Food & Beverage Trend Lighting Up The Strip: Smoke-Infused Flavor Profiles
The mouth-watering aroma of wood-smoked dishes and smoke-infused cocktails is permeating The Strip. Las Vegas’ award-winning chefs and mixologists are crafting clever delicacies utilizing smoky flavors in new and ingenious ways, igniting a trend spanning both food and beverage menus.
- Smoke Missing Mirrors – Sage at ARIA: Barrel-aging is the usual way to incorporate full-bodied oak flavor into cognac, but the Smoke Missing Mirrors cocktail experience at Sage takes it up a notch. A flame is applied to bourbon-barrel wood until it begins to smoke, then a glass is placed on top of the wood until it has been fully consumed. The glass is immediately flipped and filled with a house-mixed cognac concoction, resulting in a smooth, drinkable cocktail with a nose of rich bourbon. A nod to the most discerning tastes, this drink is an all-encompassing sensory experience.
- Smoked Whiskey and Cola – Rx Boiler Room at Mandalay Bay: Crafted with house-made cola syrup and Fever Tree soda water, this satisfying libation smokes actual cherrywood chips to enhance the recipe. The cherrywood smoke is introduced to the Tennessee whisky George Dickel, allowing the spirit to adopt the smoke’s flavor and aroma.
- Rose and Rye – Lago by Julian Serrano at Bellagio: Bellagio’s new fountain-side restaurant offers an intricate cocktail program where every drink includes a complex garnish built to perfectly balance the flavor of the libation. Each delectable Maraschino cherry in Lago’s “Rose and Rye” is hand-smoked daily and gradually incorporates smoky elements into the drink’s flavor profile. The classy Bulliet Rye-cocktail also includes Carpano Antico Vermouth, Aperol, fresh lemon juice and rose petal syrup.
- Heritage Manhattan – Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak at The Mirage: This re-defined Manhattan uses Michter’s Rye for a slightly spicier taste. Combined with Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, the rye and Mesquite wood-smoked cherry juice play off each other for a full-bodied and sophisticated flavor on the palate.
- Roasted Diver Scallops – Fleur by Hubert Keller at Mandalay Bay: Presentation is everything with this smoked seafood sensation. Accompanied by beluga lentil sauce and crispy house-smoked pork belly, Fleur’s Roasted Diver Scallops are covered in a dome into which savory smoke is piped. When the dome is lifted the smoke dissipates but the flavors remain, lending a wood-fired disposition to this outstanding Hubert Keller creation.
- Smoked Hudson Valley Duck Bacon – TENDER Steak & Seafood at Luxor: One cannot be a true bacon connoisseur without sampling this unique and alluring morsel. Moulard ducks from Ferndale, New York are the secret behind the bacon’s signature taste. Expertly smoked to perfection, this delectable snack makes an excellent complement to any meal.
- Le Foie Gras de Canard – L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand: Even foie gras’ flavors can be enhanced by smoke’s savory company. At L’Atelier, seared duck foie gras is served in a smoked sour-carrot bouillon to allow the rich, creamy delicacy to mingle with the broth’s smoky influence. Lemon confit tops off this dazzling Robuchon dish.