Las Vegas is home to some of the most creative and famous chefs in the world and the food that they create inside of their restaurants is just as impressive as the lineup of chefs. While you can treat yourself to almost any decadent dish that you could imagine, your taste buds are likely to be just as impressed by the inventive drinks that you will find on the cocktail menu.
The world of mixology in Las Vegas has turned into an art form, with beautifully designed drinks that can contain almost any type of ingredient that makes its way through the kitchen. Ginger is one ingredient that has excited the cocktail world and you can find a number of enticing drinks that have been created with this root being the focal point at a number of the restaurants at the ARIA Resort & Casino.
“We have a lot of different venues in the hotel and ginger works very well in Asian inspired cuisine and Asian restaurants,” ARIA Director of Beverage, Michael Shetler said. “Ginger is so versatile, it works with so many spirits because it has earthiness, spice, vanilla notes and so it accents different characteristics of different spirits. The vanilla notes in rum, in vodka it adds spice to what is otherwise a very neutral spirit and in our climate it is a really clean and refreshing ingredient.”
A flavorful cocktail with a classic feel, the Ginger Sour at Sage not only has a great flavor to it, but being prepared with egg whites makes this drink visually creative drink as well and gives it a great texture. The Ginger Sour uses Rhum J.M. Gold rum with the spicy, aromatic Canton Ginger Liqueur made with fresh, baby Vietnamese ginger. The Ginger Sour is mixed with ginger syrup, lime, Angostura Bitters and served in a champagne flute, a perfect drink at the bar or to enjoy with your dinner.
“The key ingredient to a Pisco sour is the egg white, that is incorporated into the Ginger Sour and that is where you get that beautiful froth. Cocktails have to be three things; a balance of sweet, bitter and sour and I think this drink has all three of those components, you get the spice from the ginger, a little bit of the sweetness from the rum, acid from the lime and you combine all three of those together and they accent each other perfectly,” Michael stated.
Ginger is not alone when it comes to being a unique and seasonally fresh ingredient used in the creation of Las Vegas cocktails. The cocktail menu has become much like the dining menu; you will see changes as the seasons change. Fresh ingredients make as much sense in a cocktail as they do in dish that comes out of the kitchen.
“When the menu changes it isn’t a full scale change, they try to incorporate the freshest produce, fruits and vegetables that are available based on the change in seasons. We try to mirror that in the cocktail program as well,” Michael said. "That is the trend and dining in general has changed, fresh ingredients, cocktails and spirits have really exploded over the last decade in America, people want to know what they are drinking now."
Michael just introduced a smoked peach bourbon that is called the Smoking Bullet. The kitchen obtains these ripe seasonal peaches from California and then they smoke them and macerate them in bullet bourbon for about three days and the bourbon takes on the natural sweetness of the peach.
Sage is not alone when it comes to incorporating ginger into its cocktail menu, you can currently find a hint of ginger on a number of ARIA restaurants. The ARIA version of the traditional ginger beer drink, the Moscow Mule, can be found at AMERICAN FISH by Michael Mina and Sage. AMERICAN FISH is known for incorporating historically classic drinks into its menu, making this cocktail a perfect fit. This version of the Moscow Mule is made with Stolichnaya Vodka and Fever Tree Ginger Beer and to give it the special feel it is served with lime in a copper mug.
If you are looking for an alternative to having wine with your amazing Jean Georges Steakhouse cut of beef, they have come up with the Ginger Margarita. This cocktail combines the smooth, subtle taste of Sauza Hornitos Reposado Tequila with tangy lime juice and ginger. Served over ice and rimmed with an inventive ginger and salt blend, this refreshing drink is an ideal complement to the delicious steaks served nightly.
Lemongrass developed a flavorful drink with the Thai-inspired Ginger Peach. They start off with black tea infused Absolut Apeach Vodka and then combine that with Canton Ginger Liqueur, fresh sour and garnished with shredded ginger. This makes for a perfect pairing for nearly any dish on the Lemongrass menu.
All of the bars in ARIA carry the Ginger Cosmopolitan, which features Absolut Citron Vodka, Canon Ginger Liqueur, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice. This version of the Cosmopolitan really takes on the flavor of the ginger.
Mixologists don’t have all of the fun, Sirio Executive Chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia not only serves the finest Italian Food in all of Las Vegas, but he also introduced a ‘cello flight that is unlike any other. Five different flavors of ‘cellos, each paired with a bite size dessert, will give you a flavorful dessert unlike other.
Based on a family recipe passed on by his grandmother, Chef Vincenzo began with his classic Limoncello. The Limoncello was such a hit that he decided to experiment with other flavors and with that came this enticing flight of 'cellos, with each flavor being paired with a matching bite size dessert.
The Cocoacello is a perfect match for this flight as it is full of chocolate flavor and it is paired with cocoa nib cookies. To enhance the flavoring of this ‘cello, Chef Vincenzo adds a dash of vanilla to the traditional ingredients.
To give you a fruit flavor with your flight of 'cellos, Chef Vincenzo created the Tangerinecello and the Berrycello. Each of the 'cellos are a little lighter and really allow your taste buds to run through an array of flavors.
While the Limoncello is the original, Chef Vincenzo created the king of all 'cellos, the Truffle 'cello. His love of truffles enticed Chef Vincenzo to try his hand at this version and he pulled it off using a black truffle in masterful fashion. Sirio is the only known menu that serves a Truffle ‘cello, just one more tasty reason to visit Sirio. The Truffle ‘cello is meant to be tasted last and with good reason, this is the flavor that you want to leave Sirio with. The first sip that you take will burst on the tip of your tongue, a hint of sweet that is overpowered by the truffle, giving you a truly unique flavor sensation. His personal favorite
“With the Truffle ‘cello, it gives you that earthy taste, you taste truffle, the liquer, the sweetness then back to the truffle, when we offer the tasting we always recommend the truffle to be last because that is the one you want to remember,” Chef Vincenzo said. “If someone is a truffle lover, they will love this ‘cello.”
Chef Vincenzo has two new ‘cello flavors in the works, tropical and melon versions that are perfect to combat the Las Vegas heat. To let you know that Chef Vincenzo does not just throw any flavor of ‘cello at you, he has had his disappointments. He thought a licorice version would work and he was extremely disappointed that it didn’t. For all of the flavor that the black Truffle ‘cello provides, the white truffle version paled in comparison and did not make the menu.
The ‘cello flight is hard to top when it comes to completing a meal at Sirio, but in keeping with this authentic experience, Chef Vincenzo brought one more thing from his homeland to complete the experience. He has his staff take a cart around to each table once dinner is finished to prepare cocktails for you. These are not your typical cocktails, what you will find are some of the rarest, most unique and flavor liquers in the entire world. Chef Vincenzo not only does this to provide you a one-of-a-kind cocktail, but in Italy after a meal this is a way for family and friends to extend their joyous evening, as it entices you to enjoy your cocktail while conversing and enjoying the company you are in for just a little while longer.
Next time you are dining out grab the cocktail menu or ask your server if they could make a recommendation on a cocktail. Whether it is ginger, truffles or any seasonal produce, these ingredients might make for one of the tastiest experiences of your evening without taking a bite.
For more information on ARIA Casino & Resort, visit: www.arialasvegas.com