Sipster Submission - 21 Vegas Baby
Once again, the pages of The Liquid Muse Blog are graced by a Sipster Correspondent! LA-based writer Sara Shereen Bakhshian shares a little "finally over 21" fun from her Vegas celebration... (Photo: Birthday girl, Shayda with writer, Sara)
Twenty-one drinks, dares and so on have become staples for the eponymous birthday celebration. That wasn’t necessarily the case for my sister’s 21st, but we did spend a weekend in Las Vegas. A fairly relaxed trip for Vegas, which included our parents and nine friends, began with dinner at the flagship Grand Lux Café inside the Venetian Hotel.
The birthday girl, Shayda, ordered a classic Piña Colada (with Bacardi Silver, Cruzan Pineapple Rum, Island Juices and Coconut). Then the table sipped on Napa’s Mumm Cuvee with such dessert items as the Deep Dark Fudge Cake and the Fresh Strawberry Shortcake.
That night progressed upstairs with our friends at the Tao Nightclub, the younger sibling of a New York location. Shortly after our group of 11 got in, we split in half where Shayda and her friends ventured around the club’s three floors and the rest of us stayed downstairs.
We began ordering from a list of recommended drinks provided by a Tao insider, where the Asian Fusion take on the French Martini, the Tiger Lilly took first prize. This drink is made with 1 1/2 oz. Belvedere Vodka, 1/2 oz. Chambord, a splash of pineapple juice, a splash of sour mix and served up with a pineapple slice garnish. The drink’s victory is inclusion of fruit and juice that makes it sweet but doesn’t allow it to overpower one’s taste buds.
The TAO-tini also deserves an honorable mention. This cocktail includes 1 1/2oz. Absolut Mandarin, 1 oz. Stoli Raspberry, 1 1/2 oz. Malibu, 1/2 oz. Cranberry Juice, 1/2oz. Rose’s Lime Juice, a splash of sour mix and served up with three skewered raspberries. In line with the classical Cosmopolitan, the TAO-tini is a strong signature piece with a smooth finish.
After about an hour my sister’s group decided to leave the club after feeling over-crowded and pushed around in the upper floors. However, my mix of friends ended up staying longer and avoiding the crowds. After finishing the current round of drinks on the first floor, we moved swiftly to the second floor balcony. This was where the short and sweet PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur shots were being distributed, as we overlooked the Las Vegas Strip. The evening ended later after a final stop at the cabanas on Tao’s third floor, where we sipped Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut NV Champagne.
Day 2 started late with appointments at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Rock Spa. After the various toxins were released in our bodies we walked on over to Pink Taco and munched on chips and salsa, tacos and tamales. Some of the brave ordered the Fine Casa Margarita (Sauza Gold tequila, fresh lime juice and other secrets) and the Pink Taco Margarita (a blend of Trago Reposado, fresh lime juice and their homemade Agua de Jamaica, a sweet extract from the hibiscus flower). Sipping a bit of each of these drinks was a positive flavorful experience for me.
Probably one of the greatest, and fullest, experiences on the trip was the Omakase Menu at Nobu that evening, after an early show at the Wynn. The late dinner at the Hard Rock restaurant Nobu included a mouth watering seven courses for $100 per person. Our particular menu included: Toro with spicy Miso and Caviar; a palate cleanser sorbet; Yellowtail Tartar; Black Cod with Miso; Beef Tenderloin; Mixed sushi; and the Bento Box — a flourless chocolate cake with white chocolate sauce, shiso oil and green tea ice cream.
The Champagne ’95 cocktail was a hit at the table as it was Moet & Chandon Nectar Champagne poured over Grand Marnier, Peach Schnapps and a pineapple puree with a raspberry garnish. A meal such as this could not be served without sake as the group shared the chilled Onigoroshi ‘Devil Killer’ and followed it with the warm Jyunmai, Nobu’s House Sake. Perfection, with some pangs of overeating, was how the evening came to be described by the diners.
All in all the weekend was a great celebration of Shayda and life.