The term “cocktails” commonly describes drinks with at least two ingredients—one of them alcohol. Every popular cocktail has its origin somewhere, and Nevada is the birthplace of a few of them. From the Atomic Cocktail named after Nevada’s history of atomic testing during the 1950’s to elegant local bartender-created drinks, here are 10 unique adult drinks created in the Silver State as well as their histories.
Atomic Liquors, located at 917 Fremont Street in Las Vegas is the oldest freestanding bar in the area. Originally opened in 1945 as Virginia's Cafe, with the advent of nuclear testing in the Las Vegas area, the owners, Joe and Stella Sobchik, changed the bar's name to Atomic Liquors in 1952. Atomic Liquors is the birthplace of the Atomic Cocktail, the Atomic Cocktail II, and Joe's signature F-bomb.
1. Atomic Cocktail
This cocktail was invented in Las Vegas during the 1950s and was named for the nuclear bomb testing going on at the time at the nearby Nevada test site. The recipe includes 1.5 ounces of vodka, 1.5 ounces of brandy or Cognac, 1/2 ounce of dry sherry, 1.5 ounces of champagne, ice, and a small orange wedge to garnish.
The F-Bomb is the prestigious official cocktail of the National Atomic Testing Museum (pictured left.) Joe Sobchik's signature cocktail is an homage to the heat and energy of the atom, and is made with fireball whiskey, the bitter aromatic spirit Fernet, and Atomic’s Liquors' own custom energy drink. This beverage is served with an upside-shot glass inside.
3. Atomic Cocktail II
This "sequel" cocktail is made from 1.5 ounces of Cognac, 3/4 ounce of Grand Marnier, 1/4 ounce of blue Curacao, ice, two ounces of exotic fruit juice to top, one teaspoon of fraise to float on top, and sliced kiwi.
4. Nevada Cocktail
This "state" drink is a light rum martini made with 1.5 ounces of rum, 1.5 ounces of grapefruit juice, a dash of bitters, one ounce of lime juice, and two teaspoons of superfine sugar.
5. Atmospheric River
This beautiful cocktail created at Harrah's and Harveys in Lake Tahoe celebrates the blue of Lake Tahoe with the frosty, winter Sierra Nevada range. It is made from vodka, cognac, fruit juices, and "other ingredients" that only the bartenders in the know, well, know.
The Boulevardier at Las Vegas' ARIA Resort and Casino's restaurant Sage is a twist on the classic Negroni cocktail that was originally made with one part gin, one part sweet red vermouth, and one part Campari and garnished with an orange peel. Sage's updated Boulevardier substitutes the gin for whiskey (preferably a high-proof one.)
7. Ass Juice
This rather unattractive-sounding cocktail (served in a rather unattractive shot glass) is Las Vegas Double Down's own creation. No one (except those at the bar) will say what's in this shot, but it is described as a fruity vodka concoction that started when a liquor company started promoting a cheap knockoff of Jagermeister. Customers are told, however, if they must regurgitate, they have to clean it up themselves. As would be expected, the shot glasses are also for sale. Quite the Las Vegas souvenir, huh?
8. Cable Car
An invention (or, rather, tweak) from renowned veteran bartender Tony Abou-Ganim is the Cable Car. This twist on the classic Parisian Sidecar uses spiced rum instead of Cognac. Abou-Ganim concocted this drink when he worked at the Bellagio's Petrossian Bar. Today, the Cable Car continues to occupy the menu at the resort's lobby bar.
9. Picon Punch
This cocktail was created by Basque immigrants in Reno and is comprised of Amaro liqueur, soda water, grenadine, a splash of lemon, and a small amount of brandy floating on top. While this drink is normally served in a highball or Collins glass in other parts of the US, in northern Nevada, Picon Punch is served with ice in a custom-made stemmed glass produced by the Louie Picon Glass Company of Sparks.
10. By Any Other Name
This unique cocktail was created by bartender Sean Bigley at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. It is made from 2 ounces SENCE Traditional Rose Nectar, 1.5 ounces of Hendrick's Gin, 1/2 ounce of St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, 1/2 ounce of lemon juice, and one dash of simple syrup. After mixing the ingredients, this unique cocktail is garnished with a red rose petal dusted with Argento Fino edible silver flakes. I was unable to locate a non-copyrighted photo to use in this article, but you can see a picture
In addition to Nevada’s storied history as a large gold and silver provider, the Silver State has several other claims to fame including giving birth to ten unique adult drinks. Have you tried any of these made-in-Nevada drinks? Do you know of any other drinks I may have forgotten? What is your favorite made-in-Nevada beverage? Please comment below.
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