Vegas and Vodka a Good Mix; Whiskey Wins Its Spotlight in Vegas; Reasons to Love The Delano

minus 5

Vibrant Vegas vodka venues 

by Miranda Boyd
As if you didn’t already know, and weren’t already planning your hangover cures, Oct. 4 was National Vodka Day! Whether you’re a fan of the fine spirit or you just instinctively respond, “Vodka cranberry” anytime someone says, “Hi there. Can I buy you a drink?” So to pretend you’re celebrating a holiday, when you’re really just using it as an excuse to party, check out the best vodka spots in Vegas.

Minus 5

Before we get started with this one, can we all agree not to talk about how “cool” this bar is? Please. That joke is so cold. Sorry. But seriously, for hardcore vodka fans, Minus 5 at Monte Carlo offers more than just a long list of vodka-based cocktails. It gives you the experience to match the flavor. Every vodka lover knows what it feels like to pull that perfect bottle from the freezer. Minus 5 is like finally going over to your vodka’s house to meet its parents, but without the awkwardness of having to explain how often you put your lips on their little angel. Sip from cups made of actual ice, safe in the knowledge that your vodka will never get watered down or even warm up, and enjoy the atmosphere for as long as you can stand the cold.

Petrossian Bar

Petrossian Bar. Photo courtesy of Bellagio.

Starting off the list with class, Petrossian Bar at Bellagio is a place to sit, sip and relax in the comfort and elegance for which the Bellagio is known. You might not recognize the name, but this is the piano bar right across from the Bellagio’s front desk. Or, if that doesn’t help you picture the space, remember that it’s the posh lounge you always felt you were too underdressed to venture into, even though the soothing piano music was luring you in. But rest assured, whatever you’re wearing, this is the place to sample some luxurious vodka via their vodka sampler. They also pair the vodka with caviar, for all the people who pretend to actually like caviar.

KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers

KGB Menu. Photo courtesy of KGB.

Of all the Las Vegas burger restaurants named for supposedly defunct Soviet intelligence agencies, KGB at Harrah’s is by far the best. Stuff your face with the American Standard while staring at pseudo-propaganda on the walls. And wash down your patriotic confusion with double shots off a clever list of vodkas. Chopin from Poland, Snow Queen from Kazakhstan and Jewel of Russia from, you guessed it, Russia are just a few of the premium vodkas available. You can even arrange your own flight. And don’t feel guilty if, when slamming back some New Zealand vodka in an American burger joint decorated like the USSR, you feel like you’re spiting Russia. You totally are and it’s totally worth it.


VKDA. Photo courtesy of Wynn

If you also feel that pouring vodka from a bottle is too time consuming, and would rather have it flow directly from a tap, then VDKA at Encore is the place for you. Not only do they boast more than 150 flavors, but the vodka comes through their custom cooling system which produces vodka so perfectly chilled that every sip is like giving the finger to a Klondike bar. It’s clearly some sort of super science on par with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, but it might as well be sorcery because it tastes like pure magic. With a list of expertly-crafted cocktails, and unique flavor infusions, it’s clear that VDKA is perfectly named. They give you the V,D, K and A upfront, but don’t worry, they’ll get you to the O.

Red Square

Red Square Menu. Photo courtesy of Red Square

A headless Lenin statue may not seem like the most inviting way to accent an entryway, but Red Square at Mandalay Bay isn’t exactly for the shy at heart. The restaurant offers a full menu, which includes incredibly expensive caviar. But forget about food, and that missing head, for a moment and remember why we’re here: Vodka. Clever flights are available like the “Made in the USA” or “Four Food Groups” which features potato, rye, grape and winter wheat vodkas. But the real treasure lies in the enticingly named Vodka Vault. With freezing cold air, metal walls, a head in a box, red lights and some sharp décor, the Vodka Vault is the place for VIPs to sample some of the world’s finest vodkas in surroundings so beautiful they make Saint Basil’s Cathedral jealous. And yes, you read that right, the Statue of Lenin’s head, complete with what we’re hoping is white paint dripping down it, is prominently displayed in a glass box in the center of the room. No matter how you feel about Lenin’s revolutionary extension of Marxist ideology as a means of direct proletariat empowerment, it’s super fun to do a shot off his head!

Wherever you choose to celebrate National Vodka Day, remember that vodka is a drink that deserves much more respect than we all gave it when we refilled water bottles with McCormick in high school. So savor its flavor and enjoy it responsibly.

P.S. Oct. 4 was also National Taco Day. But don’t try to invent Vodcos. Seriously, they’re not good. Way too soggy. You’ve been warned.


andres cigar lounge
Where to wet your whistle with whiskey in Las Vegas
by Miranda Boyd
It may not come in a yard long plastic cup or taste like a Jolly Rancher that’s been soaking in vodka all night, but whiskey is one drink that boils over with style and class. And we’re not talking about the shots you down before hitting the dance floor. These are the whiskeys you savor, the ones you remember and the ones that sooth your every chill.
Andre’s Cigar Lounge

Many people know Andre’s at the Monte Carlo as a spot for cognac lovers and cigar smokers. The restaurant’s cigar room has world-class selections of cognac, armagnac and cigars. But the second-floor space turns into a whiskey fan’s paradise for Whiskey Wednesday. VIPs, and occasionally Las Vegas industry insiders, get to experience some of the finest whiskeys available. And don’t worry if you’re not a smoker. Andre’s cares so much about its guests’ experiences that they designed a special ventilation and air filtration system to ensure all you smell is the rich aroma of the whiskey. Buy your tickets early as admission is quite limited, but don’t worry too much if you miss the big event. They often have the same whiskeys available for tasting flights in the restaurant throughout the month.


Craftsteak’s alcohol menu is 68 pages long. We’ll give you a moment to compose yourself after reading that. While most of those pages filled with some truly outstanding wine, the last dozen are where you’ll find the impressive list of single malt scotches and fine selections of bourbon, whiskey and more. The bar isn’t secluded like Andre’s cigar lounge, so Craftsteak at MGM Grand isn’t the place to hobnob with whiskey aficionados. It’s the place to plant yourself and prove to everyone around you that you know how to order, and properly pronounce, the Glenmorangie Signet or the Laphroaig 18 year — for those who enjoy Islays. With the impeccable selection and a bar that’s a part of the atmosphere, Craftsteak is the place to show the world your whiskey knowledge.

Delmonico Steakhouse

By now you’ve noticed a little bit of a pattern. The steakhouses tend to do very well when it comes to whiskey. And Delmonico at the Venetian is no exception. But one thing that sets this bar apart is the knowledgeable staff. Max Solano, the beverage manager and mixologist, is such an expert on all things whiskey that he created the famed Delmonico Book of Whisky, arranged many of the flights it contains and has traveled with Delmonico owner Emeril Lagasse (yes, that Emeril Lagasse) to personally research and choose whiskeys, and many other beverages, for Emeril’s restaurants. No matter how much you think you know about whiskey, even if you know the difference between whiskey and whisky, stop by Delmonico. You’ll learn something exciting and delicious.

Whiskey Down

This one sounds like a given, but it really is something special. At first glance it seems like just another gaming lounge on the casino floor in the MGM Grand. But once you pick up the menu you’ll see that Whiskey Down offers some unique choices that you just can’t find anywhere else. Three of those, including a Jack Daniel’s single barrel, are exclusive to the MGM Grand. And they also serve “The Last Drop,” a rare 1960 single malt of which only 1,347 bottles were ever produced. Also serving classics like the Glenlivet and handcrafted cocktails, Whiskey Down is the place to try something a little different in between sips of the greats.
Whisky Attic

Here’s where Vegas truly shows her affection for whisky. Just off the Las Vegas Strip lies a restaurant and bar called the Freakin’ Frog. Known throughout the world for its incredibly comprehensive beer selection of over 1,100 brews, and offering some delectably spicy bar food, Freakin’ Frog houses a secret that will leave all whisky fans drooling. Upstairs is the Whisky Attic, one of the greatest collections of whisky in America. Open only for private tastings, and guarded by a mildly ominous suit of armor, the Whisky Attic is so magnificent that you don’t even need to be a whisky lover to appreciate the scope — but it definitely helps.

When you come to Las Vegas, you may feel obligated to try one of the huge souvenir cups full of sugary liquor. But never forget that this city has a sophisticated side too. Sip some of the best whiskey in the world while having a steak or puffing on a cigar, or schedule an off-Strip adventure in the Whisky Attic. For whiskey fans, Las Vegas is like a rare blend with a rich, full finish.



The best things about the new Delano Las Vegas
by Renee LiButti
You’ll never be caught between a rock and a hard place at Delano Las Vegas. But when you enter the stylish new resort, you will have to walk between a divided rock – a 700-million-year-old metaquartzite, to be exact. It stands 10 feet tall and tips the scales at 126,000 pounds. That’s more than 10 large elephants weigh. Perhaps this unique art installation, called “In Between Places,” is meant to symbolize the gargantuan good time you’ll have during your visit.

Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch. But for those who know of and love the Delano hotel in Miami’s South Beach area, the arrival of one on the Las Vegas Strip is a godsend.

Formerly THEhotel, Delano Las Vegas debuted in early September after undergoing a transformation that touched almost every nook and cranny. Located adjacent to Mandalay Bay, this all-suite property is perfect for people who crave exclusivity, but still want to be steps away from the crowds and nonstop action Vegas is revered for.

I had a chance to stay at Delano Las Vegas shortly after the dust had settled. And I liked what I experienced. It felt like a solid beginning for the chic hotel brand here, and I’m not talking about that giant rock now. (Although I could be. Clearly that rock made a big impression on me.)

Here are several other things that piqued my interest at Delano Las Vegas.
The coffees and afternoon tea service at 3940 Coffee + Tea

3940 Coffee + Tea is a walk-up counter with a homey space to hang out in. The “3940” comes from the numerical part of Delano Las Vegas’ address.

Although 3940’s selection of pastries – things like cookies, cupcakes, cake pops and the “doughssant” (yes, you read that correctly and it’s a must for anyone who’s been jonesing for a cronut) – is incredible, the coffees truly set this place apart.

They’re hand-picked and come from exotic places around the world – like Kenya, Ethiopia and El Salvador. There’s even a custom “Delano blend” made from beans grown in Columbia and Guatemala

At 3940 you’ll never end up with a stale cup poured from a pot that’s been sitting for hours. Most of these coffees are served tableside and use a clever brewing technique that combines the best of the filter drip and French press methods. You can really taste the difference.

Along with these coffees of the world, there are some truly divine, dessert-like coffee concoctions at 3940 that could turn a non-coffee drinker into a complete coffee lover. Jelly Doughnut Coffee, anyone? Or how about the S’mores Mocha? I’m not a coffee drinker, but if you’re talking mocha, espresso, milk and marshmallow with a whipped cream and graham topping, then you’ve got my attention (and my heart).

Plus, afternoon tea service is offered at 3940 on weekends from 2 – 4 p.m. Keep your eyes peeled for a four-wheeled cart covered with goodies. You can choose from “Sweet” or “Savory” menus ($20 each) – or get them both for $35. On the sweet side, devour things like white chocolate apricot scones with berry jam and Devonshire cream as well as raspberry Lintzer cookies and Nutella tarts…while the savory indulgences include petite quiche, goat cheese tarts and porchetta crostini.

Of course, afternoon tea is nothing without a cup of the beautiful brew and at 3940 you’ll have a selection of 12 loose leaf teas to pick from. Sip on something traditional like English breakfast tea or try the unconventional mango oolong and organic lychee green teas.

The down-home ingredients at Della’s Kitchen

Della’s Kitchen is where you should go for breakfast or lunch at Delano Las Vegas.

Justin Crowe, the resort’s restaurant manager, said he likes to describe the place as a “historic farmhouse meets urban kitchen.”

But what does that mean? Well, just think of all the latest catch phrases in the healthy food movement. Farm-to-fork. Hormone-free. Chemical-free. Hydroponic. Desert sustainable. Pretty much all of them pertain to Della’s Kitchen.

As many of the ingredients as possible are sourced locally or within the Southwest. Breads and other baked goods come from Las Vegas-based Granello Bakery. A fat happy chicken is a delicious chicken, and Crowe said that Della’s Kitchen gets its poultry from Mary’s Farm in California. The restaurant also gets grass-fed beef from Harris Farm in the Golden State. Several of the cheeses used at Della’s Kitchen come from the Lake Tahoe area. Only a few things – like Manchego and Gruyère, the most famous cheeses of Spain and Switzerland, or British bangers – are imported for authenticity.

Some herbs and vegetables (such as tomatoes) are even grown in a greenhouse on the premises of Mandalay Bay.

So anything you order at Della’s Kitchen will be the best of that particular food you’ve ever had – from the various preparations of eggs Benedict for breakfast to the Kurobuta pork shank, which is braised for 16 hours, and the toasted cheese sandwich (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s favorite meal – and now mine).

The craft cocktails and punch bowls at Franklin

Delano Las Vegas has done the impossible – made its lobby bar cool. Even without the twinkling firefly-esque ceiling sculpture, Franklin inspires buzz.

Not only has it got an eclectic lounge atmosphere, but its menu of craft cocktails goes far beyond what you’d typically find in a bar. The signature drink is the Delano Daiquiri. Made with only three ingredients (Bacardi 1909 Heritage Rum, fresh lime juice and sugar), it seems simple but the sweetly sour taste is mind blowing. The 1944 Classic Mai Tai, Mojito Cubano and Basil Paloma are three other cocktails you’ll struggle not to gulp down too quickly here.

And Franklin has more defining features. Punch bowl service – always great for bringing people together – is offered throughout the lounge. Try the “daily punch,” which is the bartender’s creation. You can get beers on draft or in bottles in a multitude of styles. Plus, all of the wines have been selected exclusively for Franklin and are not available anywhere else in Las Vegas.

The suite experience

Admit it. In your wildest Vegas dreams, you don’t picture yourself living large in a standard hotel room. Who wants the basic bed, cable TV and combined shower/tub setup when they could stay in a suite? It’s not essential to the fantasy, of course – but a suite sure would kick your Sin City visit up a notch.

Delano Las Vegas has 1,117 suites. The “standard” one features a separate bedroom and living room, along with a bathroom so big you could throw a party in it. You’ll also get three flat-screen TVs (yes, there’s one in the bathroom too). Each suite is ridiculously plush, and among the fun details you’ll discover several tributes to FDR. Look for the icebox modeled on his hatbox. And “School of Life” cards are placed upon your bed at arrival and turndown. They bear words of wisdom from famous folks including the 32nd U.S. president, like “Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.”

Best of all: The suites at Delano Las Vegas are designed in such a way that the bedroom is buffered from the hallway by both the living room and bathroom. That cuts down hugely on noise. So whenever you’re trying to catch some Zzz’s, you won’t hear the antics of drunken guests returning from their night on the town…or, who are we kidding, other guests at the resort won’t hear you!
The views from miX

Check out the photos above. To the left is the view from inside miX at Delano restaurant and to the right is the view from outside miX Lounge. Both are simply breathtaking. Helmed by internationally acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse, miX is the perfect combination of culinary art and cutting-edge interior design. Situated on the top floor of Delano Las Vegas, it’s one of our favorite spots in town. And right now, with the weather being so perfect, you should sit out on the balcony for either dinner (be sure to save room for the miX candy bar) or a drink (like the miXtopolitan). The mesmerizing views of the Strip are as good as any show in Vegas.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.