Strange bedfellows: A Vegas adventure


Ah, Vegas, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… Of course, I can’t tell you exactly what happened on each trip, I was sworn to secrecy upon arrival at McCarran International Airport by a scruffy man who approached me in the men’s room and assured me that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” In retrospect, I probably should have told an adult, but hey, IT’S VEGAS!

Forget the family-friendly image Vegas has been trying to push lately; Sin City is all about indulging your vices. And mine happens to be over-enthusing to my heart’s content.  Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that Vegas is not for everyone, but every alcohol-blooded, booze fan should think of it as Mecca: a holy place that every Enthusiast should pilgrimage to at least once in their lifetime—preferably once a year.

Now, I could regale you with tales of low-budget, ten-to-a-room, Costco-booze fueled expeditions just as easily as I could about comped suite-Dom Perignon affairs; but those are all stories for another time. Today, I want to talk about a common theme to my various Vegas adventures: strange bedfellows. If you’ve already made your pilgrimage to Vegas, I’m sure you can relate; if you haven’t, be forewarned, there’s something about that town that lends itself to heightened “camaraderie” with your fellow Enthusiasts. And it doesn’t always lead to good things—that is, of course, unless you intended to go back to your room with the little old lady who was handing out hooker trading cards by the Planet Hollywood earlier in the evening.

I can say with certainty that my most recent trip to Las Vegas introduced me to the strangest pair of bedfellows I have yet encountered: gin and whiskey … together in one drink.

Our last night in Vegas, we swanked it up a bit and ate dinner at American Fish inside the Aria at City Center. The restaurant was rather nice and the food was delicious, but this isn’t a food or travel blog. What really got my heart pumping was their drink menu. They offered plenty of cocktails, but with an interesting twist. All were pre-Prohibition Era American classics, and two of them caught my eye right away.

Unfortunately, due to rapid consumption of large quantities of the aforementioned cocktails, I can no longer recall the names of these game-changing libations, but I can tell you that their taste was unforgettable. I never thought drinks based on such seemingly contradictory liquors could be so delicious. This went against everything I learned in college about not mixing clear and dark liquors—as well as all of the common sense my taste buds have knocked into me about the flavors of gin and whiskey.

I’m sure there’s a good amount of you reading this with skepticism and thinking, “but Prez, how can we believe you? You’ll drink anything!” True. Impressively true. I wouldn’t trust my own opinion in this case either. But thanks to a wonderful (and wonderfully tipped) waiter, you won’t need to take me at my word. With his assistance, I was able to pilfer their top-secret recipes (not everything that happens in Vegas has to stay there). So brush up on your mixological techniques—fellow enthusiasts, and invite some friends over to wow them with two recipes that prove when even the most unexpected bedfellows come together, amazing things can happen:

[Cocktail #1]

1oz gin (old Tom)
1oz rye whiskey
¾ oz lime juice
½ oz raspberry syrup
1 tsp simple syrup
Shaken over ice and served

[Cocktail #2]

1oz gin (dry)
1oz bourbon
¾ oz lime juice
1 dash bitters
Shaken over ice and served

[Editors note: I was sadly unable to find names for these recipes. If you have come across them in your travels, please comment below!]

Welcome to Las Vegas sign photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Cheap hotel photo courtesy of krystal.pritchett, flickr.
Hooker trading cards photo courtesy of permanently scatterbrained, flickr.