As you should know by now, I love an inventive chef, one who pairs unusual ingredients or presents a dish in a unique and exciting way. Well, the same applies to mixologists. While we’ve seen (and drunk) about a million versions of a mojito or martini, a Manhattan or a Singapore Sling, my favorites are those that really push the envelope, both visually and in terms of taste. You might not be surprised that such pleasure spots as Atlantic City and Las Vegas have a wealth of creative cocktails, but you can also find them in cities like Scottsdale, Arizona, and Washington D.C. Even the tiny town of Benicia, California (about 90 minutes from San Francisco) weighs in with a wild and crazy cocktail of its own. Here, then are a few of these creations, and I hope you take the time to admire the artistry and creativity before you take your first sip.
BRIGHT IDEA 2100 BAR AND LOUNGE ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
It takes some daring and original thought to serve a cocktail in a lightbulb, but that’s exactly what the aptly named Bright Idea is. It begins with Bombay Sapphire gin, then aperitif wine Lillet Blanc along with Blue Curacao, lemon juice, and (what else could give such a uniquely sweet taste?) toasted marshmallow syrup. The whole concoction is then poured into a lightbulb (yes, you heard me right), which sits jauntily upside down on the table, and club soda is poured in to bring the whole thing to a shade of pale blue/green that’s only appropriate for this resort town near the ocean. A neon-pink, flamingo-shaped straw rises cheerfully from the neck of the lightbulb, completing the singularly enlightening experience. 2100 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City NJ. Tel: 609-346- 9663. www.caesars.com/caesars-ac