Tag Archives: U.S. Bartending Guild

Wine-o Oasis in Las Vegas

Finally, it’s Sin City’s’ time- their very own wine-o wonderland has arrived. Why did it take so long in coming to a city that thrives on drinking the morning, afternoon and nighty-nite-nite?  After all, the oasis has been filling parched palates in 63 stores in 11 states. 

Winning the prestigious Beverage Dynamic’s 2008 Retailer of the Year award, Total Wine & More finally trudged  into Las Vegas on March 4, bringing with them 8,000 wines, including 1,100 cabaret sauvignons, 750 chardonnays, 500 merlots, 250 zinfandels and 600 pinot noir varieties- all jam-packed all in a 27,000-square-foot store in Boca Park (730 S. Rampart Blvd.). 

There are even 2,000 kinds of the hard spirits (500 vodkas, 220 scotches and 230 rums, among others) and even 1,000 varieties of beer to take down and pass around. 

That’s enough to keep anybody warm for many a night.   Compliment the experience with one of their 200 high-end cigars and you’ll be feeling no pain. 

Not a wine connoisseur? No problemo.  They have three weekly wine tastings to get you in the groove: noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

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Wynn Las Vegas Encore Named Best Nightclub in U.S.

Barely a year old, the megaclub at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas has been named the No. 1 club in the nation. Sister club Tryst finished fifth. 

The Las Vegas nightclub industry not only swept the first five spots — Tao at The Venetian was second, Pure at Caesars Palace, third; and The Bank at Bellagio, fourth — but almost one-fourth of the Top 100 are Las Vegas nightclubs. 

XS raked in an astounding $70 million. 

The awards will be presented March 8 during the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas. 

“Clearly, Las Vegas maintains its dominance as a nightclub destination,” said David Henkes, vice president of Technomic, the Chicago-based hospitality market research firm that partners with Nightclub & Bar magazine to determine The Top 100.  They provide the industry’s only ranking of leading nightclub, bar and lounge venues based on total revenue. 

Las Vegas has seven clubs in the Top 10. LAX at the Luxor was ninth and Jet at The Mirage was 10th. 

The other Las Vegas nightclubs that made the list: 

11. Lavo at the Palazzo. 12. Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel, now closed.) 13. Moon at the Palms. 14. Ghostbar at the Palms. 16. Drai’s After Hours at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall. 28. Christian Audigier at Treasure Island. 31. The Playboy Club at the Palms. 32. Rumjungle at Mandalay Bay. 36. Rain at the Palms. 37. Blush at the Wynn. 45. Studio 54 at MGM Grand. 49. Krave at Planet Hollywood. 52. Stoney’s Rocking Country. 94. Tabu Ultra Lounge at MGM Grand.

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Super Bowl Parties Bring Out Cheap Drunks

Expect to see free-flowing Patron and Grey Goose at your upcoming Super Bowl party?   You say, “Whatz Dat?”

This year you’ll be lucky to imbibe on wood grain alcohol at your friends’ party.

Americans’ love affair with top-shelf booze apparently has really cooled last year, as recessionary woes took a dramatic toll on high-price tipples.

Although people drank more alcohol, it turned out to be much cheaper brands, according to a report by an industry group.  They also appeared to be more ‘closet’ drinkers, preferring to guzzle more at home and less in pricier bars and restaurants to save money- and, perhaps, to avoid costly drunk-driving arrests.

Industry growth slowed in 2009, with the amount of liquor sold by suppliers up by only 1.4 percent– the smallest hike since 2001.

And the lowest-priced segment, including brands like Popov vodka, reportedly grew the fastest, with volume rising 5.5 percent.  The most expensive brands – think Grey Goose, tumbled a whopping 5.1 percent.

So, better crank up your dusty still- it’s almost Super Bowl time!

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Las Vegas’ “Cocktail Culture” Offers International Stimulus Elixir

The Social Mixology Summer World Tour kicks off their program this month, bringing Las Vegas BarMagic’s cocktail-culture events to cities around the globe, including Manhattan, Aspen, Johannesburg, London and beyond. SocialMixology

As they state on their website: “The premise of Social Mixology is simple- create an interactive experience for the cocktail community to showcase Las Vegas’ best cocktail talent, cocktail bars, and artisan brands in an atmosphere that is a little bit sexy, a little bit laid-back, and little bit fun.” 

“We’ve seen a lot of interest in the program outside Vegas,” says BarMagic co-owner Tobin Ellis, “and it just so happens we had a few clients book us for things out of town, and decided rather then just pause the whole program, we would see if we could take it on the road.”

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Bloody (Mary) Revolution in Las Vegas

One of the fastest emerging beverage trends – at least, a fad – in Las Vegas is the build-your-own-bloody-Mary bar.  Weekly new bars are offering outlets for budding bar chefs to mix and create their own brand of signature brunch cocktails from over 40 ingredients.

Already getting into the spirits- Abbey Road Bar at the Revolution Lounge, Simon’s Restaurant’s Sunday brunches, and also the new Bambu Bar at Mandalay Bay that opens on June 18, providing guests an elegant island feel.

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Need a Cocaine Hit? Try Red Bull!

If all night partying in Sin City and the caffeine and sugar chaser in Red Bull drinks in the wee morning hours doesn’t kill you, maybe the cocaine will. 

Red Bull has long been a preferred drink of choice for Las Vegas partiers, and widely distributed in the United States, either used in mixed drinks or just swigged right out of the can.  That’s why last year Red Bull deemed fit to launch their sister drink, Red Bull Cola, after a splashy Las Vegas launch.  RedBull

It’s a cola-flavored spin-off to the popular Swiss-made Red Bull energy drink, marketing itself as “Strong & Natural,” containing only natural ingredients such as lemon, ginger and kola nut.  Coca-Cola lists only “natural flavors” on the can’s label. The company historically has kept its ingredients a secret- until now. 

The rub is that it also been found to contain coca leaf- coming from the same plant that supplies cocaine.   

“Decocainized coca leaf extracts are used as flavoring in food products around the world and are considered to be safe,” Red Bull said in a released statement, citing a U.S. Food and Drug Administration code that lists decocainized coca leaf as a safe, natural extractive. 

Officials in Germany are not swallowing those assurances. Six German states – half of Germany’s population – have now banned the drink and pulled the can off their shelves after a German health institute recently took a sampling of Red Bull Simply Cola, using a highly sophisticated method of testing. The sample results tested positive for cocaine — albeit a tiny 0.13 micrograms in one can.  Although 12,000 liters would need to be drunk to feel any effect, that was enough to cause concern in Germany, where the country’s strict federal consumer protection agency is doing more tests. 

Red Bull management, based in the Austrian city of Salzberg, counters the allegations saying it’s really not a big deal.  It’s not the white powdery stuff; it won’t get you high; it won’t hurt you. But they “take the German authority’s concerns seriously” and had an independent institute test Red Bull Simply Cola, which found that cocaine was not detectable in the drink.  Furthermore, they said, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment found the drink’s ingredients posed no health risks and no risk of “undesired pharmacological effects including, any potential narcotic effects.” 

Meanwhile, the FDA wasn’t aware of any complaints about the drink, nor does it have plans to order a ban in this country.  “We’re aware of this news report but do not have any additional information at this time,” said FDA spokeswoman Susan Cruzan. 

Bottom’s up!  Try your gambling luck and gulp Red Bull Simply Cola’s in Las Vegas like water!

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World’s Largest Martini Prepares for Las Vegas Christening

Las Vegas-based Opportunity Village is teaming with Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas to create the city’s largest gin-based martini, The Opportunitini.  The unveiling event is Tuesday, April 28, at 6 p.m. in front of Hard Rock Cafe’s signature guitar martiniin Las Vegas at 4475 Paradise Road. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will be on-hand with his bevy of Vegas showgirls and world-class entertainment to ceremoniously top off the 20-gallon martini that will then be served to guests at the ceremony.     

The Opportunitini is the brainchild of mixologists at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Cafe and will be placed on their menu for the entire summer.  Proceeds from the sales of the drink will benefit the men and women at Opportunity Village, which is celebrating its 55th year of providing vocational training, social skills, job training and placement and opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities in Las Vegas.   

“We are very excited about partnering with the Hard Rock Cafe to unveil The Opportunitini,” says Linda Smith, Chief Development Officer at Opportunity Village.  “The record-breaking attempt promises to be an exciting event and the drink will be the perfect adult thirst quencher during those hot summer months.”

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