Cocktails Go Crazy at JALEO

Jaleo is on fire:

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…and we’re not talking about its world class, off-the-hook, mind-boggling, one-of-a-kind paella pit.

No, we’re talking cocktails….lots of cocktails. Cocktails so good and ingenious they may have usurped Comme Ça’s place as the Cosmo’s preeminent purveyor of potent potions.

It all starts, of course with the Gin & Tonic — José Andres’ favorite cocktail (and the national cocktail of Espana according to manager Justin Green (and Time magazine)) — a drink so prized by José he serves it in a wine glass. (How groovy is that?)

What cocktail guru Green has done is to expand this G&T repertoire to no less than four different variations on the theme — which he describes thusly:

> José’s Gin & Tonic: Hendricks Gin, Fever Tree Tonic, Lime Kaffir Lime Leaf, Lemon and Juniper berries.
> Citrico Gin & Tonic:  Oxley Gin, Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic, Grapefruit, Lemon, Coriander and Mint.
> Hierba Gin & Tonic:  Blue Coat Gin, Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup, Fever Tree Club Soda, Pink Peppercorn, Lime, Rosemary and Orange.
> Tierra Gin & Tonic:  Citadelle Gin, House Made Tonic Syrup, Fever Tree Club Soda, Orange, Lemon, Kaffir Lime Leaf, Crushed Cardamon.

Ginned-up gimmicks these are not. The Tierra tastes like the best, most refreshing wine sprizter you’ve ever had, while each of the other three has its own, distinctive, herbaceous kick that will last you til next Sunday. Trying out all four in one sitting (with a wingman or two) is the perfect way to celebrate the Year of the Gin and Tonic.

Below are those, along with the rest of the barrel tasting (as in: we were so potted we needed to be rolled out of there in one) we engaged in last week under the guidance of Green and chief mixologist Erik Vanderwall.

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Along with the aforementioned G&T’s we are told we sampled the following:

> Margarita Donostiarra: House infused Arbol Chile Blanco Tequilla, Del Maguey Mezcal, house made bayleaf simple syrup, lime, and a dehydrated sherry salt rim.
> Corsage:  Scotch, Green Chartreuse, House Made Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup, Grapefruit and Lime.
> El Compadre: Bourbon, Aperol, Lemon and Simple Syrup.
> Fino Naranja Fizzy:  Fino Electrico Sherry, Gin, Lemon, Fizzy Orange Rim.
> Dark and Stormy: Dark Rum Ice, Ginger Beer and Lime Zest.
> Tomatina Negroni: Campari, Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Tomato Water.
> Barrel Aged Sangre y Fuego:  Barrel Aged Mezcal, cherry liqueur, and sweet vermouth with house made sangrita.

Green also told us we liked the Citrico and Hierba gin libations the best, and we have no reason to doubt his word on the subject. (We also have vague recollections of saying the Scotch-centric Corsage might even make a Scotch-cocktail convert out of our cranium.)

Something you shouldn’t doubt either is the superiority of Vanderwall’s Dark and Stormy:

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…made with dark rum ice, stirred into the tastiest slushy you have ever had. It’s unique, it’s interactive, it’s fun, and it’s the best way we can think of to beat the summer heat…

…which, as you can see, ELV is no slouch at, either:

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In The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino

3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109


4 thoughts on “Cocktails Go Crazy at JALEO

  1. The sangria I had at Jaleo was better than the sangria at Julian Serrano, not as good as at Fleur. The best drink I’ve ever had was at e inside Jaleo, made with green tea (which I dislike) pear and Jasmine air, whatever that is. The food is better on paper than on palate. I applaud what Jose is doing feeding the hungry in DC and Haiti but I’ve had better food at any bar in Barcelona than at any of Jose’s many restaurants.

  2. Those damn pepitos were the biggest waste of money. Why is Jaleo fabulous one night and then average the next?

  3. Everything I’ve eaten at the Vegas Jaleo was been a waste of money. Better food at the original Jaleo in DC, but that’s not saying much, and I doubt anyone would patronize the place if it were in Spain. Good drinks, but even then, I think ELV is hallucinating to think Jaleo cocktails are the best in Vegas, though I haven’t been there recently. The Jaleo menu’s promise of its Gin Tonic as “the best gin tonic you’ll ever drink” is insulting to all possible patrons. There are fewer people in Tahrir Square celebrating Morsi’s downfall at this moment than there are better gin tonic’s than Jaleo’s.

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