The holidays mean a special round of new cocktails for everyone.
Double Barrel Roadhouse’s Winter Bliss is a picture-perfect holiday cocktail, topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon and cloves.
The weather is generally pretty nice in Vegas during the holidays, which is why you’re here and not in, say, Minnesota. Still, this isn’t poolside margarita season. The holidays—from Christmas and Hanukkah through New Year’s Eve and all the way to the Chinese Lunar New Year, come February—are a perfect excuse to warm up, indulge your sweet tooth, and savor the smells and tastes of the season.
Gondoliers aren’t traditionally gift givers in Italy (they leave that job to Befana, a magical old woman with a broomstick). But at the 11 bars and lounges at Venetian, adults can get in the holiday spirit with the Gondolier Bianco, an indulgent blend of white chocolate liqueur, white crème de menthe, white crème de cocoa, white chocolate syrup, and cream, all shaken into a candy cane–rimmed martini glass decorated with chocolate syrup for contrast. Buon Natale!
At Franklin in the new Delano Las Vegas, cooler weather and the desire for something rich, dark, and sweet collude elegantly as a nightcap in the SNM cocktail. A custom, hand-selected Mount Gay Black Barrel rum (a blend of aged column and double pot distillates finished in heavy-char bourbon barrels) spices up Marie Brizard white crème de cacao, fresh lime juice, and brown sugar cinnamon syrup. Served in vintage glassware in a sedate, stylish enclave off the lobby, it’s the perfect drink to wrap up a holiday dinner or show.
Even if there isn’t snow on the ground, the scents of the season abound at the bar. At the newly opened Chocolate Bar inside New York-New York, you’ll happen upon the Peppermint Pattie martini, featuring Absolut Vanilla vodka, white crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and fresh mint. Or try the Winter Bliss at Monte Carlo’s Double Barrel Roadhouse, a picture-perfect combination of Zaya rum, Bulleit bourbon, ginger syrup, lemon juice, and frothy milk, topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon and cloves.
Bellagio is an ideal spot to take a break from navigating the crowds and savor some timeless drinks that every holiday reveler should sample. Swing by Petrossian for a Cable Car (spiced rum, orange curaçao, and lime juice, with a cinnamon sugar rim), a modern classic created in 1996 by celebrated Vegas mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. Then warm your toes with the hotel’s own Bellagio Nog, which wintertime guests of the hotel and casino have loved for years. This is the real deal, turning egg yolks, milk, cream, spiced rum, Cognac, sugar, and nutmeg into spicy, creamy bliss. And if you’re glittering and dancing at Hyde Bellagio, consider the Cioccolato Bianco (Godiva White Chocolate liqueur, Tuaca orange liqueur, chocolate bitters, and cocoa powder) instead of visions of sugarplums.
When it comes to New Year’s Eve, remember it’s a chaotic night and many of the hot spots are full to bursting with partiers, according to local drink-slinger Tobin Ellis of the consulting firm BarMagic. “Don’t expect to bar-hop on December 31,” he says. “Imagine Times Square, only 19 times larger and 40 degrees warmer.”