a Horse?s Neck be without that luxuriously long ribbon of lemon peel? Eron Smith, bartender at Petrossian Bar in Bellagio, kept the garnish simple on his Slightly Sophisticated cocktail ($14), which took first place in MGM Resorts Internationals? second annual Bacardi cocktail competition. Bellagio assistant beverage director Ricardo Murcia contributed the Bellagio ?B,? and Smith?s father helped with the iconic Bacardi bat, which are branded into the peel.
In the glass, the aim was to keep it simple, too, in homage to his mentors and influencers, including Tony Abou-Ganim (the Modern Mixologist), Drew Levinson (Wirtz Beverage Nevada), Ray Srp (Hakkasan) and Darren West (Jean Georges Steakhouse). He also looked to the Negroni and Sidecar for inspiration, where just a few ingredients can make magic. ?When I started, a vodka with cranberry juice was considered a sophisticated drink,? Smith says. ?When I hear the name Bacardi, I think of mojitos, boats, beaches and bikinis.? His refined, yet approachable, cocktail features neither of those, but the blend of Bacardi Pineapple Fusion rum, Amaro Montenegro, Heering Cherry liqueur and fresh-squeezed lemon juice in a chilled, sugar-rimmed cocktail glass evokes images of all of them. Slightly sophisticated, very vacation.
As served at Petrossian Bar at Bellagio, $14
In a mixing glass, combine 1? ounces Bacardi Pineapple Fusion rum, 1 ounce Amaro Montenegro, ? ounce Heering Cherry liqueur and ? ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add ice, stir for 15 seconds and strain into a chilled, sugar-rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with two lemon peels, one branded with the signature Bellagio “B” and the other with the Bacardi bat logo.