Take a Gamble on Great Whisky at These Casino Bars

Once upon a time you had to go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to visit a casino. Now there are more than 700 across 44 states, according to the American Casino Guide. With such a long list vying for your cash, there’s no need to gamble on finding a suitable whisky—many casinos now offer selections for everyone from the penny-slot player to the high roller.

This article was originally published in April 2020. COVID-related restrictions may affect some of the opening times and offerings of these venues, so check in advance of a visit.

Whiskey Down at MGM Grand—Las Vegas

The biggest hotel in Sin City has an oversized whisky program to match and, like the casino, it’s open 24/7. Whiskey Down’s offerings include an MGM-selected single-barrel Kavalan Sherry Cask and private casks from independent bottlers like Gordon & MacPhail—currently a 1997 Macallan bottled for the bar at 46% ABV instead of 43%, the only one of its kind. It has a rotating selection of other rare Macallans, which recently included a 1946 vintage, plus whiskies from all over the world at every price point, about 300 in all.

Morton’s The Steakhouse at Golden Nugget Casino—Biloxi, Mississippi

Even for this high-end prime steakhouse chain, its beachfront location goes above and beyond. About 75 whiskies from around the world, including private-barrel selections, are offered as 2-ounce pours, with square 2-inch “king” ice cubes for rocks fans. But the most inspired match-up here is the signature State Street Manhattan ($17), featuring Woodford Reserve and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth infused with Toschi Amarena cherries and fresh orange peels, finished with a spritz of Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select and garnished with a slice of U.S.D.A. prime New York strip steak.

Wolfgang Puck American Grille at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa—Atlantic City, New Jersey

Puck’s Atlantic City outpost celebrates whisky with nearly 60 scotch, Irish, Canadian, American, and Japanese bottlings. Themed flights of three 1-ounce pours include Land of the Rising Sun ($40 for Toki, Hibiki Harmony, and Yamazaki 12 year old) and Round of 18 ($99 for three 18 year old whiskies including Glenmorangie, Macallan Triple Cask, and Bowmore Manzanilla Cask The Vintners Trilogy). The menu includes Puck’s signature dishes alongside specialty whisky cocktails, like Good Ol’ Wolf (house-infused “brown butter” Knob Creek, pear nectar, spiced burnt orange syrup) and Hipster’s Paradise (Booker’s, Sandeman Don Fino sherry, Cointreau, chocolate bitters).

Rare Steakhouse at Encore Boston Harbor—Everett, Massachusetts

Opened in June 2019, this steakhouse flaunts a high-end whisky list of about five-dozen labels, including several Pappy Van Winkles, Macallans, Highland Parks, and Japanese whiskies including Yamazaki, Hibiki, and Nikka Taketsuru. There’s a special emphasis on WhistlePig rye, featuring the 10, 12, and 15 year olds, the annual Boss Hog special edition, and a bespoke 12 year old blend exclusive to Encore Boston, triple-barrel-aged in madeira, sauternes, and port casks. This fuels Rare’s signature Manhattan, along with Carpano Antica vermouth, bitters, and orange peel.

Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian Resort—Las Vegas

With well over 600 whiskies from around the world, including over 300 scotches, 200-plus Americans, and ten selections of Kavalan alone, Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse’s whisky list is aptly known as the “Whisky Book.” The tome includes an annotated map of scotch distilleries, many represented by multiple expressions and private cask bottlings, like Duncan Taylor Ladyburn Rarest of the Rare 34 year old vintage 1973 ($155) or Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 50 year old distilled in 1958 ($145). Scotches in excess of 30 years old abound, while bourbon fans can select from Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old, a single-barrel bottled in bond E.H. Taylor, Jr. , and single-barrel W.L. Weller.

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