Who says you can’t get great cocktails in a club? Plenty of people—myself frequently included. True, most nightclub bars just sling beers, shots and vodka highballs. And isn’t bottle service king? But at Hakkasan, the Ling Ling Lounge helps ease you from sumptuous dinner to high-energy nightlife with cocktails, open seating and open-format tunes. With that in mind, eight drinks from the restaurant menu were selected (eight being a particularly lucky number in Chinese culture) to be served in this intimate bar. The most popular signature cocktail at Hakkasan, The Hakka ($18), is an exotic, refined, Asian-inspired piña colada, says Ling Ling Lounge bartender Ray Srp, who makes more of them than any other item on the menu. But instead of rum, Grey Goose vodka provides a supple, medium-bodied canvas for the addition of junmai sake, lychee liqueur and juice, coconut cream, freshly squeezed lime juice, house-made passion fruit syrup and fresh passion fruit. “The premium-grade wheat used to create Grey Goose Original provides a softer texture and flavor,” Srp says. “That allows the more subtle flavors of the sake to shine without overpowering the integrity of the cocktail.” And integrity being essential, this piña colada comes sans tiny paper umbrella.
As served in the Ling Ling Lounge at Hakkasan in MGM Grand, $18
Squeeze the seeds and juice from half a fresh passion fruit into a 16-ounce iced bamboo glass and set aside. In a cocktail shaker, combine 11Ž4 ounces Grey Goose vodka, 11Ž4 ounces Masumi Okuden “Mirror of Truth” junmai sake, 1Ž2 ounce Soho lychee liqueur, 3 ounces house-made lychee juice (try Ceres), 3Ž4 ounce Coco Lopez coconut cream, 1Ž2 ounce fresh lime juice and 1Ž2 ounce house-made passion fruit syrup (try Monin). Add ice, cover, shake and strain into the glass with the passion fruit. Garnish with a lychee.