Although Stephen Alba’s job title is mixologist bartender at Montecristo Cigar Bar at Caesars Palace, you can call him “the doctor.”

“I got nicknamed ‘the doctor’ because I bring my own tool kit to any bartending job I’ve had,” explained the Brooklyn, N.Y., native. “I also wash and polish the tools at the beginning and end of my shift. I love what I do and I feel like you should take great pride in it.”

Sounds pretty serious. But Alba couldn’t be further from a serious character; there’s an immediate ease and charm to his personality. That’s not to say he doesn’t take his bartending career seriously—he’s very passionate. “I would not do anything else,” said Alba, who’s also a certified sommelier and level-one cicerone.

He got his feet wet by watching and learning from his two older brothers, who were also bartenders. “I learned a lot from both of them,” he said. As soon as Alba turned 21, he entered the beverage industry, working at hot spots around town. He arrived at Caesars’ Lobby Bar three years ago. When he heard about Montecristo opening, “I was very, very excited,” he said. “I knew that’s where I wanted to be.” He loves the laid-back, speakeasy vibe of the venue. “You can get a cigar, order a classic or contemporary cocktail and just relax.

“People go home, leave Vegas and don’t remember their room number or what restaurant they ate at, but they’ll remember Steve the bartender and the cigar place.”

Burrough’s Negroni

As Alba creates the Burrough’s Negroni, one of Montecristo’s signature and classic cocktails, he fills us in on the story behind the classic Negroni cocktail. It goes a little something like this: a long time ago, there was a famous count from Italy—Count Negroni—and he was obsessed with American culture. He loved drinking Americanos, but they were too weak for him. To make them stronger, he had gin added—and that’s how the Negroni was born. Montecristo’s version mixes Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve oak rested gin with Campari and Carpano Antica Formula vermouth.

This Friends With Benefits is powered by Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve Oak Rested Gin.