Adult Beverage Reviews


Crushed Grapes

By no means do I consider my self a Wine connoisseur, I just like the stuff!

Apothic Red 2011 Winemaker’s Blend

Apothic Red 2011 Winemaker’s Blend is a sub $10 wine that’s actually worth a damn. Blended with Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, this wine is surprisingly medium bodied with a great nose and finish. I’d actually say it’s a tad spicy with a touch of sweetness on the back end with notes of vanilla and chocolate throughout. It is also decently smooth and has a great, rich color to it. 

If you’re looking for a better than average Red Blend without breaking the bank, this is definitely a wine to try!

Apothic Red 2011 Winemaker's Blend
Rating out
of 10
Description
10 Value

For under $10, it is a stellar pick for a Red Blend.

7 Flavor

It doesn't knock my socks off, but it's solid in flavors and is delicious enough.

8 Drinkability

Smooth, aromatic, and with an easy finish, this is a no brainer if you like reds.

8.3 Overall

A good Red Blend for not too much dough, always a good thing.

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Cupcake Vineyards: Red Velvet

Say what you will about Cupcake Vineyard wines, but when it's all said and done, they're really not that bad for the money. I have had some terrible wines from them in the past, but the Red Velvet wasn't all that bad actually.

Once opened, it definitely has a strong, hearty aroma. It definitely screams that it's a red wine. Blended with the likes of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah, and Merlot, it certainly has a lot going on. At first taste I was actually surprised on how non-sweet it really is. I was expecting a blast of sweetness and instead was presented with a subdued, chocolatey, blackberry overtone. The consistency was a little on the watery side even though it has a heavy flavor profile. It does have an easy finish, but the wateriness of it really ruins the whole experience. 

For being a bargain bin type wine, Red Velvet from Cupcake Vineyards is OK. It's not terrible but it's also not winning any awards anytime soon.

Rating Description
out of 10
7 Value
Normally around $12. It's not bad if you want something a little different.
6 Flavor
It was just too different for me. Maybe it's better as a dessert wine.
6 Drinkability
It's drinkable because of how watery it is, so no challenge there. I wouldn't call it smooth eigther.
6.3
OVERALL
Meh.
(out of 10)


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Recoleta Chardonnay

This 2009 Argentinian Chardonnay is a Fresh & Easy exclusive that's overall pretty solid. It has a fruit filled, lemony aroma with an abundance of the same once upon your palette. It's definitely sweet, but not overly so. It's very smooth with an easy finish and no bite on the end. Recoleta Chardonnay didn't blow me away, but it's not bad for the money.

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Value
Normally around $13 I believe. It's worth that at least.
8 Flavor
It didn't knock my socks off, but was very good.
7 Drinkability
Very smooth with no aftertaste. A very easy drink for anyone. Could be too sweet for some.
7.6
OVERALL
It was good to try once, not sure if I'd get it again.
(out of 10)

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Cluster Cluck: Fumé Blanc

So, apparently I love ridiculous beer or wine labels. Especially when they have ridiculous names to go along with said labels. That is why I picked up Cluster Cluck: Fumé Blanc from Paso Robles, CA. And the fact that it normally goes for around $10 and I swooped it for $3!


I tried looking up a little history on Cluster Cluck other than what it says on the label and I came up with nothing. All I know is that it was only bottled in 2006 and that it's amazing with chicken. Also, in obtaining this bottle I had to find out what the hell a Fumé Blanc is and found out it's just another name for Sauvignon Blanc. Who knew? 



Overall, the flavor profile of this wine is sweet and almost tropical, yet subtle in its presentation of this to one's tongue. It really got better with each glass for me. It also has a great aroma and is very drinkable with little to no aftertaste. As stated before, I enjoyed this wine with a home made chicken dinner and it paired magically. This is a great bottle for the $10 range of wines, it's just somewhat obscure to find. 







Rating Description
out of 10
9 Value
Even though I found it on sale, it's well worth the $10
8 Flavor
It didn't knock my socks off, but was very good.
9 Drinkability
Very smooth with almost no aftertaste. A very easy drink for anyone.
8.6
OVERALL
If I can find it again, I'll get a few bottles.
(out of 10)

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Seven Daughters: Rich Red Winemaker's Blend

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I'm a sucker for cool labels/names. Seven Daughters sucked me in with it's bright colors and seemingly cool concept. 

Seven Daughters: Rich Red Winemaker's Blend does an interesting attempt at a Red Blend. They use a mix of seven different type of grapes from this California winery. Sometimes I agree with "The more the merrier", but in this case, it falls flat. 

This is just a typical red wine. It has no distinct aroma and isn't amazing by any sense. It's good, just nothing I'd have again. It is very drinkable, but I wouldn't call it smooth. It is a slight sweet, but overall it's just bland at best. 

Seven Daughters might float your boat if you're looking to diversify your Red Blend ways, but it's not one I'd recommend. 

Rating Description
out of 10
3 Value
For under $15, it's ok, but there's much better out there for less.
2 Flavor
The taste does not live up to the cool name and label.
1 Drinkability
It's drinkable, not that you'd want to.
2
OVERALL
Seven Dwarfs, yes. Seven Daughters, no.
(out of 10)

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Pinot Evil: Pinot Noir

Monkeys. I'm a sucker for monkeys in advertising. I love em. Definitely why I bought Pinot Evil… Never again.

Pinot Evil: Pinot Noir is just wrong. Aside from the punny name and cute label, there's nothing good about this wine. I won't waste time with much else other than saying it tastes like watered down Kool Aid if you forgot the sugar. 

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, drink no Pinot Evil.







Rating Description
out of 10
3 Value
$6 for 12.5% alcohol content is pretty much the only plus.
2 Flavor
The taste does not live up to the cool name and label.
1 Drinkability
It's drinkable, not that you'd want to.
2
OVERALL
Stay away from these monkeys. They are not as cool as the others!
(out of 10)

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I ♥ CA Merlot

I don't mind trying the cheap stuff sometimes. You never know when you'll be plesently surprised. For like $4, I figured I'd give I ♥ CA a shot.

After opening I ♥ CA Merlot, I let it breath and then took in the scents. It has a very straight up grape aroma with spice notes. So far so good. 

As for taste, it's a little fruity with a hint of chocolate on the back end. It seemed to also have a underlying tone of blackberries. It is a hair watery, but it does have an easy finish and is smooth overall.

I enjoyed this bottle with a chicken dinner and it complimented well despite it's subdued flavor.

If all you have is $5 to get a wine, there's better out there. I liked it, but didn't love it. It just felt like it was designed to be a "cheap wine that doesn't totally suck". Which is, what it is…


Rating Description
out of 10
6 Value
It's cheap, but it's not terrible.
5 Flavor
It leaves a lot to be desired.
7 Drinkability
It's easy to drink, but mainly because it's not bold at all, just smooth yet watery.
6
OVERALL
There's better for the money out there. It's just ok.
(out of 10)

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Doon Buggy: Red Blend 2009

There's something about wine corks that has always amazed me. It's probably my odd obsession of collecting things that are quasi-unique, but I think wine corks have their own character and personalities. So, to my dismay, Doon Buggy has a screw cap... Just like a plastic bottle of hooch, screw caps on wine typically mean what you're about to drink, ain't all that top notch.

Doon Buggy: Red Blend 2009 has now proven this stigma wrong. I enjoyed every sip of this medium bodied Napa Valley blend. The flavor is solid and at 13.5% alcohol content, there's no part of the taste being overpowering or too strong. It has notes of black fruits and a very smooth finish with a hint of an almost meaty quality to it. I tend to stay away from blends for some reason, but this wine has me thinking I'm crazy. It's not overly bold, yet it stands up with most red wines I've tried. The overall flavor profile is a combination of a muted sweetness with a subtle richness often not featured in wines of "value".

I've learned that Doon Buggy is almost a true Sin City wine as that it is only available in CA, NV, and AZ. And they also make a Moscato, so I'm going to have to hunt that down eventually.

It's just pure bang for your buck all the way here. Easy drinkability and a smooth ride the whole way make this a go to pick in the $10ish wine class. I look forward to trying their Moscato and hopefully they make some more types down the road. I agree with the screw cap for this Red Blend, a cork would do nothing but slow me down from getting to the good stuff!

Rating Description
out of 10
10 Value
For around $10, there's a lot of flavor in there.
8 Flavor
I'll be getting this wine again. The flavors of the blend are amazing.
8 Drinkability
It has made me a believer of blends while staying very drinkable. Not bitter in any sense and good to have with some good red meats.
8.7
OVERALL
Try it. Now!
(out of 10)

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Small Wonders: Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

The Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon from Small Wonders Wines is a perfect example of how I'm constatly reminded that you don't always have to shell out big bucks for good wine. 

This is one from Fresh & Easy's growing exclusive wine collection. Chosen well as I see it. Immediately after uncorking this 2009 Cab I caught the aroma of an almost woodsy scent, not overpowering, but well aware of its exisitance. After allowing due time to breathe, I gave a good first taste to this California offering. The initial flavor of this wine has a slight spice kick to it with a medium body and easy finish. Decently smooth and easy to drink. I enjoyed it with some Pita Chips and a delicious Jalepeño Hummus. The flavors worked well together with the wine and made for a quaint little meal. I could also see this working well with burgers, meatballs, sausages, anything with bacon, and such. It's no where near mind-boggleing in taste, but for the bang for the buck, it delivers.

IMAG0500
Rating Description
out of 10
8 Value
For under $14, it's definitely worth checking out.
6 Flavor
Good flavors overall, nothing amazing, but tasty.
8 Drinkability
If you're not into strong wines, this one will work for you.
7.3
OVERALL
Worth trying for the money.
(out of 10)

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Shots?!

Where are my pants?

Sagos' Smoothie

This shot is available at Sagos Baja Tavern & Lounge

This shot is one for anyone. It's doesn't punch you in the face with alcohol, yet it's not completely a fruity drink…Kind of. It smells like Red Kool-Aid and it tastes like Red Kool-Aid. I can see how smoothie got in the name because of the smooth texture and flavor, but it really does scream "Oh Yeah!" when you drink it.

Rating Description
out of 10
6 Value
At $5 it's good, just not great. If you're with a group that doesn't like to take strong shots, this is for you!
9 Flavor
Who doesn't love Red Kool-Aid?
2 Where are my pants?
I could probably have 20 of these and be ok. Unless you're a lightweight, this isn't going to ruin you.
5.6
OVERALL
Tasty but not strong enough.
(out of 10)

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Weird Beers

Beers craftily made by amazing people in small-medium brew houses.

KCCO Black Lager

IMG_20140212_152703_509

I don’t think I’ve ever waited for a beer to be released as if it were a new Grand Theft Auto. Thanks to TheChive.com, KCCO Black Lager had a following before anyone could even pour it down their gullet! Brewed in-house and then expanded outward to ‘Merica with the help of Red Hook Brewing, KCCO Black Lager was worth the wait!

It took a hot second for this misfit beer to reach Sin City, but there are now two places you can now get it! (E-Mail, Facebook, or Tweet me to find out where!) As soon as I heard this news, I drove immediately to get my first six pack. 

Once in my possession, I quickly dispatched the first bottle and was actually very surprised! I was a tad worried that this beer wouldn’t live up to the hype, but in my discovery, it very well lives up to it and tells it to Chive On! KCCO Black Lager looks the part, but doesn’t really fall into what I would call a black lager. It’s much lighter and smoother than most and has a very easy finish with very little bitterness on the back end. Flavor-wise, I mainly tasted hints of coffee with chocolate undertones with similar aromas to match. I enjoyed mine while eating some spicier foods and it blended well; It helped cool my pallet while still offering a counterbalance of complexity and flavors. This is a black lager that can be enjoyed by enthusiasts as well as those that aren’t as fond of darker beers. I like that I can’t quite put my finger on where this beer really belongs, it helps it be unique and something any respectable craft beer drinker should try.

Rating out
of 10
Description
9 Value

About $9 for a sixer, not bad considering the epic flavor and drinkability.

9 Flavor

It's delicious and fun and could be enjoyed year round. It's not as complex as similarish beers, but still top notch.

10 Drinkability

Light beer drinkers, dark beer drinkers, occasional beer drinkers, I think anyone would enjoy this.

9.3 Overall

Definitely a new favorite, and I can't wait to try their Gold Lager later this year!

Seasonals

Ommegang Abbey Ale

Ommegang Abbey Ale (8.5% alc.) Belgian-style beer made in New York? Ok, worth a try…

Craft beers with corks just feel fancier. I know they're not, but I love hearing that "POP!" from the cork every time! Once I popped the top and poured this bad boy into a properly wide rimmed glass the aroma slapped me in the face. To accompany this aromatic ale is a rich body that is very smooth with a lot of other fine attributes. I'd go as far as saying that this is a delicious and complex beer. The front has a hint of dark fruits with a clean finish and a mildly chocolatey undertone. I'd say that this ale is better than average but not quite the best of the best. It is a beer worth trying if you find it though.

Rating out
of 10
Description
7 Value

750ML for about $13… meh.

9 Flavor

It's almost amazing. It's bold and aromatic, it's just not quite top
tier.

6 Drinkability

If you're used to light beers with no flavor, this is not the beer for
you.

7.3 Overall

Albiet delicious, it's just not stellar.

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Rhinelander Brewing Shore Break IPA

A growing trend in the craft beer world is in the way of cans. Yes, cans seem less "nice" as a bottled beer, but in actuality, the fact that glass allows light in is bad. Most bottles limit the shelf life of good beers and can even change their flavor when faced with sunlight and store lights. Light is the enemy. 

Shore Break caught my eye because if its popping colors and boxed six-pack design. Also, being six 16oz cans helps! For $10, that's pretty tough to beat. This is definitely a lighter than usual IPA in flavor and braun. The light 6.2% alc. makes for a good Summertime beer. It has a smidgin of bite on the back end but overall is decently smooth and refreshing. This is a bang for the buck beer. It's not going to knock your socks off, but if you're socks are already off, just pretend your enjoying this on the beach and it'll be that much better.

Rating out
of 10
Description
10 Value

$10 for six 16oz beers. Not too shabby. And it's good!

6 Flavor

It could be better, but it gets its point across.

8 Drinkability

A hair watery, but otherwise good.

8 Overall

Good for the beach/summertime.

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Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

Out of Sonoma Country, California, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA is a solid 'Merican brew. Entering the ring with a 7% alc. it's not the strongest out there but it does make for a good casual beer. When poured into a glass Racer 5 holds a good frothy head and at first taste I noted a hint of caramel on the front end that helps compliment the soft, bubbling suds. Though this beer is brewed with four different kinds of hops, it really isn't overly hoppy and really has a light malt undertone throughout. This is a good beer to enjoy with pizza or pasta and is a good IPA for those that don't like "punch you in the face" strong tastes. 

Rating out
of 10
Description
7 Value

Around $10 for a sixer, not bad. Not Great.

8 Flavor

Not an abundance of flavors, but what is there is solid and tasty.

9 Drinkability

Decently smooth and not too hoppy, pretty drinkable for most.

8 Overall

I'd get it again.

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Goose Island: Pere Jacques 2011 Belgian Style Ale

I am glad I found this beer! Offered up in a plain white label in a 4-pack of 650mL bottles, Goose Island's Pere Jacques 2011 Belgian Style Ale is phenomenal!

As soon as this luscious beer touched my tongue, the first thought in my head was "Delicious!". This beer has the right things going for it. It's strong with an 8% alc, but not "slap you in the face" strong. It actually reminds me of a richer, slightly toned down Pirrat (One of my favorites!). Enjoyed from a wide mouth glass, I really got a caramel overtone that was held up by a healthy head throughout each glass. And talk about smooth! This Belgian Ale is like the Billy D. Williams of beer!

Easy to drink, immaculate flavors and aromas, and really good company to a hearty meal; This beer has the right combination of positives to be a new favorite for me. Go try it now!

Rating out
of 10
Description
9 Value

I forget what I paid for it, but it was worth it!

9 Flavor

Very, very good flavors. I can't wait to try it again!

10 Drinkability

About as smooth as you can get while still holding on to an 8%
alc!

9.3 Overall

I'm buying a case, who want's to come?!

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Lagunitas: Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale

Lagunitas: Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale leaves a little Sumpin' Sumpin' to be desired. While I typically like what Lagunitas has to offer, this 6-pack just wasn't all that great. 

Clocking in at 7.5% alc, this sixer will pack a punch, but it's just missing something. It is a smooth beer going down your gullet with a slightly hoppy middle and a spicy finish. But there just isn't a lot of flavor there. This beer is missing it's soul. 

Overall I was just not impressed. This is one that I'll drink if that's all you have at your BBQ, but I wouldn't buy it again.





Rating Description
out of 10
6 Value
For around $10, there's better out there.
5 Flavor
A little hoppy, slightly spicy, maybe citrusy, but over bland.
8 Drinkability
The high alcohol content is hidden well and it is pretty smooth.
6.3
OVERALL
I guess it's ok to try once.
(out of 10)

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Joseph James: Hop Box Imperial IPA

I know what you're thinking, "Craft beer in a can? That's stupid.". Actually, it's smart. Very smart. A lot more breweries are putting their hard work into can form now a days. Why? Cans don't allow light to affect the carefully crafted suds. Most bottles are dark in color to fight light, but a can is able to completely protect it. Genius.

So, now that we've learned something, let's take a look at Hop Box. Brewed right in Sin City's backyard in Henderson, Hop Box is a truly local beer! It's also a man's beer. For around $7 you get six 12oz cans packing a whopping 9.3% alc each. If you make it through all six, you will be down for the count. This is a beer better enjoyed slow and with care of every taste. Each sip offers a woodsy undertone with a hint of caramel in the mix. It has a very clean texture and doesn't taste as strong as most IPAs tend to. For being so strong it is very drinkable, but once you pass four of these puppies it will sneak up on you quickly. I'd say this beautiful brew is best enjoyed with some good 'ol BBQ or a gourmet pizza. 

This is easily one of my new favorites. Find it and enjoy it. But take your time, it's worth it.

Rating Description
out of 10
10 Value
For $7, you can't find a better sixer.
9 Flavor
It's not really complex, it's just good. Definitely bold overall, but not overbaring.
9 Drinkability
For an IPA, this is very drinkable.
9.3
OVERALL
A new go to IPA for me.
(out of 10)

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Squatters: Hop Rising

Brewed out of Utah, this hoppy beer is a solid choice for any good ol' backyard BBQ. Clocking in at 75 IBU's (Beer bitterness from hops rating) and 9% alcohol content, this beer has a lot of flavor. It is pretty smooth despite all that, which is nice, but it is pretty bitter if you're not used to IPAs or overly hoppy beers. Hop Rising has an odd mouth feel, almost like soda water, but not odd enough to not try it. It's actually not as strong as it sounds. This is a great beer to enjoy with grilled goodies if drank responsibly. This is not one to chug, this is one to savor and enjoy. I tried it both cold and at room temperature and actually enjoyed it better warm. Hop Rising is a good beer for IPA lovers, and a great beer if you want to taste the hops in your suds.

Rating Description
out of 10
9 Value
Packs a good punch and isn't too expensive. I swooped it on sale for only $8.99!
8 Flavor
It's solid. It's definitely not my favorite, but I like it enough to reccommend.
7 Drinkability
If you're used to hoppy beers and IPAs, you'll be fine. If you're new to craft beers, I'd work my way up to something like this.
8
OVERALL
I'll drink it again on occasion.
(out of 10)

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Crooked: Labyrnith

It's amazing the breadth of which that some breweries span. This beer is from Uinta Brewing under their Crooked Line. I've had Crooked Line brews before at a few beer fests, but never Labyrinth. I picked this guy up at a local super market for $13.99. 

Immediately after opening the cork, I smelled the aroma of chocolate and herbs. At the first splash on my toungue of Labyrinth, I then tasted a for sure bittersweet chocolate overtone. This beer is very rich and could be overpowering for some. Also, clocking in at 13.5% alc, one bottle could "do a body good". The finish is finely tuned with a woodsy/oaky taste. 

This is a very dark beer and should be enjoyed with desserts or on it's own. I was glad to be caught in the maze of flavors that Labyrinth has to offer. It's not absolutely stellar, but it does stand out as a solid choice for the right occasion. 

Rating Description
out of 10
9 Value
I'd say for the alc %, the flavor, and the size, it's well priced.
8 Flavor
Simple but flavorful. Good for desserts or alone, it has it's place..
7 Drinkability
This beer is not for your light beer drinker. It is definitely dark and decently complex. Not one to chug.
8
OVERALL
I'll drink it again on occasion.
(out of 10)

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Convivial Concoctions

We're having fun now!

Derby Breakfast Club @ Park on Fremont

If I'm drinking before noon, my weapons of choice are Mimosas and Bloody Mary's. On this morn at Park on Fremont, I choose the Derby Breakfast Club. Served in a mason jar, this drink is practically breakfast in a glass. It has some serious strips of bacon in it and an entire pickled, hard boiled egg! Aside from the bacon, my favorite part of this Bloody Mary was that it was spicy, but not hot. I hate when I get served a Bloody Mary that's half Tabasco sauce. The spiciness was perfect and well offset by the egg and bacon. And I believe the whiskey used is also bacon infused! Delicious! I can taste this drink just thinking about it. If you want a legit Bloody Mary, check this one out pronto!

Park on Fremont- Derby Breakfast Club
Rating out
of 10
Description
10 Value

It's so good, it almost doesn't matter what they charge.

10 Flavor

Liquid smoke, bacon infused whiskey, bloody mary mix, bacon, pickled egg?!!? It's out of control good!

8 Fancy Level

Anytime there are strips of bacon sticking out of your glass, you know it ain't a normal drink.

9.3 Overall

A Sin City Foodie favorite!

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Zen Mojito @ Fin

The Zen Mojito was a very good take on the traditional Mojito. With dragon fruit and blueberries there was a lot of nice flavors residing in this drink. It was sweet but not overpoweringly so and the Mojito "vibe" was still there amongst all the fruit. My only gripe is that there was so much actual fruit in the drink, it was kind of hard to drink through a straw because the fruit would get stuck. Aside from that minor issue the Zen Mojito is fun and tasty and definitely worth trying.

Fin- Zen Mojito
Rating Description
out of 10
6 Value
At $12 it's a pricey little guy, but it's worth trying and is fun.
7 Flavor
Fruity, but not over the top fruity.
9 Fancy Level
Fruit, fruit, and more fruit!
7.3
OVERALL
Worth trying once or twice.
(out of 10)

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Coconut Margarita @ Coconuts

Coconuts is located in the ever revolving pad across from Rave Theaters in Town Square. I think this location has been at least four different restaurants so far. I stopped in during a Town Square bar hop and tried their "signature" cocktail.

The Coconuts Margarita sounds weird and is weird, but in a good way. It still has a typical "limey" margarita undertone but actually blends well with the coconut overtone. Mine was made well enough where I could still taste the alcohol but it wasn't brash. Overall this drink is pretty delicious. With almost 20 different margarita options, I think this is probably one of their better ones. It's refreshing and still feels like drinking a margarita, just with a little twist to it.

Ingredients: Tequila, coco lopez, pineapple, lime.

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Value
It's $10, but served in a decently big glass with a heavy handed pour of liquor. Not bad.
7 Flavor
It's good, not amazing.
6 Fancy Level
There's nothing fancy about this drink, it's served in a glass with a straw. For $10 you think they'd at least put a slice of coconut on it...
7
OVERALL
It's a good option if you're already at Coconuts, but not a destination drink.
(out of 10)

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Kumori @ Sushi Samba

I'm all about audaciousness, so if I see a sake cocktail with a cucumber rim, I'm all in. The Kumori is available at Sushi Samba inside the Palazzo and should be ordered by all adventurous convivialists. The Kumori was rich and mine was definitely made strong. It has the cucumber flavors on the forefront with a slight sake kick on the back end with the salt rim balancing it all with each sip. For $12, it really is very good compared to its water-downed counterparts elsewhere on the Strip.

Ingredients: Nigori sake, shochu, gin, muddled cucumbers, nori-salt rim, slice of cucumber.

Rating Description
out of 10
9 Value
Off the Strip it would be like $8, but it is till an excellent drink for the money.
9 Flavor
Very rich and complex with the cucumber and sake flavors having a tug of war in your mouth.
6 Fancy Level
It's a good looking drink, the cucumber rim is definitely different.
8
OVERALL
A solid cocktail offering.
(out of 10)

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