Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren’t unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we’ve enlisted some of our city’s beverage players to share their recommendations for a random feature dubbed Cocktail Confidential. Know a bartender who wants to share some top cocktail spots? The tipline is open.
Tim Haughinberry’s Back Bar USA creates marketing and promotional programs for hospitality companies such as Kimpton, sbe, and MGM Resorts International. The Southern California native came to Las Vegas in 1987, attending UNLV and then landing a job with Southern Wine & Spirits. That led to his creation of Montecristo Rum as well as his consulting and marketing firm, Back Bar USA. This year, his For The Love of Cocktails event takes place on Friday, May 18, at Skyfall Lounge and Rivea at Delano, with a grand gala at 8 p.m. Leaders from the spirits and mixology industries nationwide attend this event that benefits the Helen David Relief Fund, which supports bartenders affected by breast cancer. Here he shares some of his favorite places to drink in Las Vegas.
Which bars or lounges do you turn to when you’re not working?
Three of my favorites are Bouchon at The Venetian, Carson Kitchen downtown, and Skyfall Lounge at Delano.
Which cocktails are most memorable?
My cocktail of choice is always a Manhattan, made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, and most importantly, a maraschino cherry. The Bulleit Manhattan at Bouchon is a special one, made with Bulleit Bourbon, Carpano Antica and Fee Brothers Barrel Aged Bitters. Carson Kitchen always does the classic justice, and Skyfall Lounge uses Russels Reserve rye whiskey, Carpano Antica, and angostura bitters.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Bouchon is one of my favorite brunch spots in the city, with French bistro fare that is changed seasonally to highlight different flavors and ingredients. They also feature Vin de Carafe, a wine program that recognizes local producers.
I’ve been a fan of Carson Kitchen since their opening in 2014, and it’s been great to watch the restaurant succeed and expand.
Skyfall Lounge is my number one choice on the Strip. It has an incredible view of the city, it’s easy to get to and the service is always top-notch. Not only are they great friends, along with MGM Resorts, they are a key factor to the success of For The Love of Cocktails.
Are there any outstanding coffee cocktails that you enjoy? Where do you go?
I love a great Grey Goose espresso martini, made with Grey Goose vodka, single origin finest-quality espresso and coffee liqueur, which can be found at all Kimpton Group hotels, restaurants and bars nationwide!
What about breakfast or brunch drinks? Where do you go?
Aria has the best beverage program for brunch in the city, hands down. Everything is exquisite from the buffet to Bardot Brasserie. Herringbone is particularly unbelievable, and its endless Moët & Chandon Rosé package with Bellinis, mimosas, and bloody Marys throughout weekend brunch is my signature order.
Where do you like to stop for a wide selection of beer?
MGM’s Beerhaus at The Park has a great variety of beer, and with season tickets to the Vegas Golden Knights games, I’m consistently making progress trying everything on their menu.
• All Cocktail Confidentials [ELV]