Vegas mixologists anticipate spring with seasonal cocktails that go lighter, fresher.
Spring is a time for rebirth and reawakening, so what could be more appropriate than a lively fruit-based cocktail like Franklin’s Mr. Hyde?
The changing of the seasons brings, among other things, the chance to change your cocktail “wardrobe.” Warm, rejuvenating spring days encourage us to switch out whiskey for gin or tequila, to lighten up the mixers and incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables. While not exactly a juice cleanse, spring drinking does have the potential to be restorative.
“A good spring cocktail for me would be something that reminds me of spring itself,” says Paul Sauter, head bartender at Tippling Bros., an exclusive beverage partner of Mercadito (11011 W. Charleston Blvd., 702-979-3609) at Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Summerlin. “Bright, light, a touch of fruit, perhaps. Bubbles and fruit are fresh and enjoyable.” For spring, Mercadito offers the V-9: tequila, a “superjuice” (a blend of kale, cilantro, pine-apple, and ginger root), lime juice, and agave nectar
Highlighting spirits from south of the border is also on the minds of Pamela and Christina Dylag, owners of the sultry cocktail lounge Velveteen Rabbit (1218 S. Main St., 702-685-9645). They created Meet the Master, a cocktail containing Nevada-based Mestizo mezcal along with apricot liqueur, fresh lemon juice, honey syrup, egg whites, and Angostura orange bitters, served in a coupe glass. “We had in mind the spring equinox, a very celebrated event in Mexico,” says Christina. “This is a light libation with a deep, sensual sweetness from the honey and apricot.”
Drawing inspiration from other cultures (and even other worlds) seems to be preoccupying many Las Vegas mixologists this spring. At Giada, inside The Cromwell (702-777-3777), you’ll find the vitamin C–rich Destroyer (as in “Conan the”), a blend of Clase Azul reposado tequila, fresh orange and tangerine juices, and basil-infused simple syrup. Consider it an unusual marriage of the margarita and mimosa, ideal for brunch (or defeating monsters). Meanwhile, Springtime in Kyoto livens up the menu at Nobu (Caesars Palace, 702- 785-6628). Created by bartender Toshi Saito, this combo of vodka, sake, ginger liqueur, strawberry reduction, yuzu juice, egg whites, gyokuro green tea–infused simple syrup, and sakura (cherry blossom) extract may seem confusing, but the final result is as delicate and restorative as a Japanese spring day.
At the stylish lobby bar Franklin at the Delano Las Vegas (702-632-9444), barman Dennis Lofland has devised a great opportunity to serve up fresh ingredients and bubbles. “I like my spring cocktails to impart a feeling of vitality,” he says. “They should be refreshing and bright.” Fitting that bill is the Mr. Hyde, a tantalizing combination of Oxley gin, elderflower liqueur, and passion fruit, pineapple, and lemon juices, with kaffir lime leaves as garnish.
“Spring is about reawakening—a new life, a new beginning,” says Mercadito’s Sauter. “Why can’t your cocktail make you feel the same way?”