A Spirited Bunch

With volume, speed and quality to consider, property mixologists pour on the creativity with inspired originals and inventive twists. Meet five who keep us coming back round after delicious round.

christopher_hopkins_no_credit_WEBChris Hopkins
Property Mixologist,
Wynn Resorts

Age & Hometown:
37, Perth, Western Australia

In November, Hopkins departed Vesper in the Cosmopolitan, where he started as a bartender/mixologist and left as general manager. Now the Wynn Resorts property mixologist, Hopkins inherits a strong program established by Patricia Richards. But there is always work to be done overseeing 25-plus bars and creating new cocktail menus, which Hopkins did most recently for Wing Lei, Allegro, Wazuzu and Lakeside.

Nailed It: Hopkins ushered in the new year—as well as his new role—with a custom cocktail for Wynn VIPs, the Midnight Countdown, with Bacardi rum, Lillet Blanc, Velvet Falernum, fresh lemon juice and citron tea syrup.

Up Next: Taking Wynn’s all-fresh juice program property-wide and making bar syrups in-house. And with pool season just around the corner, Hopkins has already begun revamping the pool menus.

craig_schoettler_no_credit_WEBCraig Schoettler
Property Mixologist,

Age & Hometown:
27, East Greenwich,
Rhode Island

The new guy in town, Schoettler comes by way of Chicago, where he began his career as a chef before transitioning to a bartender and eventually beverage director, most recently at Drumbar, a whiskey-focused speakeasy concept in the Raffaelo Hotel.

Nailed It: Schoettler had very little time between his August arrival and one of the year’s biggest events, October’s Food & Wine All-Star Weekend. Schoettler debuted in eminent company, creating cocktails for the four-course All-Star Brunch at American Fish with a menu created by chefs Michael Mina, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Jean-Philippe Maury, along with restaurateur Sirio Maccioni.

Up Next: Redefining the individual personality of Aria’s lounges by way of their spirit, cocktail and beer menus.


Photo by Erik Kabik

Mariena Mercer
Property Mixologist,
the Cosmopolitan

Age & Hometown:
30, Las Vegas

One of three property mixologists when the Cosmopolitan opened, Mercer alone now presides over 11 bars as well as special events and pop-ups. Here, all fresh juices, house-made syrups, purées and bitters come from a central mixology kitchen. “It’s mind-blowing to think of the sheer volume of the program,” Mercer says.

Nailed It: Sure, she makes a great Manhattan, but where “Miss Wizard” really shines is molecular mixology. She sells more than 30,000 Verbena cocktails annually (served with a palate-altering Szechuan Button) despite it’s not being on the menu. For last year’s Lucky Rice festival, her edible ramen cocktail featured Bacardi Rock Coconut “noodles.” And her boozy milkshakes bring all the boys to the Neapolitan bar.

Up Next: Rolling out five bottled cocktails for the Cosmo’s newly opened Bond Meets Boulevard party pit at Bond bar.

ricardo_murcia_no_credit_WEBRicardo Murcia
Assistant Director of Beverage, Bellagio

Age & Hometown:
35, Caracas, Venezuela

Regardless of title, the role of property mixologist at Bellagio is an august one. World-renowned mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim touched off the Las Vegas cocktail renaissance when he opened Bellagio as the city’s first of that profession in 1998. “These are big shoes to fill!” admits Murcia, the most recent to step into that eminent position.

Nailed It: In November, Murcia rolled out new cocktail menus for Petrossian Bar, Baccarat Bar and the pool, original creations and classic recipes that also feature Bellagio-branded citrus peels, diamond-shaped ice cubes, single-barrel spirits hand-selected for the property and barrel-aged cocktails, as well as recipes contributed by Bellagio beverage team members.

Up Next: Replicating that success at every other bar on property.

Photo by Sam Morris

Photo by Sam Morris

Michael MacDonnell
Director of Beverage,
Monte Carlo

Age & Hometown:
40, West Covina, California

Time spent at Todd English’s Olives, the Light Group and Miami’s Fontainebleau have rounded out MacDonnell’s résumé nicely. But if you’re wondering what makes this industry veteran tick, just stop by Monte Carlo’s Hit Bar & Lounge, where you can experience MacDonnell’s passion for classic cocktails and focus on great service.

Nailed It: Vegas Seven’s 2013 pick for Best Bar Menu, Hit Bar offers 21 classic drinks—from the Americano to the Ward 8—with recipes presented in a supple, leather-bound book format along with patent diagrams, cocktail history and spirit knowledge.

Up Next: Revamping the Ignite bar cocktail program and gearing up for the arrival of the property’s five new food and beverage venues, including SBE’s Double Barrel Roadhouse in March and a new Las Vegas Boulevard entrance.


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