Chinese New Year is upon us, bringing with it the consumerism of Christmas, the excitement of New Year's and the special dishes and flavors of Thanksgiving. Celebrated in January or February, the Chinese New Year (or just New Year, in some places) is the most important holiday of the year for countries that follow of the Lunar Calendar. Casinos up and down the Strip are getting in on the festivities with lavish displays, limited-time menus and and designer cocktails crafted just for the occasion.
At Palazzo and Venetian, guests can sample the Dragon Cocktail, so named because the new year is the year of the dragon. The drink features Asian flavors like lemongrass and ginger paired with vodka and garnered with a sprig of tarragon. Sample it at Zine Noodles Dim Sum and bars around the resort, or mix up a glass at home.
1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Ginger liqueur
1/2 oz. Lime juice
1 Sprig of tarragon
1/3 oz. Lemongrass syrup
In a cocktail shaker, mix all ingredients and shake vigorously. Finely strain in a coupette glass. Top with a squeeze of lemon rind to release essential oils. Discard rind and garnish with a sprig of tarragon. To make the lemongrass syrup at home, chop lemongrass into a 20-ounce pitcher of water. Add a 1/2 pound of very fine sugar and stir until it dissolves. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
Prefer to start the New Year on a non-alcoholic note? Try green tea with rosemary, chili and lemon: Brew green tea, float lemon wheels, add fresh rosemary sprigs and a few chili pods and sweeten with simple syrup.