To Do: Love Your Cocktails

Michael Doyle

Returning to a one-night, one-event format, For the Love of Cocktails once again takes over Skyfall Lounge at the top of the Delano Las Vegas for a Grand Gala presented by Back Bar USA and featuring 62 of the city’s best bartenders and mixologists volunteering their time to raise funds for Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim’s Helen David Relief Fund for bartenders affected by cancer.

After putting down a few tasty morsels from the Rivea kitchen, marshal your strength to sip your way through the 31 cocktails on offer (petite ones, of course). Each duo of bartenders was assigned a spirit or ingredient with which to work. And this year, the creativity has hit a fever pitch.

Brown-Forman whiskey specialist Michael Doyle looked to the past for his submission. He will use a clarified-milk punch technique he adapted from Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks: A Bon Vivant’s Companion (1862) that dates back to the mid-17th century for his Good Medicine. Doyle and his teammate Moises Salgado of Whiskey Down in MGM Grand will combine Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbon and Cocktail & Sons Oleo Saccharum, Giffard Crème de Cacao, fresh lemon and whole milk.

Team Toki (Zuma’s SeongHa Lee and Mandarin Bar’s Heemo Yang) will hit you with their Love Recipe, featuring Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky, Amaro Nonino, Pineau des Charentes, yuzu juice, syrup infused with ginger, lemongrass and grapefruit, and grapefruit bitters garnished with a dehydrated citrus wheel. The proverbial flowing bowl will do just that with the addition of dry ice.

Fusion Mixology Bar’s Wendy Hodges and Palazzo pool bartender Nikki Affable collaborated on FleurPlay, a punch that is all about the antioxidants, with Motto Gung Ho red wine blend, jasmine tea and black pepper syrup, Pom pomegranate and blueberry juice, The Botanist Gin and strongly brewed jasmine tea with Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic and edible flowers.

Finally, independent bartender and A Family Secret food-truck owner Eric Hobbie and Carnevino barman Adam Rains contribute Change of Season, a Bushmills treat, pouring the Irish whiskey over Contratto Bianco “fluff ice,” spritzing it with magnolia bitters and serving it with a ball of Contratto Bianco cotton candy meant to be stirred into the now-melted drink.

Happy hour begins at 6 p.m. at Franklin bar, and VIP ticket holders enjoy early Gala entry at 7 p.m. Come with an open mind, a ready palate and prepare to be impressed!

For the Love of Cocktails

Skyfall Lounge in Delano Las Vegas, 8-11 p.m. May 19 (7 p.m. VIP early entry), Tickets $99 general admission, $150 VIP,