How Do You Determine What A Good Bar Is In Las Vegas?
How do I do it? I try to find a drink that I don’t enjoy and then I ask the bartender to make it for me. I am no longer a fan of the margarita so when someone offers me an expensive drink made by a so-called mixologist I expect to find it intriguing. When that bartender uses Tequila I know that my taste buds might wince with displeasure.
You may ask if it is fair to ask bartenders to have them make me a drink that I do not enjoy strictly to see if it can pass my “hate it” test. In order for me to tell my readers about the various spots to find food, drink and fun things to do in Las Vegas I often have to do things I don’t like. Listen, if I only told you about the stuff that I liked you would only hear about the boring things that I do enjoy. You would be eating pizza, drinking beers and watching hockey your entire Las Vegas vacation…wait, that doesn’t sound so bad.
I find a seat at Vesper Bar at Cosmopolitan hotel and chat up the bartender. He tells me all about what they do and I can sense that he just wants me to tell him what I like so that he can go on about his business. I, as I typically do, tell him to make me what he does best. This is usually like speaking a foreign language to a bartender. It is as if they have no specialty cocktail in their repertoire. They often get frustrated with my non-committal way of ordering a drink. Once again if I get my usual Makers Mark Manhattan will you ever find out about what they really do well?
I explain that I want to be blown away by something that they do well, something that the bartender is proud of. The bartender relents and he goes off to make the cocktail he is sure will blow me away.
The Vesper Bar at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
You can’t miss the bar located near the check-in lobby at Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The mirror tiles on the wall don’t seem out of place in this location that turns a lobby bar into a destination that must be on your list of things to do. The cocktails are takes on the classics and you feel a sense of elegance in the way the respect for the art of the cocktail is presented. Quite honestly, you can ask for your favorite spirit to be mixed into a drink here and you can bet that you will be walking away enlightened with the process and the product that comes back to you.
They specialize in the classic cocktails and feature a mixology program with some talented people doing the shaking and stirring but their list of beers and wines will keep those people in your group satisfied while you journey back in time to an era when a good stiff drink was vital to a good time.
So, the drink comes back to me. The bartender smiles and pushes it over to me ever so slightly so as to not spill it over the rim of the glass. “The Beast” he says proudly.
Three quick sniffs to figure out what he had done for me and I could sense that I was about to be blown away. Sweet, smoky and spicy. When the first bit of liquid dropped onto my tongue I knew it well. The Margarita with a twist. I wanted to “Hate It” instantly. I wanted to be the kid in Baja California who had too much of the gasoline grade Tequila and just spit it out. However, I’m not that guy anymore. I appreciate the structure of a well-executed drink and the complexities that are derived from the right ingredients. “The Beast” turned out to be a fine take on a margarita with a touch of mescal and sprinkling of Serrano Chile to lend both the smoky and spicy flavors to this classic. The Tequila, most likely a reposado, moved the drink from casual and comfortable to upbeat and modern. This was most definitely not the margarita of my youth.
That is the beauty of the Vesper Bar, it draws you in because it has a look that suggests you should have a drink to start your Las Vegas journey and then it sits you down and explains why you chose to head into the Cosmopolitan Hotel in the first place. Just because this bar is right next to the lobby, don’t expect it to be a lobby bar.