There’s no shortage of things to do at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. From the casino floor to the shows and concerts, there’s always something going on. But one of the hotel’s best-kept secrets is its cocktail program. Recently, we had a chance to chat with Andrew Pollard, the Resort Mixologist, to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making sure that the cocktails at The Cosmopolitan are always on point.
Las Vegas Cocktails With Master Mixologist Andrew Pollard
Signature Cocktail Creation
One of the most important aspects of any cocktail program is having a signature menu that sets it apart from other bars and restaurants. For Pollard, that means creating unique twists on classic cocktails. “Although it may seem as simple as pulling together drinks on a menu and calling it a day, my approach to the development and implementation of a new cocktail is more complex and is dependent on several variables (Ex: Does the development contribute to the overarching concept of the specific cocktail venue? Does the menu tell a story? Are the menu offerings diversified enough to capture each target audience through spirit selections, flavors, ingredients, styles, glassware, etc.—without cannibalizing or recycling?),” Pollard explained.
Bottomless Beverages With Style
The resort recently added a selection of cocktail updates at Vesper Bar, The Chandelier, Ghost Donkey, and Wicked Spoon, the resort’s buffet. Wicked Spoon recently introduced a “Specialty Bottomless Sips” option to complement the all-you-can-eat service. “The recently introduced Wicked Spoon cocktails were inspired by the buffet’s philosophy of combining globally inspired cocktails and small plates,” Pollard said of the buffet’s new cocktail offerings. “We understand that the guests will be indulging, so the cocktails are light, clean and easy to drink by design. These offerings are intended to be paired with the buffet’s global cuisine, such as our signature ‘Cheladas served with tacos, Whiskey in The Jar served with Fried Chicken and Mac & Cheese, and the Morning Buzz served to accompany our Asian offerings.”
One of Pollard’s most popular cocktails can be found at Vesper Bar, a sophisticated 24-hour bar on the first floor of the Chelsea Tower. “The Violet Femme” is one of my tried-and-true recipes I bring with me wherever I go,” Pollard told us. “Even after winning the Bombay Sapphire/GQ’s Most Inspired Bartender Competition of 2009, I have revisited this simple recipe multiple times and have not found a reason to change it. Although the Aviation cocktail has perhaps lost some of its lusters from the mid to late 2000s, the beauty and simplicity of this cocktail continue to dazzle guests and staff alike.”
Fun Flavors at The Chandelier
It’s impossible to miss the giant, multi-level chandelier inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The stunning structure is home to some of the prettiest cocktails in town, with an elaborate presentation to match. “I was compelled to create an experience that captures the iconic Chandelier Bar’s sense of escapism,” Pollard explained. “Our mission is to transport guests with a cocktail experience, and no other category or concept evokes that sensation more than rum and the taste of the tropics. Although not a rum bar concept per se, we want our cocktails to champion the philosophy of destination cocktails and having fun—much like drinking a Mai Tai on a Hawaiian beach or a Pina Colada in the Caribbean.”
Of course, creating signature cocktails is only half the battle. Pollard also has to make sure that they’re executed flawlessly every time. “We have a team of bartenders who are passionate about what they do,” he says. “They’re constantly experimenting with new techniques and flavors to make sure that our cocktails are always fresh and exciting.”
Cocktail Program Perfection
Making sure that each and every cocktail is up to Pollard’s high standards is no easy feat—but it’s one that he and his team take great pride in. “There is a genuine excitement surrounding the continued re-invention of this program,” Pollard told us. “Having played an integral part in The Cosmopolitan’s cocktail program during the resort’s opening, building the original Vesper Bar program is something I always will cherish. However, as we look towards the future, the legacy of 2.0 is what I am most excited to create. Inspired by the magic of The Cosmopolitan and the motivation of “daring to be different,” the possibilities of what can be achieved here are endless. We want to continue to innovate and lead the market while exemplifying the resort’s ethos to provide stories worth telling and a feeling worth returning to.”
The next time you’re looking for something to do at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, be sure to check out the hotel’s cocktail program. With its unique takes on classic cocktails, there’s something for everyone on the menu. And with Andrew Pollard at the helm, you can rest assured that each and every drink will be perfectly crafted and delicious. “The future is always uncertain—especially after the last couple of years,” Pollard said. “Through that time, I feel like we have a greater sense of appreciation for this exciting industry. Let’s just have some fun. “
*Interview has been edited for clarity.