Hot cocktails for a sort of coolish Las Vegas winter

We had this whole plan to do a blog post about hot alcoholic beverages to keep you warm this winter. Then we remembered that this is Las Vegas and our “winter” is still like 50 degrees outside. So the whole “warm you up” part might not really land. But these cocktails are still delicious and will fill your belly with the warmth of the season, the love of being in Vegas and a whole bunch of other overly emotional expressions that you’ll probably be spouting to strangers after a few of these drinkies.

The drink and the atmosphere make the perfect date for someone else or even just with yourself.

The drink and the atmosphere make the perfect date for someone else or even just with yourself.

Lovers & Liars at Velveteen Rabbit in the Arts District
What’s in it: Brandy + Green Chartreuse + Branca Menta + chocolate raspberry syrup
How much: $11
Velveteen Rabbit is a cocktail lounge that’s just plain cool in every respect. It may not be a glittery glam-spot in the hottest casino on the Las Vegas Strip, but it’s a mainstay of the Downtown Las Vegas bar scene and a hotspot for every drinker worth their weight in bitters. But as much as we love talking about cool Las Vegas bars, we’re here to talk about a specific cocktail.

The Lovers & Liars is a complex treat that hits notes you won’t expect. Inspired by the Swiss tradition of adding chartreuse to hot cocoa, this cocktail combines the herbal flavors of the chartreuse with chocolate and raspberry, all finished with a delightfully subtle yet invigorating hit of brandy. When served hot, it’s a soothing experience that has just enough sweetness to make you melt and just enough spice to perk you up as soon as you spot someone cute. We’re not saying this drink is an aphrodisiac, but we are saying some things may have happened after we left the bar – you can fill in the rest with your imagination.

The Lovers & Liars is available throughout the winter months at Velveteen Rabbit, and is also available as a chilled cocktail which brings out the sweetness and makes for a less complex but even more fun-loving drink. We recommend trying it both ways – you can also fill that in with your imagination. 😉

Remember to blow out the fire before eating the marshmallows. We lost a perfectly good intern that way. Photo courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Remember to blow out the fire before eating the marshmallows. We lost a perfectly good intern that way. Photo courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Campfire Delight at the Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
What’s in it: Belvedere Vodka + toasted marshmallow syrup + chocolate + Kringle Kream + flaming marshmallows
How much: $15
This is one of those cocktails that we wait for throughout the whole summer. Sure, we could probably make a special request that they cover our beer in marshmallows then light in on fire, but it just wouldn’t be the same. There’s something about enjoying this drink while watching the skaters on the ice rink and staring out at the wonder that is the Las Vegas Strip that just makes us nostalgic for those nights as a child when your parents would bundle you up, take you to a casino and give you alcohol. Was that just us Vegas kids?

You can do a lot of things in Vegas, a surprising amount of which involve fire, but having a delicious cocktail on the roof of a casino in December is one experience that we suggest everyone coming here engage in. The Ice Rink also offers a variety of hot and cold cocktails to keep you feel cuddly while you skate it up or just watch your friends fall on their butts.

Grab an extra napkin. This cocktail might get you dirty.

Grab an extra napkin. This cocktail might get you dirty.

Dirty Girl Scout at Park on Fremont in Downtown Las Vegas
What’s in it: Peppermint Schnapps + Crème de Cacao + hot chocolate + whipped cream + chocolate stick
How much: $8
Last year we had the joy of writing about this cocktail. It’s back for a new season and we’re so excited. When you’re all grown up and your days of cookies and jamborees are behind you, this is the drink that will take your scouting up a notch or two. It’s chocolatey, pepperminty, Crème de Cacaoy and put together like it was just destined to be. This is what the actual Girl Scouts would sell if weren’t for all those pesky laws about not letting kids sell alcohol.

Don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing dirty or untoward about this drink. It respects itself, knows what it wants and isn’t afraid to show some whipped cream. Plus it just tastes amazing. Try this drink on a chilly night when you want to soak in Fremont Street and all the possibilities therein. And remember, it’s never too late to throw on a sash and earn yourself a merit badge for deliciousness.

Clearly our abuela is not this awesome. Photo courtesy of Oak & Ivy.

Clearly our abuela is not this awesome. Photo courtesy of Oak & Ivy.

Abuelita’s Remedy at Oak & Ivy in Downtown Container Park
What’s in it: Stone Xocoveza Coffee Stout + warmed brown sugar + Mexican Ibarra chocolate + Milagro Reposado tequila — topped with house-made corn milk whipped cream and sprinkled with Corn Nuts
How much: $12
Oak & Ivy is another one of those Vegas cocktail/whiskey bars that really knows what it’s doing and to whom it’s catering. Set into the beautiful Downtown Container Park, it’s a bar where hipsters thrive and everyone else slowly gets turned into a hipster after they realize the virtue and flavor of the cocktail scene. This winter, the expert cocktail-makers at Oak & Ivy have created a seasonal menu that solidifies the bar’s place as one of the top spots in Las Vegas.

Abuelita’s Remedy is a cocktail inspired by Mexico, warmth and the understanding that a good cocktail requires dedication. The bar hand grates and strains corn, then whips with cream, to produce the corn milk that goes into this delicious and inspiring cocktail. We’re pretty sure they buy the Corn Nuts. No one knows how those magical things are made.

When you want a drink that feels like a warm hug and a tequila punch at the same time, this is the place to go. It’ll keep you toasty as you peruse the Container Park or just give you a reason to sit at Oak & Ivy for four hours trying every cocktail they can come up with.

We already know you're singing the song right now. You can't stop it. Photo courtesy of Bellagio.

We already know you’re singing the song right now. You can’t stop it. Photo courtesy of Bellagio.

Heat of the Moment at Lily Bar in Bellagio
What’s in it: Patron Silver Tequila + passion fruit puree + fresh lime juice + agave nectar + red jalapeño chili peppers + cinnamon sugar rim
How much: $20
OK, we’re getting a little playful with the word “hot” here, but stay with us. This is a traditional cold cocktail available in a traditionally beautiful bar in Bellagio. The heat in the name and in our listing comes from the jalapeño chili peppers that are thrown into the mix. Why add jalapeños to a cocktail? Umm, the better question you should be asking yourself is how can you handle Vegas if you aren’t ready to explore something as simple as a cocktail that makes you reach for the Zantac?

Everything at Lily Bar is designed to be a delightful addition to the already superb Bellagio casino floor. Stepping in feels like you’ve been granted access to a special place for people who’d rather drink jalapeños than try to decide which Ellen DeGeneres themed slot machine to play. And drinking this cocktail reminds you why you came to Vegas in the first place – to have an adventure.

For when you want to be active and alert during your drunken antics. Photo courtesy of Nine Fine Irishmen.

For when you want to be active and alert during your drunken antics. Photo courtesy of Nine Fine Irishmen.

Irish Coffee at a bunch of different places
This is an obvious ending to a blog about hot cocktails. The Irish coffee is a classic for a reason and there aren’t many moments in the day when we don’t crave one — right now being no exception. Different places do some slight variations, but they’re all the same basic premise: coffee + whiskey = yaaasss. You can probably find a version at just about any bar you hit up, but we wanted to call out a few places where you know you’ll get a quality Irish Coffee experience:

And you can always find more places to get cocktails and all sorts of drinkies on our bars page.

Comments

I came from a little town in the Midwest. And believe me, I’m never going back. It’s probably nice if you love grass and snow; but I love the lights, the glamour, and the flocks of tourists seeking fun and fortune. Once the sun goes down, I’ll be the first one out hitting the clubs or just wandering the Strip for a little nighttime adventure. Passing through Bond on my way to Lily Bar, or taking a shortcut through Double Helix before landing at Parasol Up/Down, I’m the one you’ll randomly bump into – only sometimes literally – strolling through Sin City’s liquored veins – and loving every minute of it.