A Whiskey Lover's Guide to Wynn Las Vegas

The Tower Suite Bar, located in Wynn Tower Suites, is a whisky lovers escape from the casino floor with more than 100 whiskies, many rare and small batch. JEFF GREEN

A Whiskey Lover's Guide to Wynn Las Vegas

March 30, 2023 –––––– Larry Olmsted, , , ,

The Wynn Las Vegas mega-resort is anchored by the connected Wynn and Encore hotels, each of which in turn has an even more luxurious boutique “Tower Suites” hotel within it. These twins are linked by casinos, spas, retail therapy, live entertainment, amenities, and a mind-boggling array of bars, restaurants, and lounges. Wynn is the only hotel on the Strip with a golf course, a stunning Tom Fazio design that has drawn pro athletes like Super Bowl champs Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. With all these offerings, the resort has become a favorite destination for those in search of pampering, wellness, food, golf, and increasingly, whisky.

Since the resort hired Mariena Mercer Boarini as master mixologist two years ago she has overseen—and overhauled—most of the cocktail menus and whisky lists for the 34 watering holes within Wynn, a couple of which are entirely new venues. While each has its own signature drinks and whisky list, many share in the extensive, resort-wide “Wynn Single Barrel Selects” custom label program, which includes 13 only-here offerings from Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace, E.H. Taylor, Eagle Rare, Weller (Full Proof), Elijah Craig (11 year old), Knob Creek, Knob Creek rye, two stave profile editions of Maker’s Mark, WhistlePig rye (12 year old), and Woodford Reserve.

Beyond this, some venues are more whisky-centric than others, and leading the charge is the Tower Suite Bar, a must-visit for fans of brown spirits. It’s the lobby bar of the swank Wynn Tower Suites, the smaller luxury hotel hidden within the Wynn side of the resort, and a wonderfully civilized escape from the frenetic casino floor. Separating the bar from the elevator banks is a glass-enclosed display wall of whiskies, the Tower Suite Private Whiskey Collection, containing more than 70 rare and small batch offerings. The focus is domestic, with an emphasis on Nevada’s acclaimed H&C Distilling, known for its coveted Smoke Wagon series. The Small Batch and often a couple of others including the rarest, 10 year old Desert Jewel. The rest of the American selection includes sought-after labels like Pappy Van Winkle (15 and 23 year olds), Kentucky Owl Dry State, five expressions of Michter’s (including rye and 20 year old), five W.L. Weller bottlings, O.F.C. 1995, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 year old, and WhistlePig Boss Hog. The small but curated scotch list includes extravagances like Macallan 25 year old and Johnnie Walker King George, and there are several increasingly hard-to-find Japanese favorites, such as Yamazaki (12 and 18 year olds), Hibiki (Harmony and 21 year old), Nikka From the Barrel, and Hakushu 12 year old. That’s just the Private Collection, which runs the gamut from $14 for Jefferson’s Reserve to $675 for Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash. The bar also has a “regular” whiskey list with more widely available bourbon, rye, Canadian, Irish, Tennessee, scotch whiskies, and Wynn’s Single Barrel Selects. All in all, there are more than 100 options at the Tower Suites Bar alone.

Overlook Lounge. ROBERT MILLER

The newest bar on the property is the high-end Overlook Lounge, perched on the edge of the casino floor, looking out on the gaming action and looking down on another swank bar, Parasol, and the resort’s Lake of Dreams. Overlook features a notable oddity, The Brando, a modern take on a long-overlooked cocktail, the 1880’s New York Sour. It’s made with WhistlePig rye 10 year old, lemongrass, ginger, and malbec wine. More popular here is another signature whiskey drink, the Gable, a play on an Old Fashioned. This has Angel’s Envy Port Barrel Finished bourbon, St. George Spiced Pear liqueur, and cinnamon-raisin syrup.

“We have a different signature Old Fashioned at almost every bar here,” said Boarini. “The cocktail is very popular with our guests, it is such a beautiful vehicle for tasting whiskey, and it lets me get really creative.”

The other newly added bar is the Aft Cocktail Deck, outdoors on the lake with a “super yacht” theme and tropically inspired cocktails. The late-night menu includes carafe-sized cocktails made tableside from fixings presented on a gold tray, including the house take on the Old Fashioned, called the Niagara, with Woodford Reserve, apple brandy, and blood orange.

Little Bubble Bar at Delilah. ROBERT MILLER

Delilah is Wynn’s ultra-popular and always booked-up supper club restaurant with throwback dishes, live music, and a Hollywood Golden Age theme. Hidden inside is the cozy Little Bubble Bar, whose signature Old Fashioned is the Film Noir, with Basil Hayden Dark rye, apple brandy, and coconut chia syrup. “I chose the Basil Hayden Dark rye because it’s an artful blend of Kentucky and Canadian Rye and California port for a nuanced spirit with notes of subtle molasses and dart fruit,” said Boarini.

Bar Parasol looks out onto the Lake of Dreams and has long been one of the most popular spots in Wynn to grab a drink, and the entire place was just redone. While the emphasis here is on champagne, caviar, and martinis, it also has a list of over 30 whiskies from the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Japan, and Scotland, featuring the usual suspects with some upscale exceptions including WhistlePig Boss Hog, Johnnie Walker Blue, and Hibiki.

But surprisingly, some of the best places to have drinks in Wynn are not bars at all, but rather in the fine-dining eateries. Mizumi, Wynn’s Forbes 4-Star Japanese specialist, features cocktails like the Burnt Old Fashioned, with Mars Iwai 45 whisky, Okinawa black sugar, orange bitters, and burnt persimmon. In Japan, many diners drink whisky Highballs with meals instead of wine or beer, and here they offer classic Highballs made with your choice of Japanese whiskies from a curated list. Or you enjoy them on their own.

SW Steakhouse was featured on the Food Network’s television show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and was one of the first handful of restaurants in the country to import Japanese Wagyu beef after the USDA ban was lifted. Befitting a steakhouse, several cocktails are whiskey-based, and there is also an impressive list. The Old Fashioned spinoff here features WhistlePig rye, chocolate, and chai spices, and there’s a seasonal Whiskey Sour that usually uses a Wynn single barrel. The list has dozens of options including 25 bourbons (Elmer T. Lee, Rhetoric 22 year old, Smoke Wagon, Pappy Van Winkle 15, 20, and 23 year olds), 14 ryes (Hochstadter’s Family Reserve 16 year old, Pappy Van Winkle 13 year old, Sazerac 18 year old), a handful of Japanese (including Yamazaki 12 year old and Nikka Yoichi), and a couple of dozen scotches.

Sinatra also garners 4-Stars, making it one of the highest-ranked Italian specialists in Las Vegas. The fine-dining restaurant is a partnership with the Sinatra family, and as such, the rare and amazing memorabilia on display includes his Emmy, Grammy, and Oscar for “From Here to Eternity.” But this is no Planet Hollywood or Hard Rock, and all of this is elegantly housed in museum-quality displays, while the menu includes actual Sinatra family recipes, and favorites of the Chairman of the Board.

Sinatra was famous for his love of Jack Daniel’s, his preferred drink being three fingers over two ice cubes, and as such they have hosted special pairing dinners with the famous Tennessee distillery. But on any night you can soak in the unique atmosphere here and try the Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select or have a Sinatra Smash cocktail, with Wynn’s own private label Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, crème de cassis, muddled fresh blackberries, and vanilla sweet-and-sour syrup. The Sinatra Smash is also the signature cocktail at the Eastside Lounge, a hidden gem that is great for pre-dinner drinks, overlooking the Encore pool with live pianists nightly. Sinatra would have been right at home in Wynn, and for any whisky lover, there is no shortage of options to choose from.

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