As if you didn’t already know, and weren’t already planning your hangover cures, Oct. 4 is National Vodka Day! Whether you’re a fan of the fine spirit or you just instinctively respond, “Vodka cranberry” anytime someone says, “Hi there. Can I buy you a drink?” this will be a night to struggle to remember come Sunday. So to pretend you’re celebrating a holiday, when you’re really just using it as an excuse to party, check out the best vodka spots in Vegas.
Before we get started with this one, can we all agree not to talk about how “cool” this bar is? Please. That joke is so cold. Sorry. But seriously, for hardcore vodka fans, Minus 5 at Monte Carlo offers more than just a long list of vodka-based cocktails. It gives you the experience to match the flavor. Every vodka lover knows what it feels like to pull that perfect bottle from the freezer. Minus 5 is like finally going over to your vodka’s house to meet its parents, but without the awkwardness of having to explain how often you put your lips on their little angel. Sip from cups made of actual ice, safe in the knowledge that your vodka will never get watered down or even warm up, and enjoy the atmosphere for as long as you can stand the cold.
Starting off the list with class, Petrossian Bar at Bellagio is a place to sit, sip and relax in the comfort and elegance for which the Bellagio is known. You might not recognize the name, but this is the piano bar right across from the Bellagio’s front desk. Or, if that doesn’t help you picture the space, remember that it’s the posh lounge you always felt you were too underdressed to venture into, even though the soothing piano music was luring you in. But rest assured, whatever you’re wearing, this is the place to sample some luxurious vodka via their vodka sampler. They also pair the vodka with caviar, for all the people who pretend to actually like caviar.
KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers
Of all the Las Vegas burger restaurants named for supposedly defunct Soviet intelligence agencies, KGB at Harrah’s is by far the best. Stuff your face with the American Standard while staring at pseudo-propaganda on the walls. And wash down your patriotic confusion with double shots off a clever list of vodkas. Chopin from Poland, Snow Queen from Kazakhstan and Jewel of Russia from, you guessed it, Russia are just a few of the premium vodkas available. You can even arrange your own flight. And don’t feel guilty if, when slamming back some New Zealand vodka in an American burger joint decorated like the USSR, you feel like you’re spiting Russia. You totally are and it’s totally worth it.
If you also feel that pouring vodka from a bottle is too time consuming, and would rather have it flow directly from a tap, then VDKA at Encore is the place for you. Not only do they boast more than 150 flavors, but the vodka comes through their custom cooling system which produces vodka so perfectly chilled that every sip is like giving the finger to a Klondike bar. It’s clearly some sort of super science on par with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, but it might as well be sorcery because it tastes like pure magic. With a list of expertly-crafted cocktails, and unique flavor infusions, it’s clear that VDKA is perfectly named. They give you the V,D, K and A upfront, but don’t worry, they’ll get you to the O.
A headless Lenin statue may not seem like the most inviting way to accent an entryway, but Red Square at Mandalay Bay isn’t exactly for the shy at heart. The restaurant offers a full menu, which includes incredibly expensive caviar. But forget about food, and that missing head, for a moment and remember why we’re here: Vodka. Clever flights are available like the “Made in the USA” or “Four Food Groups” which features potato, rye, grape and winter wheat vodkas. But the real treasure lies in the enticingly named Vodka Vault. With freezing cold air, metal walls, a head in a box, red lights and some sharp décor, the Vodka Vault is the place for VIPs to sample some of the world’s finest vodkas in surroundings so beautiful they make Saint Basil’s Cathedral jealous. And yes, you read that right, the Statue of Lenin’s head, complete with what we’re hoping is white paint dripping down it, is prominently displayed in a glass box in the center of the room. No matter how you feel about Lenin’s revolutionary extension of Marxist ideology as a means of direct proletariat empowerment, it’s super fun to do a shot off his head!
Wherever you choose to celebrate National Vodka Day, remember that vodka is a drink that deserves much more respect than we all gave it when we refilled water bottles with McCormick in high school. So savor its flavor and enjoy it responsibly.
P.S. Oct. 4 is also National Taco Day. But don’t try to invent Vodcos. Seriously, they’re not good. Way too soggy. You’ve been warned.