Delmonico Steakhouse in The Venetian boasts a selection of more than 700 whiskeys, bourbons and single malts, a collection that is reputedly the largest in Las Vegas. Always game to enhance the guest experience with a little novelty, the crew at Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant has gone a step further and landed its own bourbon. Nearly a year ago, Delmonico director of operations Mike Olsen and his team visited Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky to sample from barrels to select a bourbon to be served exclusively at Delmonico, Table 10 and Emeril’s Fish House. The chosen barrel—No. 29, if you’re curious—was made from the recipe of the legendary Pappy van Winkle, filled in December of 2010 and aged for six years and five months on the seventh floor of Warehouse I. In all, 156 one-liter bottles were filled, and it was christened W.L. Weller Private Barrel Antique 107 Single Barrel Select. The 107-proof wheated bourbon is extremely well balanced and complex with notes of charred oak, sweet caramel and spice. The now-empty barrel is on display in the Delmonico lounge, and its contents are selling at all three venues for a mere $14 per pour. If cocktails are more your thing, fork over one more dollar for Delmonico lead bartender Lillian Hargrove’s South for the Winter, made with the Weller 107, Camus VS Cognac, Grand Marnier, barrel-smoked maple syrup and lemon juice.
Technological advances have resulted in machines replacing many jobs once done by humans, and now with the opening of Tipsy Robot, to a small degree, bartenders may be next. Located in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, across from Cabo Wabo and steps from the casino entrance, this new techno-enterprise is the only land-based operation of its kind (there is one on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship). Place your order from one of 33 individual consoles, selecting from a menu of 26 classic and signature cocktails or customize your drink with choice of spirit, mixer and garnish—all $14 unless you add extra alcohol. Next, watch as one of two robots goes to work, pulling bottles from above its “head” to dispense and prepare your drink in two minutes or less.
When it’s not too busy, the robots break out into one of 12 dance routines. The recipes, created by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits mixologist Francesco Lafranconi, are executed precisely to yield the same exact result each time. Parent company Robotic Innovations vice president Stephan Mornet says the project took two years to develop and promises more to come in both the U.S. and internationally. If you prefer that your bartender have a pulse, there’s also a full bar manned by a living, breathing human.
For years, Motley Brews has been putting on the largest beer fests in the state in terms of selection, with more than 500 choices offered at its bi-annual fests. The company now also offers smaller-size events throughout the year, the latest being the Hopped Taco Throwdown. Held in the Backyard at Zappos on August 12, the sold-out food fest featured 26 taco creations from 12 chefs/restaurants specializing in different cuisines, and 53 craft beer choices, including brews from several local breweries. Nearly all of the tacos featured non-traditional fixings, such as Fix Restaurant & Bar chef Sterling Buckley’s “Oh Not So Sweet,” made with crispy sweetbreads and guanciale (pig jowl) and Searsucker chef Stephen LaSala’s “The Charred Puss,” with charcoaled octopus. Some of the beers were themselves infused with culinary ingredients, such as local breweries Joseph James’ Blood Orange Cranberry Berliner Weisse and Lovelady Brewing’s Angry Red Headed Hawaiian Pineapple Sour. Organizer Brian Chapin says we can expect Hopped Taco’s return in spring 2018. In the meantime, up next for the Motley crew is the Downtown Brew Festival at the Clark County Amphitheater on October 21.