When you’ve got one of the world’s best known bartenders running the show, making sure the menu is top flight is just as important as the spirit selection, drink design and product array. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the 2015 VIBE Vista Award for best menu among hotels, cruise lines and resorts went to Bound by Salvatore Calabrese at the Cromwell Hotel in Las Vegas.
The Cromwell is Caesars Entertainment’s new boutique hotel located on the strip in Las Vegas, and just inside the doors is the elegant lobby bar Bound by Salvatore Calabrese (Bound). One of the world’s most respected bartenders, “the Maestro” is known for his high standards and signature cocktails.
For the menu, with eight separate categories including five types of cocktails as well as beer, wine and a rare collection of premium spirits, classic styling and presentation were employed. A repertoire of 26 handcrafted cocktails includes six signature cocktails as well as classics, like the Fish House Punch from 1732 and Calabrese’s award-winning Breakfast Martini, and five Champagne cocktails like the Cromwell Fizz, made with Macallan Fine Oak single malt, lemon juice, orange bitters and topped with Moët & Chandon Impérial Champagne. Five exclusive espresso cocktails are served in a frozen traditional Italian moka pot (espresso maker). Each espresso cocktail has a distinctive and proprietary recipe and features Champagne, Peroni beer, Red Bull or other liquid substituted for water during the espresso-cooking process - the Madame Moka espresso cocktail includes Champagne-flavored espresso, Hennessy VSOP Cognac, amaretto Disaronno, sugar syrup and spices.
The menu closes with an invitation to explore Bound’s one-of-a-kind custom spirit display. Rare and hard to find spirits include vintage Louis XIII, The Macallan M, Dalmore (1979, 1980 and 1991), Chivas Regal 62 Gun Salute, Frapin Cuvée, Clase Azul Ultra Añejo and others. Bound is most likely the only bar in the world pouring the Dalmore Constellation whiskies series by the glass.
The new menu itself resembles a hard bound book with sketches reminiscent of European and American glory days and detailed descriptions of each beverage. All bartenders were required to participate in four weeks of comprehensive mixology and service training from Calabrese prior to the menu introduction.
By last winter, after being opened only three months, Bound was outperforming projected numbers by 20 percent, even though the intent behind Bound was not to be a high volume bar, but rather a destination for cocktail and spirits enthusiasts who want to try something unique. So far, so good.