Las Vegas: The Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental
Hidden away on the 23rd floor at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, the Mandarin Bar isn’t your typical bar on the Vegas strip. First, the views are stunning and it’s the perfect sort of place to start your evening or for a nightcap before bed. They’re only open until 1 a.m. (2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays).
We arrived early so we were able to see the sun set and the room’s energy changes as the hours pass. You might want to start your night off with the lighthearted Elderflower Smash. The Asian flavors profile of the Bombay Sapphire East gin combines with the elderflower liqueur, St. Germain. It’s a dainty sipper as you gaze out the clear windows.
Elderflower Smash – Bombay Sapphire East gin, St. Germain, mint, lemon, bitters
We had a couple of snacks while we were there. I tried the cool BBQ which includes an avocado roll over poke and grapefruit sorbet that are plated on top of a box. It is indeed cool as the server slowly pours water into the box and fog from the dry ice snakes its way out of the box. It’s dinner and a show!
I started out with the Harvest Moon as always in the mood for whiskey. The Mandarin Bar takes rye whiskey that’s been finished in a Caribbean rum cask and stirs it up with Drambuie, a Scotch and honey liqueur plus an amaro. It’s definitely my sort of brown, bitter, stirred cocktail.
Harvest Moon – Angel’s Envy Caribbean rum cask finish rye whiskey, Drambuie, Vecchio Amaro del Capo
My friend had the Harmonious Pear, a tequila drink that plays with pears and ginger. It’s a spiced drink though not spicy. There are notes of cloves and cinnamon as well. If you were a pear cider drinker like I was in college, this is your grown-up version with pear brandy.
Harmonious Pear – red pear, Granny Smith apples, cloves and cinnamon-infused Casamigos blanco tequila, Belle de Brillet Poire Williams Au Cognac, Domaine de Canton, honey-sage syrup, lemon
We also nibbled on beef oxtail croquettes beautifully presented in a treasure box. You hardly needed the sauce since each bite was so flavorful.
The house honey-sage syrup in the previous drink makes its way from tequila and pear brandy to befriend Scotch and Canadian whisky. It’s a Penicillin that’s been refined. The Mandarin Bar calls this the Royal Penicillin and with good reason with Johnnie Walker Blue label backing the drink. If you even have the slightest tickle in your throat, this should be your go-to remedy.
Royal Penicillin – Johnnie Walker Blue scotch whisky, Crown Royal regal apple whisky, Domaine de Canton, house honey-sage syrup, lemon
For dessert, we had the bombolini served with dulce amaretto and raspberry dipping sauces. These were light and fluffy.
I’d love to come back for dinner at Twist, the Mandarin Oriental’s restaurant one day for a full meal.
Before we headed out, I tried one last drink; the Robins Hood. Like my earlier Manhattan-style drink, this variation on a theme- brown, bitter, stirred uses dried apricot-infused Glenmorangie Scotch and Hennessy cognac. It’s mixed with two liqueurs and sweetened even further with Carpano Antica, a vermouth that swings to the sweeter side. Fortunately, it’s served on the rocks so you get to enjoy all the flavors.
Robins Hood – dried apricot-infused Glenmorangie scotch whisky, Hennessy VSOP cognac, Benedictine, Drambuie, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
If you’re staying at the Mandarin Oriental, Aria or other nearby hotels, check out the Mandarin Bar for a drink or two. You can survey the whole Strip and decide just how close to the clouds you are.
The Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental3752 Las Vegas Blvd S., Las Vegas, NV 89158 — (888) 881-9367 © The Minty 2016