Vino-inspired cocktails hit the mark at French bistro
By Sabrina Chapman
“It’s like mimosas on steroids,” sommelier Sam Berkley says as he mimics injecting an imaginary syringe into a champagne flute. He’s describing one of the new wine cocktails at Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro, available after 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday inside the French restaurant at Caesars Palace.
Long gone are the days of a mere Bellini or mimosa. Nope, that’s Bartending 101. Berkley, who worked his way up from a Caesars pool lifeguard at the age of 16 to a casino floor beverage manager and now the restaurant manager of Payard, is changing all that. For example, Le Classecco, which, despite being far from a “classical” taste profile, translates to “classic prosecco.” Playful bubbles bounce along the palate, bursting in flavors of white peach, balsamic vinegar and orange zest, polished off in a grand edible candied hibiscus flower finale. That, my friends, is the work of a contemporary Bacchus of mixology.
The menu of wine-inspired cocktails arose out of necessity, since Payard’s liquor license only allows for the sale of wine and beer. To quench Vegas’ insatiable thirst, the choice was either expand the wine and beer list or go for something a little different. Trying an out-of-the-ordinary approach led Berkley to create concoctions such as Mojito Rouge (The Red Mojito), which balances cabernet sauvignon with muddled mint, lime and agave nectar in an unusual yet delightful way. Violette Blanche (The White Lavender) from the white wine cocktails list is rimmed in lavender honey and has a floral aroma with essences of fresh basil, plus an edible flower. It’s a poem of pure romance in a glass.
For the royal treatment, Grandiose—The Total Indulgence is the icing atop Payard’s cake, with Paul Goerg champagne, essential white truffle oils, caviar and gold flake. Talk about a oenophile cocktail on steroids. Indulgence without regret is most welcomed.
6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun., 5-10 p.m. Wed.-Sun. 877.346.4642