Now, if you’re not a fan of cocktails, please don’t freak out about this next sentence. But the truth is, everybody needs a White Russian inside them, at least once in their lives. Joking aside (the joke is “once,” we all need them all the time), you’re here because you want to find out what casino drinks should be good for you if you don’t want to depart from Las Vegas casinos with the rest of your belongings in a bingle.
That doesn’t mean you should avoid booze at all costs. The best casino cocktail still must have vodka (or at least maraschino) in it; you just might need to mask it up with a fresh-squeezed lemon juice. It’s perhaps wiser to separate the two activities — gambling and drinking alcohol. It’s not a coincidence that in Las Vegas today, the only casino you can’t get free drinks at is the casino that doesn’t know what it’s supposed to do. They give out casino free drinks to get you more generous when betting and less vigilant when making decisions.
But it’s not all about getting smashed with bitter lemon and a maraschino cherry garnish. Well, guess you could still do that, but that’s if you’re up for something more than just casual drinking. Before we go into what you should drink, let’s check out what you shouldn’t.
What Not to Drink
Casino free drinks are there to get you loose. The best casinos have realized that, by giving away casino drinks, they will get people to drink a lot more than they would if they had to pay for it. So if it’s just a glass of maraschino cherry or something heavier, such as a straight vodka on the rocks, most people will drink more when it’s for free. For instance, one of the most popular casinos on the other side of the Grand Canyon from Vegas, Twin Arrows Navajo Casino, serves free drinks round the clock.
Back in the day, people were getting drunk way more often with casino drinks. Back then, there weren’t fancy casino cocktails, with loads of garnish and lemon dressing. The whole point of this is not their being super chill and wanting you to feel comfortable. They do it to get you more trigger-happy with your money. Throw in a party pit with smoking hot dealers in bikinis, and you’ll be on your way back home with no money to buy a cherry cake, not even for a can of bitter lemon.
You see, the thing is, when we get drunk, our brain loses its sharpness, and we tend to make rash decisions. We react on impulse, without giving it much thought as we “suffer” from overconfidence that isn’t based on reality. Moreover, we’re far more negligent about the financial aspect of gambling and are a lot more willing to continue chipping in. All it costs the casino to get you in such a state is a few $5 drinks. Giving you gin for free pays off big time in the long run. That’s why you should restrict your drinking.
Vodka Martini, Shaken, Not Stirred
Now, let’s talk about what you can drink on a casino floor. We all know James Bond drinks while playing baccarat, but we all also know you ain’t no James Bond. Of course, if you’re there just to enjoy your night and you couldn’t care less about your balance at the end, then, by all means, knock yourself out (figuratively)! Just make sure you don’t go smoking cigars in someone’s face or vomiting on the table. Other than that, just enjoy your evening.
But if you’re more sensible and do care about your wallet, you should take it easy. The best course of action here could be to try out some of the casino cocktails. The thing is, cocktails that you order will do you more good than a regular alcoholic drink would. First of all, you’re still taking in alcohol, so it doesn’t cut down on the fun (although, a couple of margaritas won’t get you going as much as a couple of tequilas would). This only works in your favor as you can sit around sipping on your drink for longer without having to worry about getting yourself wasted and losing all the money on table games.
Furthermore, here’s an idea that will be stirring your mind. You’ll look more amazing if you’re drinking Bloody Mary instead of something plain like pure vodka. If you spice up your drink with some orange bitters (imagine sitting in a tuxedo saying, “I want a Belmont Breeze”), you’ll be infinitely more interesting than the guy next to you who’s chugging down a whiskey on the rocks, just like the other 90% of gamblers.
Work Your Way Up
Start slow with something like gin and tonic or some other two-ingredient starters to get you going and get you immersed into the world of spirits mixed with different flavors. Other examples would be rum and coke, vodka and Red Bull, or Cape Codder (vodka and cranberry). By the way, never trust a person who says that whiskey on the rocks is a two-ingredient mix.
Then, when you get a taste for it, you can take another step and order some more sophisticated drinks. Here’s a list of ten of the most popular cocktails:
- Moscow Mule
- Bloody Mary
- Blue Lagoon
- Pina Colada
- White Russian
- Honorable mentions: Sex on the Beach, Caipirinha, and Long Island
These drinks are popular enough for you to expect that most of the bars and inhouse cocktail service will have it. Still, it can happen that they don’t have a drink or two from the list above. In that case, you can always ask for the house special. If they’re willing to put their name on it, it’s probably because they know it’s a good one. Just make sure you ask what the ingredients are as there might be something you’re not used to. Also, it could be on the heavy side, which is not something you want when a slot machine is just a few inches away from your wallet. Remember, maraschino’s nice, but too much of anything is too much even if it’s the said maraschino.
Don’t Be Finicky
You have to understand — you won’t get the same level of drink quality in a gambling resort as you would in a specialized cocktail bar where they make everything from the Savoy Cocktail Book, especially if they offer free or comped drinks. It’s probably not the best idea to order some ten-ingredient monstrosity. Not only will they not make it as well, but they will also resent you for being a wannabe highbrow.
If you order vodka and cherry, best believe you’re not getting a drink from a centuries-old vodka bottle that’s been lingering around in a cellar since the Roman times. Instead, ask for a specific brand you know is good, and they won’t be able to cheap out on you. Belvedere with cherry is always a top pick.
Finally, if you’re not much of a drinker, choose some drinks that will be more refreshing than alcohol-inducing. Consider something like Chocolate Martini, which will still get you tipsy and joyful, but it won’t make you lose thousands on a single round at a high-roller video poker machine.
Doing It at Home
If you’re the kind of person who prefers to play online casino games from the comfort of your home, that doesn’t mean you should miss out on all other aspects of social life that come with brick-and-mortar resorts. You can make your own drink, just be ready to leave your virtual table to mix things up between rounds.
Many people think that all you need to make a cocktail are a shaker and your hands to be able to make a stirring motion. However, it’s really not that easy. You need to get the right measurements, and you need to know when to start mixing and for how long to do it. If you’re not a seasoned bartender, this turns into a guessing game more than there being actual thought going into it. So maybe you should start with something easier to make and go for more difficult recipes as you get better. Nobody starts their poker career at the WSOP. We’ll now give you a table of drinks and their ingredients that you can easily make at home.
|Gin & Tonic||Gin, tonic|
|Rum & Coke||Rum, coke|
|Negroni||Campari, gin, sweet vermouth|
|Manhattan||Bourbon, dry vermouth, cherry, bitters,|
|Martini||Vodka, dry vermouth, orange bitters|
|Margarita||Blanco tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice, triple sec|
|Daiquiri||White rum, sugar, freshly squeezed lime juice|
|Tequila Sunrise||Tequila, orange juice, grenadine|
|Mojito||White rum, mint leaves, fresh lime juice, simple syrup|
|Cosmopolitan||Vodka, Fresh lime juice, cranberry juice|
So there you have it! Now you know how to spice up your evening with just enough alcohol to get you in a good mood, but not too much of it for you to lose focus and waste money. Enjoy!