With a name like Juniper, it’s clear that gin is the spotlight spirit at Park MGM’s new craft cocktail lounge. And the timing feels perfect—the aromatic, herbaceous, easily mixed booze variety is ideal for summer cocktailing.
The new destination offers a deeper level of gin exploration and education for curious patrons and a comfortable, versatile experience for everyone else. “It fills in for that casino nightlife venue, but you don’t feel like, here comes 10 o’clock and I gotta go because it’s a nightclub, or that it’s pretentious,” says Craig Schoettler, executive director of beverage and corporate mixologist at MGM Resorts.
There’s a flavor for every drinker, like an Old Fashioned made with Whistle Pig 10-year rye and barrel-aged maple syrup ($17), but with about 80 gins on the menu, you’d be remiss if you didn’t try some. “In Las Vegas we really haven’t had a venue that focuses on gin,” Schoettler says. “When you look at the classic cocktails, the majority have gin in them.”
New gins with stunning flavor profiles bring some of the fun, like Colorado’s Spring 44, distilled from honey and used in the True to the Roots cocktail ($15) with fresh lemon, orange and clover honey. The best way to start at Juniper is a customizable gin and tonic highball. Will you go with a standard like Hendrick’s, Bombay or Tanqueray, or try something different like Boodles from England or Ferdinand’s from Germany? What kind of drinker are you?
JUNIPER COCKTAIL LOUNGE Park MGM, 702-730-7777. Sunday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-midnight; Friday- Saturday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.