Social House has always been a cool spot with great food, starting back when celebrities and local industry types flocked to the original location at Treasure Island. It’s been almost three years since the restaurant and lounge was resurrected at Crystals in the CityCenter complex, and it’s still serving one of best pan-Asian menus on the Strip.
A new executive chef has taken control of the kitchen—Jon Amorin, who opened Social House back in the TI days—and a new selection of eight creative cocktails has been unleashed, which could turn the intimate lounge into a hot spot of its own. Created by general manager Michael LaPorte and his talented bar team, these drinks are inspired by basic elements and Asian influences, and each is a fun and delicious adventure. It’s impossible to choose a favorite, so work your way through slowly and savor each sip.
Social House. Crystals, 736-1122. Sunday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, noon-11 p.m.
This ginger-heavy drink is the perfect introduction to a memorable meal at Social House, brisk and bright with a fun, flavorful foam on top. It’s made with Lemongrass Ginger Shochu, Canton Ginger Liqueur, Triple Sec and cranberry juice, and then lemon juice and egg whites in the foam. The Shojo goes great with a bite of spicy sashimi.
Tea & T
A tequila cocktail at an Asian restaurant? You bet. Passionfruit tea, Gaetano Peach Schnapps and fresh pineapple juice smooth out the already smooth El Jimador Silver, creating a slightly fruity, peaceful finish. The presentation is pretty cool, too, as it’s served in a metal mini-teapot and poured into an ice-filled rocks glass.
This is where things get really interesting. All good cocktail programs these days are sneaking into the restaurant kitchen for extra special ingredients, and Social House is no different. Sweet, savory and absolutely unique, the Kashima is made with bacon-fat infused Jack Daniels, honey, Virgil’s Root Beer and a fresh rosemary sprig. It sounds like a stoner experiment. It tastes amazing, especially with Social House’s miso and port-glazed beef short ribs.
Time to spice it up: The Basan takes its name from a legendary fire-breathing bird, but this drink is nothing to fear. Fresh jalapeño is muddled into a martini glass, leaving only its heat and essence of flavor. Then comes the Bombay Sapphire East gin, Absolute Peppar vodka, orange juice, simple syrup and grenadine. For a little extra kick from this refreshing cocktail, chew on one of the pink peppercorns floating on top, then continue to sip away.
Raspberry Shiso Mojito
This concoction has become the most popular drink at Social House and it’s easy to see—and taste—why. Fresh raspberries and lime juice, Bacardi Dragonberry and Torched Cherry rums and splashes of soda and simple syrup make this one go down way too smooth. Those shiso leaves are pretty inviting, too.
This one packs a powerful, potent punch. Wild Turkey Kentucky Rye whiskey, Laird’s Applejack brandy and Green Chartreuse and blended into a brandy snifter, a slice of apple floats on top, and then applewood smoke is piped in. The fruit absorbs the smoky flavor, leaving lingering fragrance and flavor even after the smoke has dissipated. One of these is all you’ll need; it might be the perfect nightcap.
A scoop of vanilla ice cream pushes this cocktail into dessert territory, though there are effervescent thrills along the way. Grey Goose Le Citron, Blue Curacao, yuzu juice and Virgil’s Cream Soda combine to create the sweetest drink on the new menu. Still, the flavors are well-balanced and really pop.
If you have ever struggled between ending a meal with dessert or with coffee, the Akita is for you. Absolut Mandarin spikes freshly brewed espresso, plus a dash of chocolate sauce and simple syrup and a topping of whipped cream with an orange twist. The Akita plays with you a bit, as you’re thinking hot coffee but you’re drinking cold chocolate-orange-coffee awesomeness. This one must be consumed with Social House’s stellar marshmallow-topped chocolate lava cake.