Juniper Lounge in the Park MGM: A Classy Las Vegas Temple to Gin
Love gin and planning on visiting Las Vegas any time soon? Then you should make it a point to visit the newly-renovated Park MGM (formerly the Monte Carlo) and drop by the new Juniper Cocktail Lounge, located just off the casino floor. Not only does the swanky bar have the largest gin collection in town, they’re crafting some truly creative (and truly delicious) cocktails with it.
Juniper is dim and sexy, with long couches and upholstered stools for seating, grouped around small mirrored tables, each adorned with a small lamp. The bar itself is very long, and the back bar is full of illuminated bottles of liquor (primarily gin, naturally). The gold ceiling is bedecked with large gold chandeliers, and the patterned carpet is primarily a dark forest green. The overall vibe is subdued and chill, but there’s a nice energy that kicks into high gear later at night, when bottle service becomes available.
Mixologist Craig Schoettler’s cocktail list is a pleasing mix of old and new, with house-made juices and syrups breathing new life into well-known cocktails and giving new creations a lot to love, and we had a lot of fun sampling them during a recent visit. In the classics department, a standard gin and tonic is given a playful twist with the help of that childhood “fortune teller” paper game that lets guests select a gin and flavor profile; their Ramos Gin Fizz is made according to exacting specifications, with Tanqueray, orange blossom water, lemon, lime, cream, and egg whites coming together in perfect harmony; and a dirty martini is kicked up with the addition of orange bitters, rosemary, and olive foam.
Standouts among the new creations include A Little Birdie (above), made with Bluecoat gin, strawberry, vermouth, and lemon and served in a bird-shaped glass; and the Carnival, with Tanqueray 10, fresh lime, St-Germain, and cotton candy.
Not all the cocktails have gin, however, but the results are just as impressive: The No Judging (above) contains fresh pineapple and lime juices, green Chartreuse, and mint flamed tableside, and served in a pipe-shaped glass; and classics including the Negroni, Manhattan, margarita, and Hemingway daiquiri are made with top-shelf ingredients and are essentially perfect.
Thanks to its Parisian garden-inspired renovation, its new restaurants including Primrose and Bavette’s, and this creative and inviting cocktail lounge, the new Park MGM is definitely worth a visit the next time you’re in Vegas.
The bar visit that was the subject of this review was provided at no cost to the writer.