James Beard Award-winning chef Shawn McClain will introduce his latest concept, Libertine Social at Mandalay Bay, in August. The restaurant's convivial New American bar fare will be matched by a duel-faceted cocktail program from one of the great innovators in Las Vegas' cocktail culture, Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. Two distinct spaces, the energetic Main Bar and more intimate Arcade Bar, will capture contrasting vibes, defining the eclectic and energetic spirit of the restaurant.
"It became apparent when developing Libertine Social that our cocktail program had to be something imaginative and special," McClain says. "There was no question I had to partner with the best in the business, so I tapped my good friend Tony Abou-Ganim to collaborate on cocktail menus and experiences that truly capture the Libertine spirit."
Abou-Ganim adds, "Libertine Social is built like the greatest house party of all time, with each room creating its own atmosphere to make all types of people feel welcome. When Shawn and I looked at the restaurant as a whole, we knew we had to create individualized drinking experiences that enhance each space in a way that's exhilarating and sexy, but not out of touch with the traditional art of mixology."
Abou-Ganim's dream of creating two separate cocktail concepts under one roof will come alive in an unforgettable atmosphere for sipping drinks with old friends and new companions, setting the stage for guests to explore, experiment, and liberate.
The epicenter of the festivities features a diverse set of ways to imbibe that celebrate the spirit of partying in Las Vegas with a world-renowned mixologist at the reins.
Elevated Shots—No longer will guests be subjected to only taking shooters of simplistic well spirits. Abou-Ganim has created a selection of specialty shots using liquors such as pineapple and vanilla bean-infused plantation rum and homemade spiced whiskey.
Swizzles—Libertine Social will be one of the first venues in the country to serve swizzle cocktails in pitchers. Prepared as a sharable cocktail for four or as an individual drink, the icy Caribbean cocktail is stirred with an authentic swizzle stick made from the Quararibea turbinata tree which has branches that fork for frothy perfection. The Queen's Park Swizzle, inspired by the Queen's Park Hotel in Trinidad, will mix El Dorado 15-year-old rum, house-made demerara syrup, freshly squeezed lime juice, spearmint and Angostura bitters.
The Queen's Park Swizzle and the Sun Splash.
Innovative Draft Cocktails—Abou-Ganim will enlist proprietary technology to serve up the freshness of a handmade cocktail with the efficiency and speed of a draft system. For concoctions such as the Sun Splash, a combination of Grey Goose L'Orange vodka and Cointreau is instantly mixed with Abou-Ganim's signature blend of cold-pressed juice in perfect proportions before hitting the glass.
Barrel-Aged Cocktails—One way Abou-Ganim will enhance a selection of his cocktails before the spirit is even introduced to the glass is barrel-aging. The Boulevardier is a special favorite of Abou-Ganim, with a mixture of Baker's 107-proof bourbon, Campari and Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth aged for five-to-six weeks in a wooden barrel before being served.
Bottled Cocktails—Instead of the typical beer bucket, Abou-Ganim has fashioned a signature collection of bottled cocktails that provides a new and different take on sharable beverages. Guests can order original creations such as the Luce del Sol in a personal bottle to carry around or a large selection for the table.
While classic cocktails have emerged as a hot mixology trend, Abou-Ganim feels that a group of our nation's best creations have been unfortunately left in the past. These forgotten cocktails will be made from scratch within Libertine Social's secluded bar-within-a-bar. Arcade Bar's menu has a story to tell with every turn of the page, as Abou-Ganim did extensive research to share the tales behind these lost legendary libations like the Daisy, the Smash or the Cup.
Designed like a study with dark-paneled walls and deep leather chairs, Arcade Bar offers a lesson in mixology history. Guests can enjoy a Sherry Cobbler, a drink that came to life in a Charles Dickens novel and the Brandy Fix, a cocktail straight out of 1888, letting guests try a cocktail that disappeared altogether in the 20th century. The menu also explores the origins of what modern drinkers think of as the norm, such as the cognac-based Prescription Julep, created before the introduction of American whiskey and the standard bourbon mint julep.
Across both spaces, an elaborate ice program will make its presence known with diamonds, cubes, pellets and spheres perfected for each drink. Seasonal ingredients like ripe Georgia peaches also will rotate through the menu, providing a surprise upon each visit.