It’s a special cocktail that bears the name of its casino. But it takes an even more special cocktail to bear the name of a beloved casino that once stood where a shiny new resort now reigns. Such was the challenge for SLS Las Vegas beverage director Ryan McCallum, who gives a respectful nod to the property’s past with his Sahara Cooler ($15), which will be served property-wide when SLS opens at midnight on the evening of August 22.
It’s a fitting tribute, being Sahara-orange in hue. “There’s a libation out there for everyone,” McCallum says. “As beauty is in the eye of the drink-holder, it’s our job to find that perfect drink for them.” But success goes deeper into that glass than just the color: Ketel One Oranje matches beats with Aperol (a low-alcohol bitter Italian aperitivo flavored with orange peels), and gives it an alcoholic boost. Passion fruit puree imparts a refreshing, sweet-tart character; and the Stiegel Radler (a loooow-alcohol fruit beer) puts some sophisticated texture on the palate. In all: a delicious tribute to a venerable patch of Las Vegas history. Says McCallum, “It packs a good punch, too.”
As served at SLS Las Vegas, $15
In a mixing glass, combine 1½ ounces Ketel One Oranje vodka, ¼ ounce Aperol, ¾ ounce Perfect Puree of Napa Valley passion fruit puree, ½ ounce fresh lime juice and ¾ ounce simple syrup. Add ice, cover and shake vigorously for six seconds. Strain over fresh ice into a 12-ounce Collins or highball glass. Top with 1½ ounces Stiegl Radler grapefruit beer. Submerge a long grapefruit peel in the glass and garnish with a thin lime wheel.