Las Vegas Feed

In my latest post at FineCooking.com, I list the recipe for the 23rd and Valencia by Traci Howell of Public House in Las Vegas. Those of you familiar with San Francisco will know that 23rd and Valencia is the location of the bar Beretta, and it turns out Howell adapted the drink from Beretta bartender Ryan Fitzgerald. It contains the lovely combination of Leblon cachaca, St. Germain, citrus, and a rinse of smoky scotch whisky. It tastes like drinking lemonade next to a barbecue. You could drink it by the vat. Get the recipe here. Read more →

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.


The Vanguard Lounge is in old Downtown Las Vegas, accross the street from the Downtown Cocktail Room. I have never been to Downtown but with two bars that makes it worth a hop. Bar Manager Nathan Greene sent me their menu. The menu is below. CLASSIC COCKTAILS WITH A MODERN TWIST…. HOUSE JACK ROSE HOUSE INFUSED SPIKED APPLE BRANDY, SUMAC GRENADINE,MAPLE SYRUP, FRESH LIME$9 HOUSE PERFECT MANHATTAN BULLEIT RYE, DOLIN ROUGE, ST. GERMAIN,CHERRY BARK VANILLA BITTERS, SMOKED ROOBIOS CHAI TEA $10 HOUSE CORPSE REVIVER #2 PERSIMMON-INFUSED BLADE GIN, CLEMENT CREOLE SHRUBB,SMOKED THYME-INFUSED LEMON, COCCHI AMERICANO, PERNOD $10 HOUSE HOT TODDY... Read more →

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.


Last night I helped judge the Auchentoshan Switch competition in Las Vegas. Nineteen bartenders competed for a chance to work with Tony Conigliaro at 69 Colebrooke Row in London for two weeks. They'd submitted videos on YouTube and the top 19 finalists were chosen. (Headshots of most of the bartenders. Note Charles Joly's hand-drawn entry.) In Vegas, in the first round they had to prepare a signature drink with Auchentoshan Three Wood. From those, we had to choose five bartenders to go to the next round. This was really tough to do - the drinks were nearly all amazing. The... Read more →

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.


Last week I helped judge the Bombay Sapphire/GQ Magazine Most Inspired Bartender Competition in Las Vegas. My fellow judges were Tony Abou-Ganim, Francesco LaFranconi, and our host Tyler Florence. This makes me look awfully good in comparison! In the first round (that I did not judge), 46 bartenders from the US and Canada were judged on a single drink in shifts. From these, the top ten were chosen to compete onstage at the XS nightclub at the Wynn Las Vegas. The challenge for the top ten bartenders was a mystery ingredient contest- bartenders had 12 minutes to come up with... Read more →

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.


Usually in cocktail writing we think in terms of microtrends: the latest techniques (barrel aging cocktails, fat-washing), the latest categories (mezcal, pisco), popular flavors or ingredients (falernum, smoke), and the latest bar themes (high-volume cocktail bars, tiki). We don't talk too much about the macro-trends. In my latest post for FineCooking.com, I discuss one of the biggest macro-trends: that cocktails are getting better in general, with fresh ingredients, respect for the classics, and more knowledgeable bartenders. Also, there's a recipe for the Sage 75 from the Vesper Bar at the new Cosmopolitan in Vegas. Read more →

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.


In my last post, I talked about the three tier system in the US and what goes on at the WSWA convention in La Vegas. Now I want to mention how the convention is changing. This was the first year that they invited consumer press (I write for both consumer and trade) to attend, so it was a pleasure to bump into Wayne Curtis who also shared his thoughts on the show. (perhaps the clutziest brand name in the industry, but I like this Irish whisky) Last year was the first year they had a spirits tasting competition at the... Read more →

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.


The WSWA is the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, representing the distribution tier of the booze business. I recently went to the WSWA convention in Las Vegas to check out what's new. As you know, in the US the three-tier system was installed after Prohibition to keep alcohol brand owners from selling directly to consumers and owning bars. In between are the distributors, who get the alcohol from the owners and sell it to bars and restaurants (on-premise venues) or liquor stores (off-premise). There are many small but some very big distributors in different states and regions. In the... Read more →

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.