In molecular biology, the term “double helix” refers to the two strands that wind around each other like a twisted ladder in the structure of a DNA molecule. While the Double Helix Wine & Whiskey Lounge, situated in Town Square, does not have any ladders in its structure, it would appear from the length and breadth of its whiskey collection that the barrel-aged spirit is embedded in its DNA.
Currently, the selection (which continues to grow) stands at 180 whiskeys, bourbons and single malts hailing from 10 countries, including from some you wouldn’t expect, such as Australia, England, Taiwan and India. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the largest in town, and includes selections you won’t find anywhere else in Las Vegas or in the world, for that matter— because they are produced exclusively for Double Helix.
When lead bartender Kyle Mahan traveled to Vermont to peruse the creations of the WhistlePig Distillery, he sampled six concoctions and purchased a barrel containing a blend of 12-year-old Old World Cask Rye that had been aged in three different casks: 60 percent Spanish Madera, 20 percent French Sauternes and 20 percent Portuguese Port. The barrel filled 186 750 ml bottles, all of which belong to Double Helix. This gem presents notes of caramel, raisins, dark chocolate and winter fruit and goes for $9 during the daily happy hour, from 3:30–7:30 p.m., and $18 the rest of the time. Another exclusive cask obtained by Double Helix is the Jefferson’s Reserve Small Batch Private Barrel, a single-barrel bourbon personally selected by general manager Michael Pierotti, which he chose when he visited Jefferson’s in Louisville, Kentucky. Selling for $14, this sophisticated 90-proof whiskey features a lot of flavor up front with notes of butterscotch, vanilla, brown sugar and oak, with a deep finish. The actual barrel, now empty, is one of two on display in front of the Double Helix entrance.
Also aging for two to three months in-house are small barrels located above the bar, such as one containing Scottish Botanist Gin and Irish Laphroaig 10-Yr Whisky. Another is Double Helix’s own version of a Fireball, with Rittenhouse Rye, Buffalo Trace and Russell’s Reserve Small Batch Private Barrel with added cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, jalapeños and maple syrup.
The prices run the gamut, from extremely pricey, such as the Macallan 25-Yr for $195 or Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20-Yr for $149, to good quality at a reasonable price, such as Templeton Rye, Four Roses Single Barrel and Jameson Caskmates, all at an approachable $12. A good way to experience the whiskey menu is through one of the 15 flights offered, which include pours of four different spirits, such as the Bourbon Not From Kentucky ($32), with Smoke Wagon (Las Vegas), Koval (Illinois), Garrison Brothers (Texas) and Belle Meade Cognac Cask (Tennessee); or Ireland’s Fookin’ Finest ($42), with the Emerald Isle’s Red Breast 12-Yr, Green Spot, Red Breast 15-Yr and Midleton.
The Tipsy Pig | Photos by Krystal Ramirez
If cocktails are more to your liking, how about one that contains only ingredients from Vermont? The Tipsy Pig ($19) is a concoction of the aforementioned 12-Yr WhistlePig Old World Cask, Vermont WhistlePig maple syrup and organic Vermont bitters garnished with Vermont bacon. The Madmen Old Fashioned ($15) was created by Mahan, which he proclaims is one he would drink, as it’s not overly sweet—it blends Baker’s Bourbon with simple syrup made from Demerara (which is not as sweet as cane sugar) and three types of bitters, one that’s barrel-aged in-house and may remind you of the holiday season, with star anise, clove, cinnamon and cardamom. Debuting in December will be Mary Jane’s Last Dance ($15), a variation on The Last Word and dedicated to the late Tom Petty, with a nose similar to cannabis made with absinthe, muddled basil, Botanist Gin, Green Chartreuse, St-Germain and lime juice presented with Jack Daniel’s oak chips that are lit on fire before serving.
Mary Jane’s Last Dance | Photos by Krystal Ramirez
Double Helix in The Palazzo, while not having as extensive a selection as the Town Square location, sports a not-too-shabby collection of 81 bourbons, whiskeys and ryes. Both locations offer a Whiskey of the Month promotion: Show up in December to experience the Double Helix exclusive Jefferson’s Reserve Small Batch Private Barrel, which will be available for $6 a shot during happy hour and $12 the rest of the time.
For the complete spirits and cocktail list, check out the menu here.