My chandelier has more crystals than yours!

As I sit here looking down on the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip from my 40th floor perch in the sky, December seems like a blur.

As anyone who works in the food & beverage industry can attest, the month of December is no short of an all-out waterboarding session.  The hours, the stress, the sensation of drowning under a thin veil of muslin…it’s enough to make one long for a vacation in Guantanamo.

The Cosmopolitan threatens to jump into the Bellagio fountain...but is talked down by the monorail just in the nick of time

But as 2011 inches it’s way over the desert horizon, I’ve finally come up for air.  We’re out here in Vegas for the second time in three weeks for the opening of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  My wife and her crew are handling the PR for the thirteen (!) restaurants on the premises and I’m in the fortunate position of being the lucky sap that gets to come along for the ride.

In addition to sinking my fork into some fantastic food—the Lobster Tail with Miso Butter at Blue Ribbon, the Braised Octopus at Milos and the Beef Tendon & Kumamoto Oyster Tacos at China Poblano come to mind—I’ve had my eye on the bar scene rising up throughout the hotel.  And this is one serious, kick-ass, balls-to-the-wall, cocktails-as-scripture type of operation.

Mariena Mercer (pic by Allison Duck for the Las Vegas Sun)

Helmed by three resident mixologists and featuring over 100 newly created cocktails throughout the property, this is a Mecca for spirits geeks.  Mariena Mercer, Andrew Pollard and Kristen Schaefer run three diversely different, yet incredibly focused, bars:  Vesper, Bond and The Chandelier (all former nicknames of mine).

While I sampled awesome drinks at all three (even cheekily asking the barkeep at Vesper to risk life and limb by making me a Ramos Gin Fizz), I feel you should know about the madness that is The Chandelier.  Why, you ask?  The cocktails?  Yep.  The snazzily smooth bartenders?  Yep.  But the real reason?  The frickin chandelier itself.  This thing is Vegas incarnate.  Human excess in its purest, most adulterated, demented form.

Kim's take on the current mixology trends: "I like my drinks like I like my men: tall, dark and stiff"

Consisting of over 2 million crystals, the chandelier would make Liberace cry for weeks.  And Kim Kardashian’s boobs have nothing on this thing.  Spanning three stories, with the ability to seat over 500 guests INSIDE it’s bejeweled tentacles, The Chandelier composes three separate bars, all with a different vibe and cocktail list.  Sipping on a cocktail under this thing is like being under the sea in the protective bubble of Atlantis.  Do not, I repeat, do not approach this thing on LSD.  You’ll fry out your eyes faster than looking into the sun during an eclipse.

I was fortunate to meet Mariena Mercer on the third floor of this thing where we got to taste two of her latest creations.  And yes, when I say “creations”, I mean it.  There is a frickin’ mixology kitchen devoted to the bar, stocked with a sous vide vacuum, a Pacojet to make sorbets, a Spherification center (which creates liquid-filled beads) and an index of molecular gastronomy ingredients that would make Wylie Dufresne stick his hand in liquid nitrogen out of jealousy.

The two cocktails we tried were ridiculously tasty.  I found myself marveling at what was in my glass, while simultaneously being entranced by the dancing light like a child in front of Santa’s workshop.  It was a night of terrifying proportions.  Man has pushed the envelope with the sheer excess of this bar, but thankfully, Mariena’s cocktails have matched it’s scope.

Here’s what we drank:

The Libertine

  • Makers Mark 46 Bourbon
  • Orange marmalade
  • Rosemary syrup
  • Lemon juice
  • Peach bitters
  • Maple syrup foam

The Bed Thyme

  • Courvoisier Cognac
  • Lavender Syrup
  • Chamomile Tea
  • Stripped Thyme
  • Lemon Juice

And now, fair readers, it’s time to go inside the chandelier!
Watch the video of me sipping it up in the shimmering wonderland:

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12 Responses to “The Chandelier Bar: Vegas Unleashes a Mixology Wonderland”

  1. Cheers for the RT & Happy New Year! @rieslingAC RT "You'll fry your eyes out if you look at this thing on LSD." http://bit.ly/e5Zjml

  2. Just read @grapesandgrains post on Chandelier Bar LV. This place could cause heads to explode! http://bit.ly/huTEXH

  3. Cheers Christy! RT @franklywines Just read @grapesandgrains post on Chandelier Bar. Place could cause heads to explode! http://bit.ly/huTEXH

  4. Must be seen to be believed! RT: @BullfrogAndBaum: Great post on Chandelier Bar @Cosmopolitan_LV by @GrapesandGrains : http://bit.ly/e5Zjml

  5. terroirNY says:

    "Human excess in its purest, most adulterated, demented form" What @grapesandgrains did on Winter Break: http://is.gd/kjBCY

  6. Olga LaPa says:

    RT @terroirNY: "Human excess in its purest, most adulterated, demented form" What @grapesandgrains did on Winter Break: http://is.gd/kjBCY

  7. RT @terroirNY "Human excess in its purest, most adulterated, demented form" What @grapesandgrains did on Winter Break: http://is.gd/kjBCY

  8. Speaking of…hey, @cosmopolitan_lv: did you see this?! The mad-laboratory cocktail world of the Chandelier Bar: http://bit.ly/e5Zjml

  9. @grapesandgrains Aw we're sorry we missed it! Awesome review – love the caption under the 2nd photo. 😉 http://bit.ly/e5Zjml

  10. Ha! Cheers RT @Cosmopolitan_LV @grapesandgrains Sorry we missed it! Awesome review – love caption under 2nd pic. http://bit.ly/e5Zjml

  11. RT @grapesandgrains: The Chandelier Bar: Vegas Unleashes a Mixology Wonderland http://t.co/31LVbEy4

  12. Cheers, Haley! RT @travelwithhaley: RT @grapesandgrains: The Chandelier Bar: Vegas Unleashes a Mixology Wonderland http://t.co/BkFjcF6o

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