Boyd Gaming’s impressive upgrades and renovations at its Las Vegas steakhouse collection has yielded more than a handful of great new restaurants; cocktailing has vastly improved at these spots, too. You might not expect next-level libations at the Orleans, for example, but there they are, at the proper chophouse Alder & Birch, a lovely lounge with a well-assembled signature drink menu. It’s available every day starting at 4 p.m., an hour before the restaurant opens for dinner.
The Maple Manhattan is the obvious choice, a sweet and savory whiskey treat made with Crown Royal, Angostura bitters, sweet vermouth, maple syrup and candied bacon strip as crunchable garnish. For a seasonally appropriate sipper, there’s the Winter Sangria—DaVinci chianti spiked with flavors of sour apple and lemon and finished with cherry sherry. The Mule You Rode in On can be flavored with your choice of Meyer lemon, raspberry, blackberry or blood orange. And the Lavender Kiss gets a bit romantic with a dehydrated lavender flower served over Ketel One, Grand Marnier and Champagne.
Reminder: These are off-Strip casino drinks. You must taste to believe. Alder & Birch at the Orleans, 702-365-7111; Sunday-Thursday 4-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 4-11 p.m.