Where to Enjoy the Finest Cocktails in Las Vegas

Written by Maria Taylor
Above photo by Ash EdmondsCC0

Las Vegas is the perfect place to enjoy the most innovative and luxurious cocktails in the state of Nevada. Despite its location within the Mojave Desert, this is no dry island, but instead, is overflowing with fantastic places to sample expertly crafted drinks with unusual ingredients to leave your taste buds tingling. Here we’ll look at the best places to visit while you’re in Sin City, including a few of the most inventive cocktail menus and bars around.

Las Vegas, the Live Entertainment Capital of the World | Las Vegas Sunrise by Daniil VnoutchkovCC0

Entertainment in Las Vegas goes much further than the casinos; the city is often called the Live Entertainment Capital and with good reason. Here you can enjoy a world-famous show like the Cirque du Soleil, see an international superstar like Celine Dion or marvel at top-quality magicians as they perform logic-defying acts. While it’s worth checking out what’s on before you arrive to make sure you snag tickets for the big shows, it’s also a good idea to see what tickles your fancy once you’re here. After all, with this guide, you’ll be sorted with where to enjoy a cocktail or two, so why not investigate the entertainment on offer for the evening?

Velveteen Rabbit
The Velveteen Rabbit in the Arts District of the city is the invention of sisters Pamela and Christina Dylag. Raised in the Mojave, the two sisters chose to travel the world as adults before returning to their hometown armed with the knowledge and experience to open a unique craft cocktail and beer bar. Their creation boasts a seasonal menu, incorporating both fresh produce and homemade ingredients, with contemporary flavors and taste combinations. I would recommend trying the delicate Spa Day, which fuses vanilla vodka with lavender gin, chareau and lemon curd — delicious! Or if you fancy something a little more out there, try the Bong & a Schlitz cocktail, which incorporates bizarre ingredients like butter and cream cheese-washed bourbon, blueberry-hemp syrup and American lager. What a treat!

Atomic Liquors
Atomic Liquors has the distinguished title of the oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas, with a dedicated clientele and an enticing menu to keep bringing in curious new customers. Originally named Virginia’s Café in 1945, Atomic Liquors has since grown into an established bar serving lip-smacking sour beers along with a selection of exclusive cocktails. Although people used to drink here while watching nuclear bombs at the nearby Nevada Test Site, now they come for the expertly crafted cocktails. My personal favorites are the aptly-named F-Bomb, made with Fireball cinnamon whiskey, Fernet and Atomic energy drink — guaranteed to blow your socks off!

Commonwealth
With a mighty 6,000 square feet of space decorated with a pre-Prohibition theme and a secret speakeasy bar hidden within, Commonwealth is an experience! Thankfully, their drinks more than live up to the showmanship of the décor with originals from mixologist Juyoung Kang on the menu alongside classics like the Sazerac and the Negroni. A stand-out choice for me is the Tam-Tam, which combines cacao, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur as well as the classic combination of salt, tequila and lime to create a jaw-dropping sensation.

I think that we can all agree, Vegas is a city that can show you a good time. However, it sometimes has a reputation for being loud and tacky without much space for class and craftsmanship. Hopefully, with this short guide, I’ve convinced you that top-quality cocktails abound in this desert city and that it is well worth checking out!


Click for Susie’s Las Vegas Travel Guide

Get Buzzed by the Buzz Button

Have you heard of the new mouth numbing cocktail garnish cursing cocktails across the country? It’s the Szechuan button—also called the toothache plant, buzz button, and electric daisy—a yellow flower that can alter your tastebuds and numb your mouth, even with just a wee nibble.

The tongue-numbing garnish has even made its way to the menu at  TGI Fridays on its Blackberry Buzz Rita. The cocktail itself is refreshing, perfect for the Texas heat, but the buzz button gives the margarita some edge. Take a sip and enjoy the cocktail’s bright flavors, then take a nibble of the button. You’ll notice a slightly bitter flavor, then your tongue will tingle slightly. Once you feel a little prickle, take another sip of your cocktail and notice how the flavors evolve.

Beyond the Blackberry Buzz Rita, the rest of new TGIF cocktail menu* has a few unique offerings, from cocktails that glitter and change color to one that they just light on fire. Because, why the f**k not? TGIF’s bartenders go through a rigorous training program and are encouraged to continue learning, exemplified by their annual World’s Bartender Championship, so it follows that they try to push the envelope. Following the 2017 trend, TGIF even offers a version of a frosé made with rosé and strawberry. (If anything, it’s perfectly Instagrammable.) Hurry in, because these new cocktail will only be available for a limited time.

TGIF, as always, offers their well-known bar bites, juicy burgers, and nostalgic broccoli cheese soup. (Damnit, I’m craving BCS now!) Their new offerings let you one up yourself with the option to add a second meat to your dinner. I mean … who wants to choose just one meat when you can add on a steak? I enjoyed the ribs this trip for the first time, and they literally fell off the bone, proving that TGIF still gets it done in the kitchen.

Stop in and get buzzed by the buzz button before it’s off the menu!

These cocktail are only available at select TGI Fridays locations.


This is a sponsored post paid for by TGI Fridays.
Thanks to Kathryn H. for the hand modeling!

Picnic with Ponies

What goes better with sunshine than a delicious rosé cocktail and a spectacular view of horses galloping in a field? I’m a little hard pressed to come up with anything else. That’s why I visited Black Star Sport Horses in Rockwall, Texas with a bottle of rosé in-hand!

Black Star Sport Horses is a full service training, show, and sales facility featuring an International Federation of Equestrians trainer. They offer riding lessons for all ages and skill levels, so no worries if you don’t know the tail end from the nose, they’ll help you figure it out!

The rosé I brought along is the Inspiration Rosé from Château de Berne,  a 1,235 acre vineyard in Provence, France originally built by the Romans. On the CDB property is an 18th century 5-star château-style hotel, a Michelin Star restaurant, and an award-winning spa and visitor center. Oh, and they make some really fantastic wine. I’ll take a one-way ticket, please!

 

Château de Berne Inspiration Rosé is one of three bottles from the Provencal range of classics, only recently brought to the US. This dry rosé, with fresh strawberry, cherry, cranberry, and pomegranate notes has been awarded the 2018 Bronze by Texsom International Wine Awards and the 2018 Silver by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of American Competition. At 12.5% alcohol, it pairs well with light cheeses and a side of fruit.

The day we made it out to Black Star, it was pretty warm, so we decided to batch out a rosé cooler to cool us off a bit more. Picnics can also get messy, so it’s best to batch any cocktails out before heading out.

SUMMER PEACH ROSÉ COOLER
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups frozen peaches
4 cups rosé (I chose Chateau de Berne’s Inspiration Rosé)
1 liter club soda
Rosemary for garnish

Puree the peaches with water and sugar.


CHATEAU DE BERNE
Château de Berne
Facebook | Instagram
Featured: Inspiration Rosé, ~$20

BLACK STAR SPORT HORSE FARM
BlackStarSportHorses.com
Facebook
5565 FM 549, Rockwall, TX 75032

High Five on the New Cocktail, High Fives

High Fives Dallas has one of my favorite items in the city … at least on a Sunday. And the next time you have a Chick-fil-A craving on a Sunday, you’ll be glad you read this post. The nice people in the High Fives kitchen created a sandwich that will hit the spot for us CFA lovers, a fried chicken sandwich on a white bun with pickles … brined in pickle juice that’s dubbed (you guessed it) the Sunday Sandwich.

That sandwich alone is enough to get me to visit this East Henderson spot, but I’d that they recently released a new, super-Instagrammable cocktail menu, and it had me intrigued. So, naturally, I packed up my camera and made my way to High Fives. Luckily, one of my friends stepped up to the plate and helped me sample some of them. We tried out the Starry Night, Ducktails, Slap Happy, and Fortune Teller.

While the drinks are all good (in a busy-on-the-weekend-and-every-day-at-happy-hour kind of way), each definitely has a gimmick. (Think pitch black cocktails with edible stars, slap bracelets, and custom “fortunes” in your cocktail.)

Starry Night: Stoli Blueberi, Saint-Germaine, lemon juice, simple syrup, activated charcoal*, edible stars

Ducktails: Stoli Raspberi, Peach, and Blueberi, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, Sprite, a rubber ducky

Slap Happy: Bombay Sapphire Gin, watermelon, simple syrup, lemon juice, watermelon slice, slap bracelet

Fortune Teller: Patrón Tequila, brown sugar pineapple jalapeño simple syrup, lime juice, Squirt, Tajín, mini scroll

If a cute cocktail isn’t enough for you, they have a full bar, local beers, etc., and the food is no slouch … even beyond the Sunday Sandwich. The menu offers some comfort foods with slight twists like their Corn Dog Bites with jalapeño batter and Fried Brussels Sprouts. If you’re anything like me and you like variety, their Dip Board is the way to go. Queso, red and green salsa, guacamole, and hummus served with crostini, chips, and veggies—a bit of something for everyone.

Stop in for some bar games (corn hole, the ring game, etc.) and some cocktails during happy hour Monday-Friday, 4-7pm or all day Tuesday for $5 sandwiches, beer, wine, and cocktails! High Fives is mostly outside (2/3 of the seating is on the patio), so make sure you’re prepared to be outside, unless you can stand the Texas heat!


HIGH FIVES DALLAS
highfivesdallas.com
804 McMillan Avenue (Knox/Henderson)
(214) 821-5555
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

*Know what you’re drinking when you see a pitch black cocktail! Activated charcoal can render medication taken

Hudson House Brunch

The first time I visited Hudson House, I decided it’d be my new Friday afternoon martini spot the weeks I don’t go in for the pork chop special at Perry’s Steakhouse. This seafood spot in the Park Cities is a gem. While life usually gets in the way (of both), I have found another brilliant time to visit Hudson House … brunch.

The menu is American with an East Coast flair, and the spot itself is adorably Nantucket—expect plenty of heavy wood and tile with brass accents in this open restaurant with plenty of natural light. The staff is friendly and very happy to help your table decide on a spread. We gave the delightful bartender on the day how many dishes we’d like and what sort of items we enjoy and he sent out what he recommended. And I’ll tell you, that’s the way to do it.

Their cocktail options are on point. Mimosas and bellinis for $5, cocktails for $8-11, and their pièce de résistance, THE Royal Bloody—their original bloody with bleu cheese olives, a huge shrimp, and an oyster. (It’s a little steep for a brunch cocktail, but it’s a real photo opp. If I had it to do over again, though, I’d opt for the $20 bottle of prosecco. What a damn good deal, right?! I went for a bloody mary followed by a gibson … because vodka is breakfast liquor and they make a mean martini.

Per the food, you’ll find the usual trappings of a brunch menu—toasts, egg dishes, and some sweet options. And, really, everything is quite visually appealing. (You’ll want to ‘gram most of what hits the table.) Their toasts—avocado, country ham, and salmon—are delicious and the bread is perfectly crispy. If you’re into a benedict situation, ops for one of their three options—one being lobster, and damn, was it good. The eggs were prepared perfectly and the lobster was tender.

If you’re looking for something on the healthier side, they offer oatmeal and granola bowls along with a Power Breakfast (poached eggs, sliced avocado, maple bacon, and berries). We skipped those options and went for oysters instead. They do oysters well here. All East Coast options, and all listed on a board with descriptions. My favorite part of the presentation was that they actually mark which are which with colored picks and a color-coded menu. I hate it when I order a couple different kinds and have to guess which is the super salty one my neighbor prefers.

Stop in for a visit and you can enjoy an entire day in walking distance. Grab brunch at Hudson House, catch a movie at Inwood Theater, maybe a foot massage … sounds like a brilliant day to me.


HUDSON HOUSE
hudsonhousehp.com
4448 Lovers Lane (Park Cities)
(214) 583-2255

Four New Dallas Bars

Written by Alan James of Dallas Limousine

Here are four of the newest bars and restaurants to grace the Dallas night life scene. Whether you’re looking for an impressive selection of wine or crafted cocktails, there’s a little something for everybody to enjoy from this list. If you plan on drinking in Dallas, be sure to think about your mode of transportation. Instead of going through the process of ordering a new ride share service with every change of location, consider a limousine or party bus. It’s especially great for groups, as the spacious interiors offer the perfect setting for socialization. For more information, head over to dallaslimo.com.

SIXTY VINES
500 Crescent
Sixty Vines just opened their second location in Uptown Dallas! If you’ve been to their Plano location, you already know their wine selection is high quality. There is a mimosa bar here, frozen rose slushies, and beer for those who aren’t big wine drinkers. The meat and cheese platter is the perfect companion to a few glasses of wine here, so be sure to consider checking this spot out when you’re in the area.

ALICE DALLAS
1623 N Hall St
Head over to East Dallas to enjoy this Pan Asian cocktail bar with a subtle 80’s aesthetic complete with a disco ball. The food is in the style of tapas, so it’s the perfect spot to enjoy drinks and appetizers in a fun environment. Some of the popular dishes include the calamari, crab dip, steamed pork buns, and the meatballs.

RUINS
2653 Commerce St
In the heart of the Deep Ellum neighborhood you will find Ruins, a newly opened Mexican restaurant and bar. We love their huge outdoor patio and friendly service. . Their ceviche is notably fresh, made with red snapper and jalapenos! When you consider their authentic menu and inventive cocktails including various mezcals, this spot is a no brainer in all aspects

TACO DINER
7150 Skillman St
Taco Diner is a local expert in all things taco! There are two other locations in Plano and Irving, but this is the newest addition in the Lake Highlands area. From brisket to fried shrimp, nearly every type of meat is available in a fresh taco on their menu. Customers love their interesting Jalapeno Agave Margarita and Cocktails De La Casa adorned with fresh fruit.

How to Host the Perfect #TwistedTailgate

Tailgating is one of America’s most enjoyable pastimes. I personally went to a college where tailgating (at the time) was more of a thing than the football games themselves. That said, we saw some over-the-top tailgates, but nothing compares to the fun I had a few weekends ago with Twisted Tea. An inflatable cornhole game the size of a queen mattress (still bummed I didn’t get to jump on it … maybe next time), a tricked-out RV with a rooftop perfect for watching the NASCAR cars whiz by, and a fridge stocked to the brim with Twisted Tea—now, that’s a good way to tailgate.

So, one may ask, what are the tailgate essentials? I’m here to tell you a few things I learned from the tailgate pros with Twisted Tea.

COLD DRINKS

… in this case Twisted Tea!

A wise man once told me that, to host a great party, all you need is cold drinks and music and “people won’t notice the rest of is missing”. While I can only partly agree with that, he has a point. Having plenty of drinks on-hand (and Ubers at the ready) can make any tailgate feel like a true party.

(The Twisted Tea tailgate I attended at Texas Motor Speedway had coolers (plural) full of different flavors of Twisted Tea—traditional, half and half, and raspberry—a little something for everybody. And everyone was happy. Who wouldn’t be content enjoying the refreshing taste of the best selling hard iced tea in The States?)

#PROTIP from Twisted Tea: is to always make sure you keep your Twisted Tea cold for your guests!

GAMES

Cornhole, ladderball, wizard staff … we seem to be able to make a game of anything these days. Make sure to give your fellow tailgaters a couple options to keep them busy until game (or race) time.

FOOD

… Everything’s better (and more twisted) in Texas

A tailgate needs grub. Not frilly food—grub. While it’s nice to bring chicken salad on endive leaves … a hot dog will always taste better while pregaming. It’s science. Think ribs, burgers, tacos, brisket … you get it.

A few weekends ago, we were lucky enough to have a tailgate pro at the grill for us at the Twisted RV. Casey Webb, the new host of “Man vs. Food”, treated us to some delicious brisket tacos. He has been working with Twisted Tea to put together some twisted recipes that are perfect for tailgates. While we had brisket tacos, the Twisted Tea website has recipes that you can recreate at your own tailgate this summer – check them out here.


So, now that you heard a few things from my experience with Twisted Tea, what’s your next tailgate going to look like? Show Twisted Tea how you do it by submitting a picture  by uploading to Twitter or Facebook for the chance to win your very own #TwistedTailgate. Like, a serious tailgate with the Twisted Tea tricked-out RV. Take a picture and submit it, y’all … just make sure to invite me to your badass tailgate when you win.
Promotion details: 
twistedtea.com/race-day/twisted-tailgate

Join Twisted Tea for an upcoming tailgate! Check out the dates for upcoming tailgate parties on their website.

Picture courtesy of Twisted Tea

#UnwindWithATwist #TwistedTailgate #AD  #Sponsored
***I was compensated for this article by Twisted Tea***

Essential Liquors for Your Summer Cocktails and Drinks

Written by Matt Smith

Summer is a great time to sit out in the garden, enjoy long, cool drinks, and get together with your friends and family. Many of us love having people over to sit in the garden, enjoy some drinks and food, and just spend quality time chilling out in the warm weather. Service up cold, refreshing drinks including cocktails is ideal for the summer months and will enable your visitors to enjoy a real treat as well as a refreshing drink. Even if you don’t have guests over, you and your family can enjoy sipping cold drinks outdoors as you soak up the summer sunshine.

If you plan to make cocktails and long alcoholic drinks with mixers, it is well worth getting your home bar stocked up. Of course, it wouldn’t be practical to stock it up with every spirit and liquor on the market. However, there are some key ones that you should invest in so that you can create some of the most popular summer drinks.

Alcohol Essentials for Your Home Bar this Summer

If you want to make sure you’re prepared when it comes to creating cocktails and summer drinks for your loved ones or for yourself, here are some of the top alcohol types of purchase for your home bar:

Vodka
From a relaxing vodka and tonic through to cocktails such as the Pornstar Martini cocktail, vodka is definitely one of the top choices for your home bar. This spirit will no doubt feature in many of the cocktails that you make at home. Even better, you can freeze vodka so when you serve it up it will add an extra touch of ice-cold refreshment to the drink you’re making.

Gin
This spirit is another summer bar staple if you want to be able to create sumptuous drinks for yourself or others. Of course, it plays a big part in the classic gin and tonic but you can also use it for creations such as the Tom Collins, the Rickey, and the Pink Lady amongst many others.

White Rum
If you are planning to make some exotic drinks to enjoy this summer, make sure you have a quality bottle of white rum on hand. Drinks such as mojitos and daiquiris are very popular during the warmer months so you will need a touch of the Caribbean to create one that is authentic and delicious for your visitors.

Tequila
Tequila Slammers, Tequila Sunrise, and Margaritas all require one thing to make them perfect—tequila! Invest in a bottle of good tequila for your summer home bar because there is no doubt you will be creating plenty of great summer cocktails that will require it over the course of the summer season.

Bourbon
One more excellent addition to your summer bar is a bottle of quality bourbon. Cocktails such as the Whiskey Smash are great for those summer evenings out on the patio. Or you can keep it simple and just add soda and ice for a cooling drink.

With all of these bottles to hand, you won’t go wrong this summer when it comes to cocktail creations and long drinks.

susie knows all things boozy in dallas …