ecause you will want to drink them yourself.
This past week, in celebration of the Chinese New Year, the Las Vegas strip was a festive flurry of lions and dragons and oh my … cocktails? Yes, cocktails.
My sister and I met-up Tuesday at the Mirage’s Main Valet for the Dragon and Lion Dance. The Yau Kung Mon Dance Group presented a highly skilled feast for the ears and eyes. All that was left was perhaps the palate. Never fear, for after following the parade of high waving fluorescent scales on poles to the High Limit Room, we were welcomed at the bar to quench our thirst with The Golden Dragon Cocktail menu.
With each cocktail purchase, priced at $12 each, you get a golden coin which could contain up to a $500 Mirage gaming chip. First on our list was the Red Dragon, a concoction of Moutai Pure Joy Bai Jiu, Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, cranberry juice and simple syrup. Bai Jiu (pronounced “Bye Joe”), a 2,000-years-old Chinese-made spirit from sorgum and wheat, was introduced to the US market in 2011 by the California importer and distributor Moutai.
During my interview with the Mirage’s Director of Beverage Peter Brattander, he said, “What I did was ask myself how can I create something different. Everyone has the dragon dance. Everyone has themed cocktails. I did a lot of research on what spirits do they like in China. That one [Pure Joy Bai Jiu] is one of the most popular ones.”
And in fact, according to the WSJ, “baijiu makes up 32% of China’s alcoholic-drinks market, with sales in 2010 up 13% from the previous year to 805.8 billion yuan (US$124.5 billion).” So even if the acquired taste is not your (or my) cup of sipping tea, someone certainly is drinking it and a lot of it.
Additional menu highlights are the Zen Mohito and The 328. The former has recieved admirable press since it’s introduction this past fall on the permanent menu at Fin. Who couldn’t find blissful balance in Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum, simple syrup, fresh berries, fresh lime, mint leaves and soda water?
The 328, a number which symbolizes good luck for business, starts with a base of Bombay Sapphire East. The spirit was brought to market last September and is noted for black pepper and lemongrass, which I found blended beautifully with the spicy and aromatic Canton Ginger Liqueur, lemon juice, agave nectar and dash of Angostura Bitters. Talk about an Asian-Infused gin and tonic.
So you can still feed red envelopes to the lions and dragons. But for your drinking pleasure, The Golden Dragon Cocktail menu is currently available at kokomo’s Lounge, The Sports Book Bar, Onda Lounge, Fin and The High Limit Room. However, time is of the essence, as these tasty delights will only be available until the gold coins run out. Good luck and Gung Hay Fat Choy.