The intoxicatingly nutritious Green Dream at Bar Vdara.
Say you’ve just finished a wonderful meatless meal at the new Japanese restaurant Kumi at Mandalay Bay and you want to follow it with a cocktail in the same (relatively) healthy vein. You could do worse than the Zen Tea cocktail. It’s made with Momokawa Organic Nigori sake and Stoli Vanil, as well as healthy doses of Charbay green tea vodka, green tea Calpico (a yogurtlike Japanese soft drink), and coconut foam. “I created the Zen Tea purposely to marry Nigori sake and green tea in a cocktail,” says Light Group mixologist Michael Monrreal. “Green tea is a great ingredient for cocktails. It’s high in antioxidants and has just enough caffeine to keep you going.”
Kumi is not the only place in town to drink from the produce aisle. At Border Grill, also in Mandalay Bay, you can order the Cabo Rita, a margarita featuring Cabo Wabo reposado tequila and fresh prickly pear purée (fiber! antioxidants!). At Fusion, a Latin mixology bar in Palazzo, the bartenders are known to improvise using fresh veggies (ask them when they’re not slammed).
It makes sense that Aria’s Vdara Hotel & Spa would offer fitness-friendly cocktails. The Green Dream at Bar Vdara incorporates a “green juice” (spinach, kale, ginger, lemons, carrots, and apples) made daily. It’s blended with Wild Turkey American Honey bourbon, yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit), and a “green foam” made from the same juice and a hint of sugar. “The idea was to use a healthy mixer and a fine spirit,” says Michael Vorsanger, director of food and beverage at Vdara. “As a non-gaming, nonsmoking hotel, we have a significant incentive to provide an atmosphere in line with green, organic, and sustainable concepts. So we’ve put together a new cocktail menu that utilizes fresh ingredients and delivers a handcrafted experience.”
The Alligator Pear, served at the Neapolitan, inside Cosmopolitan, features Bacardi rum, fresh avocado, cilantro, and coconut cream, topped with a coconut-ginger foam and hickory-smoked pumpkin seed brittle. Easily outshining chemically flavored whipped-cream vodkas, this dessert in a glass is practically a salad course, too.
Think of it as balancing your naughty with a little bit of nice. Of course, no one is suggesting that you complete your food pyramid with a pomegranate margarita. However, “A drink with muddled fruit topped with fresh fruit is going to provide additional nutrients and antioxidants,” notes registered dietician Jill Nussinow. But she advocates moderation: “The downside I see is that, because the drinks are so tasty, you may want to drink more.”