The Stunning Man: Blackberries, Egg Whites, Elderflower, and Wild Turkey. Whoa.

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
One stunning drink, the Stunning Man.
Las Vegas is my favorite vacation destination. It's an easy jaunt, and I know I'll have a great time, no matter my budget. When I head up there, I spend an awful lot of time at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The atmosphere there is different from the blasé mass appeal of MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertanment properties. Hip music pulses through the place, casino dealers can show some personality without getting fired, and there's great contemporary art everywhere you look.

The star of the show to me is the food and beverage program, especially the beverages. On previous visits, I fell in love with ethereal vintage cocktails from Vesper, and wildly inventive mixology hiding in plain sight on the one-and-a-half floor of The Chandelier. For my most recent Vegas trip, I decided to check out the offerings at Book & Stage. By day, it's a laid-back sports bar (helmed most days by Jenny, one of my favorite bartenders in all the land); by night, it's a venue for free concerts that rock the casino.

I sampled a few of Book & Stage's offerings, but the one that caught my attention was the Stunning Man. It's the most labor-intensive cocktail I've seen. The damn thing makes mojitos look simple by comparison. You have to muddle blackberries, shake the drink extra-hard due to the inclusion of egg white, double-strain the drink to remove the muddled blackberry bits, and more. Suffice it to say, the drink is an absolute pain in the ass to make. It takes a full five minutes to make it right, but it's worth every second.

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Beautiful Casino, Love this place, one of my favorites for sure.


I got a question on my Twitter feed, figured I might as well put it here even though it's related to the video poker instead of the drink:

"Does playing max coins on video poker change the behind-the-scenes payout odds?" -Alex

Alex, it changes the odds right up front. If you play 1 to 4 credits, a royal flush pays 250 per credit bet. If you play 5 credits, it jumps to 800 per credit bet. So, if you play 4 credits at a time on a quarter machine (for a total bet of $1) and hit a royal flush, you get $250; if you play 5 credits, you get $1,000. At The Cosmopolitan, their 7/5 Jacks or Better has a dreadful 96.15% return rate (i.e. in the very long run, for every $100 you play, you'll get $96.15 of it back) at full credits; play fewer credits and it drops to 94.91%

The game plays exactly the same no matter how many credits you bet: Before you push the Deal/Draw button, the computer that runs the game continuously shuffles the cards at lightning speed. When you push the button, it stops shuffling and deals the top five cards from its computerized deck. It does the same thing for the draw, but using only the 47 remaining cards in the deck.


Cosmopolitan (and Aria) is pretty sweet with a number of great selections. The secret pizza place is such a cool little addition for such a high dollar place. The pizza is pretty decent, but the fact that you have to work to find the place is what makes it.

On the free drink thing, my wife and i were there last weekend and they comped my drink as I was the only one playing but charged for hers. He then looked down at something in front of him and said, "her drink is on the house too." Obviously he has a little monitor that showed him I was losing my ass at video poker.


And if you have a players' club card in, it gives them your name. Kinda weird when they call you by name without ever telling them.

Ah yes, that reminds me: ALWAYS play with a players' club card. It doesn't do much at Cosmopolitan, but it does something.

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