The Cabin in Derry drink as served at the Velveteen Rabbit, 1218 S. Main Street, is a great drink for the holiday season to take a break from shopping.
Cocktails like the pomegranate and prosecco are nice breaks from the holiday overload found at Strip resorts such as the Venetian/Palazzo.
Atomic Liquors, 917 Fremont St., in downtown Las Vegas is a good place to fortify yourself with one of their carefully curated beers while shopping downtown.
The holiday seasons means cocktails. Sure, there’s the convivial imbibing of the expected holiday celebrations. But that is far from the only drinking done during the season of celebration. Sometimes you need a quick one to keep your spirits up and feet moving, or a slow one to relax your soul and appreciate the company.
Not feeling the festivity yet?
Maybe an overwhelming display of top-shelf seasonal kitsch will inspire you. Stop by the holiday display at The Bellagio, with its 50-foot tree, acres of poinsettias and actual-size genuine chocolate house. there’s even a sort of jumbo snowglobe you can stroll through and peek out at the larger-than-life polar bears and reindeer.
To make the experience even more heartwarming, have a drink at the Petrossian or Baccarat Bar inside the resort. Both feature plush seating, golden lighting and a piano player discreetly tinkling the ivories with a little Christmas music. The bright color and bubbles of a Bellagio cocktail are suitably sparkling but, if that seems too fruity and frivolous, the barrel-aged Negroni gives a stronger flavor and hint of oak to the ruby tint and citrus finish.
Need to mainline upscale tourist holiday extravaganza? Cross the Strip to the Venetian (3555 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 702-414-1000), where their Winter Celebration continues. Behold giant shimmery snowflakes, mimes in tinsel and velvet and a giant outdoor skating rink à la Rockefeller Center – although this one has an enormous disco ball instead of a giant Christmas tree.
Inside, the bars are offering themed cocktails, including spice-laced toddies as well as their own pomegranate and Prosecco concoction. I’m not saying you’ll be singing along to the all-pervasive carols, but maybe you won’t flee them quite so fast.
A holiday tradition that definitely incites the need for a cocktail is the dreaded last-minute shopping. Ease into it with a drink at Champagne’s Café (3557 S. Maryland Pkwy., 702-737-1699) beforehand. The red velvet wallpaper and faintly sepia-toned lighting give things a little bit of a retro-Christmas air and the reasonable prices will leave something in your pocket for an extra gift – or another round. Perhaps a White Russian, as smooth and cold as snow, but with a kick like a Rockette in one of those toy solider hot pants costumes.
Put a little Dean Martin on the jukebox, and check your list twice. You forgot to get something for your sister-in-law and your cousin’s youngest kid. No worries: Champagne’s is conveniently right across the street from Boulevard Mall. They’ve even got a crosswalk set up to keep you safe as you scuttle from rattling the ice cubes to running up the plastic.
If you’d prefer to shop local, head downtown, where the Downtown Container Park sells everything from earrings made out of vodka bottles to graffiti art to electric trikes to $200 baseball jackets. First, stop at Atomic Liquors (917 Fremont St., 702-982-3000), which is lit up like Christmas all year long. Fortify yourself with one of their carefully curated beers – chilly weather calls for a good, hearty stout like Old Rasputin or Moose Drool. Then head for the stores; I know you expect Santa’s lap, but also be prepared for the giant, fire-breathing metal cricket
Perhaps your drinking needs are more along the lines of preparing to meet the family you were stuck with by having a quick one with the family you chose. Meet your friends for a quick one between errands and obligations, someplace centrally located and comfortable. The Velveteen Rabbit (1218 S. Main St., 702-685-9645) fits the bill, with oversized, overstuffed seating to accommodate either a tête-à-tête or a gathering that take the field at a foot ball game and a drink selections from a can of domestic beer to custom-designed, multi-ingredient cocktails.
The Moon Is Shining is a perfect holiday drink, spiced with rum and ginger, served in a tiny bottle and topped with a cookie, it’s like what Santa wishes you would leave him. The Cabin in Derry mixes house-made smoked apple bourbon and pine liqueur for a pleasant forest-in-a-glass sensation.
Sit back, relax, skip the shopping and just buy each other cocktails. Clink glasses to Lou Reed, to Nelson Mandela, to Peter O’Toole. Drink to the year that’s passing and the year to come. Drink to whatever day you celebrate, even if it’s just today. Salud. Sláinte. Prost. Kam pai. Cheers. CL