In Las Vegas, Halloween is more of a season than it is a holiday. But our thirst for the resulting themed cocktails usually has a half-life of one sickly-sweet or absurdly festooned novelty drink. Bucking the trend, the recently relocated Nora’s Italian Cuisine found a way around the holiday menu trap with a stirred Manhattan-style drink that we’ll find ourselves reaching for all year long. Xocolatl ($12) brings together chocolate and mezcal, two elements that share a common ancestor. The ancient Aztecs revered both chocolate and pulque, a sacred fermented agave drink that would eventually give rise to distilled agave spirits. If only they had combined them in the same way that mixologist Adam Giles has at Nora’s, where Kimo Sabe Rubedo Reposado Mezcal meets Cherry Heering Liqueur, Lustau East India Solera Sherry, house-made cinnamon- and clove-spiced chocolate syrup and Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters, and is served up with a chocolate-infused Luxardo Maraschino Cherry. Kimo Sabe’s father/daughter founders, Jim Walsh and Ashley Walsh Kvamme, made chocolate in Hawaii before embarking on their mezcal journey—sweet serendipity that gives this recipe an even deeper resonance. While boozy and dessert-inspired, it’s a sophisticated treat that will do the trick before dinner or after.
As served at Nora’s Italian Cuisine, $12
In a mixing glass, combine 2 ounces Kimo Sabe Rubedo Reposado Mezcal, ½ ounce Cherry Heering Liqueur, ¾ Lustau East India Solera Sherry, ½ ounce house-made Lady Godiva Syrup (Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur, brown sugar, cinnamon, clove and vanilla bean) and 3 dashes Fee Bros. Aztec Chocolate Bitters. Add ice, still till chilled, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a Godiva-infused Luxardo maraschino cherry.
Nora’s Italian Cuisine
5780 W. Flamingo Rd., NorasCuisine.com, Instagram: @NorasCuisine