The Spirited Traveller: "Comfort cocktails" in Las Vegas

Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:34pm GMT

The ''Berry-Politan'' cocktail, created by Las Vegas mixologist Patricia Richards, is shown in this undated photograph. REUTERS/Food Enquirer/Edip Aral/Handout

The ''Berry-Politan'' cocktail, created by Las Vegas mixologist Patricia Richards, is shown in this undated photograph.

Credit: Reuters/Food Enquirer/Edip Aral/Handout

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(Reuters.com) - Whether headed to Las Vegas for a business convention or bachelorette party, Vegas thrill-seekers are legendary in their pursuit of flash and excitement.

However, that doesn't necessarily extend to the drinks - at the bar, the objective is to make guests feel comfortable, even as they push limits at the poker table.

"There is no ‘iconic' drink in Las Vegas," says resident mixologist Patricia Richards. "The world visits Las Vegas, so people like things that are familiar, or somewhat familiar, and cocktails that are not too ‘geeked out.'"

In other words, classics like the Mojito, Margarita and Cosmopolitan are top Vegas tipples. However, Richards adds that if she had been asked the same question three years ago, she would have selected Grey Goose with Red Bull as the cocktail of choice.

Along the glittery Vegas strip, most of the action takes place within the enormous hotel complexes which encompass casinos, entertainment venues, and more bars, restaurants and cocktail lounges than anyone could tackle in a single visit.

For business travellers, Richards recommends the Parasol Up and Parasol Down bars (both at the Wynn, www.wynnlasvegas.com <www.wynnlasvegas.com>). Food & Wine Magazine also selected Parasol Down as one of its "50 Best Bars in America," due in large part to Richards' drink list. The two-tiered bar features large inverted parasols and nightly shows projected on to the "Lake of Dreams" waterfall.

Elsewhere, Richards notes The Chandelier (<bit.ly/f4NK43>) at the Cosmopolitan as "a bar that will impress," thanks to thousands of crystals artfully hung around the drinks area to glamorous effect, as well as chilled "ice bars" like Minus 5 (<bit.ly/eRQmgK>) at the Mandalay Bay.

Take refuge from the cheery chorus line of slot machines on the Strip, and join the local crowd in a quieter, darker atmosphere at the Downtown Cocktail Room (<thedowntownlv.com/>) (best cocktail name ever: "Don't Fig With Me") or Herbs & Rye (<www.herbsandrye.com/>).

Alternatively, for kitschy escapism, Frankie's Tiki Room (<frankiestikiroom.com/>) has a cult following for its tropical drinks served in tiki-inspired vessels. A bonus: This may be the only 24-hour tiki lounge in America.

Even if you're a die-hard whiskey drinker, no one will know if you indulge in the escapism of a fruity Cosmo while you're in town. After all, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

RECIPE: Berry Politan

Courtesy of Patricia Richards

According to Richards, Cosmopolitans and twists on the classic Cosmo are big sellers at her Las Vegas bars. Here's one of her original variations.

1 ¾ oz. Ciroc Red Berry Vodka

1/2 oz. Cointreau Liqueur

1/2 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

3/4 oz. White Cranberry Juice

1/4 oz. Simple Syrup

Combine the above ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and shake well to chill. Strain into a chilled martini/cocktail glass.

Garnish with one fresh raspberry, one fresh blackberry and one slice fresh strawberry, dropped into cocktail.

(Kara Newman is the author of "Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails", available <here>. The opinions expressed are her own.) (Editing by Peter Myers)

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