The Verbena is “The Flower Drink”
Step up to the Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and ask for their most popular drink. You are served what most people refer to as “The Flower Drink,” but you should know that what you are having is the Verbena. And, it’s important to note that although it has a bit of a fun following, it is a very good cocktail. One more thing, you’ll probably be asked, by the bartender, to walk up or down to Level 1.5, because that is where the magic happens with this cocktail. Chandelier 1.5, as in that level of the Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan hotel that is between the casino and the 2nd floor.
What the bartender might not tell you about this award-winning bar is that this level is where the experience is. Level1.5 at the Chandelier Bar is where you go to have a cocktail because you enjoy the complete sensory experience that can come from a properly made cocktail. No amount of descriptive conversation from a person behind the bar will prepare you for the full blown ride your taste buds will experience.
That’s the Chandelier 1.5 at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.
Mariena Mercer tells a few stories that explain her motivation and inspiration when creating drinks at the Cosmopolitan. She’s the lead mixologist on the property and is responsible for what is happening behind the bars of the resort that features plenty of opportunities to experience top-notch cocktails made by passionate bartenders. From Bond to The Vesper the culture of the cocktail is one to be sought after at Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The cadence in her voice suggests that she sees something special in the chemistry of the spirits she is so fond of. She muses about her grandmother and the drink that was inspired by memories of family dinners. I almost want to give her hug and ask her to take me home for a big fall celebration that includes big beefy stews and light, airy desserts. The cocktails at Chandelier 1.5 each have some distinct quality that comes from thought out approaches matching a setting or idea with a flavor profile. The seasonal list of drinks is so enticing that you could easily make the Chandelier Bar the focus of your quarter pilgrimage to Las Vegas.
On a recent visit, my senses were pleased with a cocktail reminiscent of Thai Food in a glass crossed with a sweet dessert. I was taken to a midnight movie with flavors of popcorn amidst the big screen. Mercer described a camping experience through a cocktail that had smoke lingering in the air and then dazzled me with an Old Fashioned title the “Infinite Playlist” that would be perfect for a man but was much better for a woman.
I would not fall in love with any one cocktail at Chandelier Bar Level 1.5 because the menu does change and it would be a shame to miss what was on the radar for the coming season. However, if you need consistency in your drinks you’ll try and love the Verbena.
The Verbena will be consistently found at Chandelier Bar 1.5 but you will not find it on the menu. You’ll have to ask for it by name or ask them for the flower drink. This is a sensory explosion. You’ll be asked to chew a flower, “Buzz Button” (actually, Szechuan Button) and in an instant your senses are heightened. Your mouth lights up like the Las Vegas strip at night and your taste buds are aroused like a teenage boy watching Pheobe Cates walk out of the pool in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Too old of a reference?).
What you are experiencing is a chemical reaction in your mouth that activates everything to help you taste this cocktail with such increased vigor that you will be rendered speechless. As make your way through the cocktail the flavors change, and the stimulation lessens but it is worthy of a few repeat visits to the bar.
It’s the most popular drink at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas yet it is not even on the menu, it is a take on a Margarita with an extra flash of zest that comes in the form of lemon verbena and ginger. Drop in some yuzu juice and kaffir leaves, and you have a cocktail that speaks to the intrigue and curiosity that should dictate how you enjoy a good drink. This the definition of a destination cocktail.
Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan is open daily.