Of course, everyone loves a good, tropical drink like the Florida Rum Runner. What’s not to love? However, we can’t stay in Florida forever (well, we could but we need to get on with this little lesson!) so we’re turning our heads to Sin City.
Face it, if you’re headed to Nevada, chances are you’re not going to its capital (that would be Carson City) — you’re going to Las Vegas, baby. And what better cocktail to drink in Vegas than The Casino? (Unless of course you’re at Margaritaville restaurant in The Flamingo, in which case you’re back to ordering Rum Runners.)
The Casino is one of the International Bartenders Association’s official classic cocktails, meaning it’s right up there with its neighbor The Negroni, another gin-based cocktail. Since gin is a juniper-based clear liquor, it pairs well citrus, making the lemon and orange in the Casino a perfect match. The result is a drink that’s strong and dry but slightly citrusy. Sip it slowly as you play blackjack into the wee hours and you won’t have a hangover the next morning. Well, your hangover won’t be as bad as if you’d been downing shots all night, at least.
2 parts gin
1/2 part lemon juice
1/2 part maraschino liqueur
1/2 part orange bitters
Put the ice cubes in a shaker, then add the orange bitters, lemon juice, gin and maraschino liqueur. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon spiral and cocktail cherry.
Try the Casino Royale cocktail — it’s named after the 1950s James Bond novel, not the first movie starring current 007 Daniel Craig. It mimics the gin and maraschino liqueur of the Casino cocktail but has a throwback feel.
2 oz gin
1/2 oz lemon
1 tsp maraschino liqueur
Dash of orange bitters
1 egg yolk
Fill a shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add all the ingredients. Shake until chilled. Strain into a sour glass and garnish with a cherry and lemon slice.