Las Vegas has emerged as a veritable cocktail capital in the past several years, with cocktail bars of the highest order opening inside just about every one of the Strip’s grand mega-resorts as well as in some unexpected places, like the Downtown Container Park. And no annual event celebrates this cocktail renaissance more than For the Love of Cocktails, an annual gala held on the 64th floor of The Delano in the spaces usually occupied by the sleek Skyfall Lounge and Alain Ducasse’s restaurant Rivea.
We had the opportunity to attend the two most recent galas (this year’s was held on May 18), and we can tell you from experience that it’s a great party. First of all, the space itself is spectacular, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Strip and two terraces. Passed hors d’oeuvres including sliders and caprese skewers complemented a huge spread of Italian meats and cheeses. And as for the cocktails themselves, those were served (in smaller portions than usual, of course) from nearly 40 individual stations, each manned by one of the city’s leading mixologists.
No two cocktails are exactly alike; whereas last year’s cocktails leaned toward the whiskey-forward, this year’s were much lighter, with an emphasis on gin and vodka, tropical fruits, exotic ingredients, and creative garnishes. Highlights from this year’s gala included the Oaxacan Blossom (Volcan de Mi Tierra, orgeat, fresh lime juice, oleo saccharum, sal de gusango, and Jarrito’s grapefruit soda, garnished with a squash blossom); Hey Sandy (rosemary-infused Tito’s vodka, Chareau, lime juice, simple syrup, watermelon puree, and rise Champagne); Amor Es Tesoro (El Tesoro Platinum, passionfruit, Chacho, lemon juice, and chocolate bitters), and Brass Rail (aged rum, DOM, lemon sour, orange bitters, and egg whites.
In this era of mixology being elevated to an art form, cocktails have come a long way from Harvey Wallbangers and Sex on the Beach, and mixologists are using a massive array of ingredients both fresh and bottles to create some magnificent cocktails that can only be found at their respective cocktail bars. But thanks to For the Love of Cocktails, we have the opportunity to sample dozens of them during one fun-filled night.
The event that is the subject of this article was attended at no cost to the writer.