Friday, April 30, 2010

The Mint derby...

Who said high society isn't fashionable?

It is Kentucky Derby weekend; which means putting on your best Sunday dress and head down to the races, or in Las Vegas, the Sports Book. Perhaps you prefer to enjoy the day at home relaxing in the spring weather with a classic mint julep in your hand.

The mint julep has been a Kentucky Derby staple and this year Woodford Reserve Bourbon is going all out. Now you may not be using a pure silver Tiffany Julep cup to enjoy this classic beverage but the original should always use crushed ice.

The true debate is sprung by the floral herb, mint. Experts have put all egos on the line claiming at which point the mint should be added to this drink to keep it a "classic." Some argue just a garnish should suffice whiles other steep the leaves in their simple syrup to add flavor. I personnally think the best solution is a gentle muddling of about 6 leaves to extract just enough of the oil to flavor your beverage. Here's my version, of course you can adjust the sweetness as you wish of just drink the bourbon neat!

6 Fresh Mint leaves
1 1/2 ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
2 ounces Woodford reserve bourbon
Crushed Ice

In a high ball glass; add the mint leaves and simple syrup and gently muddle for 5 seconds. Add the Woodford reserve bourbon and stir. Top the glass with crushed ice, garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy.

To really get in the spirit, pull out a Julip strainer and use it to sip the drink without touching the ice ;)

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Leblon Brazillionaire

Congratulations to LeBlon Cachaça, the WINNER of the 1st Annual WSWA Mixology Competition sponsored by The Tasting Panel MagazineLeblon Cachaça is produced at their distillery in Patos de Minas, Brazil where Leblon combines traditional approaches with creative European winemaking techniques  to create a Cachaça that is extra special.

The winning cocktail is called LeBlon Brazillionaire and was created by Mixologist Tobin Ellis of BarMagic, It's a delicious concoction made with Leblon Cachaca, Cherry Heering, Passion Fruit Puree, Fresh Lime Sour, Cilantro Leaves and drops of Spicy Sriracha Sauce.
As promised, here is the recipe for the winning cocktail so you can make it at your bar, restaurant or home bar.

2 speared Marasca Cherries
1.5 oz Leblon Cachaca
3/4 oz Cherry Heering (a Danish cherry liqueur)
1 oz Passion Fruit Puree (The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley)
1 1/2 oz Fresh Lime Sour (3:2 ratio of Lime to simple syrup)
8-10 fresh cilantro leaves
2 drops Sriracha Sauce

Combine ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Vegas to allow Drive thru wine and beer at "Starbucks"

Las Vegas, The city of sin and the true wild wild west is now pushing the limits on the beverage world and your local morning routine.

According to the New York times and as some have discovered, Starbucks the "wal-mart" of the coffee world has begun expanding their empire in some select cities to include a selection of brews and wines.

It may not have the "Starbucks" name but if you look at the fine banner print you sure can see its logo. Their location in Seattle which is up and running is named "Roy Street" and besides offering the regular Starbucks goodies, Roy street brings alcoholic drinks, up-scale bartistary (yes I invented a new world, sometimes you just have too) and lush decor.

The next state said to launch will be Nevada, with a few of these "boutique" stores popping up with drive through beverage service. Yes, thats right. "Can I get a poppyseed muffin and a Coors light to go please, I'm running late for work" It took a while to jump through the county hoops but it was no problem for a corporation of Starbuck's size.

I am interested to see how this operation works out. It will either be a much needed change if done right or a sorry attempt to improve a now aging brand.


Friday, March 12, 2010

The classic Irish Coffee

As we begin to prepare our green attire and livers for St. Patrick's day there is no better way than curling up next to a fire with a warm cup of hot Irish Coffee.

The "Irish Coffee" was invented in the 1940's in Ireland (who would of thought.) It soon migrated to the United States and landed in the heart of San Francisco. The Buena Vista in San Francisco is said to be the heart of Irish Coffee and has sold more than 30 million glasses! Now that's a lot of caffeine...

Here is the perfect recipe for this classic drink by Drew Levinson:

  • 1 1/2 oz Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
  • 4 oz Coffee
  • 1 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 oz Fresh Whipped Cream (unsweetened)

In a glass or mug combine the coffee, whiskey and sugar. Shake the cream to aerate and gently poor on top of the coffee to create a 1 inch layer of fresh cream on top.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Top Chef's Chef loves Markers and Hendrick's Gin

This was a great article thanks to

After six seasons of judging reality show Top Chef, we all know what celebrity chef Tom Colicchio likes to eat and what he certainly doesn’t like. But when he’s not on TV or behind the stove at one of his many Craft restaurants, what does he like to drink? Bourbon. “Current favorite is Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old,” he says. When we recently spoke to him, the liquor cabinet in his New York City home was full of Kentucky’s finest, including bottles of Black Maple Hill, Buffalo Trace and George T. Stagg. “There’s always Maker’s Mark in here, that’s what I prefer to mix with,” he says. Usually he drinks bourbon with one giant ice cube or in a Manhattan on the rocks. “I don’t like it up,” he says.

He also doesn’t care for vodka. “I don’t drink it at all,” he says. “I never liked it.” (Note to all future competitors: under no circumstances should you ever serve the judges a vodka cocktail.) Up until recently, Colicchio didn’t even drink gin and was reintroduced to it on the first day of the first season of Top Chef. He was understandably a little nervous. “I just figured a little drink to take the edge off might be helpful,” he remembers. The bartender at the restaurant where they were shooting made him a Hendrick’s Gin and tonic. The Scottish spirit has now become his favorite gin. (But for the record, the judges “don’t get drunk” on the set.)

With eight restaurants, 14 ‘Wichcraft sandwich shops and a young family he doesn’t go out often. “When I’m working, usually after I’m done with a shift, I’ll grab a cocktail,” he says. But he’s careful not to overindulge. “The problem with cocktails is the next day,” he says. “I’m 47 now, so I don’t bounce back like I used to.”

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The perfect winter elixir to celebrate the US gold medals

Xania Woodman of the Las Vegas Weekly wrote a great article on Wirtz Beverage Nevada's master mixologist's take on a classic...

While it might seem intuitive to curl up on the couch with something hot and spiked to watch the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, I have another suggestion. Mixological forefather Harry Craddock included in his Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) one called the Olympic Cocktail, which employed one-third each orange juice, curaçao, and brandy, served up.

Mixologist Drew Levinson’s updated creation swaps fine Cognac for generic brandy, Clement’s rum-based and Creole-spiced orange liqueur for simple curaçao, and introduces orange bitters for an even more complex, sophisticated orange flavor. An homage to Craddock, 80 years later.

“I just liked the idea of twisting and modernizing a vintage cocktail,” says Levinson. “The Courvoisier Exclusif was the first cognac designed to be utilized specifically in cocktails. The Creole Shrubb is a version of a classic product that was created by Clement Rum from Martinique. It utilizes a rum base with Creole spices and essence of orange zest to bring a beautiful, complex orange flavor to the cocktail. The dash of orange bitters further integrates the flavors creating a sophisticated cocktail. I’ve always thought of bitters as the ‘salt and pepper’ of the cocktail world. It enhances and integrates the flavors that are already present in the dish/cocktail.”

2010 Olympic Cocktail:

1 oz. Courvoisier Exclusif Cognac

1 oz. Clement Creole Shrubb liqueur

1 oz. freshly-squeezed orange juice

Dash of Angostura Orange Bitters


Shake over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Haze of a night...

There are a number of reasons why I have chosen to reside in the city of sin, the neon capital, the 24 hour town.. Las Vegas. Yet, I am always reminded on a weekend night of why I love this city. There is always something great to do!

As I became lethargic on my girlfriend's sofa late in the saturday afternoon I decided to contemplate what my mood would be like for the evening. Then, something slowly began to creep into my mind; City Center.

I was at City center earlier that week for a private launch party for a release of Hardy Perfection Cognac inside one of the tower suites which was extremely elegant and high tech of course; I think that event is what kept me itching for more.... so I decided to take my bite.

We fancied up, shined our shoes and off we went. Surprisingly there was not much traffic and it seemed slow in the hotel for a Saturday night; a month after opening? It is hard to tell though whether it was lacking the population it needs to sustain itself or if the vastness of the area allowed everyone ample space.

We made a stop inside the gold lounge in the second level just outside of the Elvis theater for a cocktail. I appreciated the layout of the space, allowing room for us to sit down yet it was a smaller area then I imagined; however with only four drinks on their cocktail list we left disappointed. After running into a dear friend, Pearce Cleaveland, who just took over the marketing for Haze nightclub was gracious enough to walk us straight in.

There was a monstrous line outside of the club! It seems that Timbaland was about to perform on stage. We paraded into the club and immediately felt a different vibe unlike all the other clubs in town. The space was huge, with a upstairs balcony reaching across the entire club. A huge dance floor and multiple rooms, human mermaids and lights or balloons. It was unreal; but nothing short of what I suspected would come. Aside from a poor performance from a seemingly ordinary hip hop artist. Haze was an awakening to a tired town of popping the bottles and getting down.

- Robbie WoW

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'll have a pint with those fries!

An article by the NY daily news has a scoop that Burger King will soon be launching a campaign to sell domestic beers in their fast food restaurants at select major cities.

"Hoping to tap a whole new customer base, the fast food chain has unveiled plans to peddle beer alongside their famous burgers at something they are calling a Whopper Bar.

The first one is opening in Miami Beach and will target thirsty tourists hitting South Beach, Burger King confirmed."

Burger king is hoping to reach a new market share with this idea and plans to roll it out to LA and here in Las Vegas.

Of course, this idea does come with some scepticism. I asked a UNLV student today if they thought this would change their decision for their meal choices, she replied "In Las Vegas, you can get a drink anywhere. What's next? a slot machine at Wendy's and Wine at Mcdonalds?"

Burger king is not the first company with this idea. Last year Starbucks launched an initiative to sell microbrew beers and Wine at select locations as well. What's Next?

Coruba Rum kicks off in Las Vegas

Coruba Rum took over Wirtz Beverage's Alchemy room on Friday for the launch of their entire brand line in the City of Sin. Almost 100 people tasted the new coconut, pineapple, mango, spiced and dark flavors of Coruba.

Coruba Jamaica Rum is pot stilled and aged for at least two years in new barrels. This gives it a very smooth character when compared to similar rums such as malibu and cruizan.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Super Bowl 44, Vegas style!

With the new decade brings the biggest game of the year! Super Bowl 44 will be a test of the best. countless injuries, debates and bets have gone into this game over the past 5 months and it all comes down to this.

On February 7th, in Las Vegas's East coast sister, Miami, two teams will battle it out to be called the best of the 2009/2010 season. Luckily, this means a lot of activity and great deals in the City of Sin.

Take Blush ultra lounge at the Wynn as an example. They will be opening their doors at 2pm for the Game! this is unheard of for a nightclub and they will bring in plasma TVs to watch the game.

Steiner's: Nevada Style pub is offering playing credit, giveaways and free food and drinks during the game.

Drink specials can be seen all around the strip, Fremont and local venues throughout the city. So Grab your gear, sit back and enjoy the show wherever you choose.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cadillac Ranch at Town Square offers amazing discounts!

Are you, like many local Las Vegans itching for an exciting night out away from the strip? something that won't break the bank the next day, yet still a fun and exciting environment. Well, you're in luck!

Cadillac Ranch: All American Bar and Restaurant in the infamous Town Square on Las Vegas Blvd is offering drink discounts and giveaways throught the week. The best night to pop your head in would be Wednesday where they offer half price on select draft, a shot and bottle, food specials and a $500 sexy bull ride giveaway!

So come on down and get ready for a great night out that your wallet won't regret the next afternoon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Drinks of the decade

With the “Best of…” and “Top 10…” lists flooding blogs and newspapers, breakdowns of the decade’s best drinks are holding their own against the more commonplace movie and book reviews. One comprehensive list comes from The New York Times and includes everything from specific drinks to bar trends. The list highlights Absinthe’s reemergence in the States and the impact of truly innovative mixology in recent years. Be sure to check our Twitter throughout the day and tomorrow as more articles like this will be posted, and feel free to share any that you might find in the comments section

Classic Cocktail Series: The Pear Martini