Posted on October 2, 2017
If you spend enough time in Las Vegas you’ll find out quickly that the Las Vegas strip is full of very talented people who cook, entertain and make your Las Vegas vacation noteworthy. However, if you seek the real talent you need to find the people who are behind the bar crafting cocktails simply because they love to see the smiles on people’s faces. One such person is Wendy Hodges at Fusion Mixology Bar at Palazzo Las Vegas and if you ever needed a real drink, she is the perfect person to make it.
Let’s Have A Drink In Las Vegas
I surprise Wendy with a quick visit to say hello and I find her experimenting with a few infusions. That is her typical day at the office. She shows me some infused bourbon and her new sour mix and soon I am enjoying her latest concoction.
“I was at the market and I saw this tea, Bengal Spice, I just thought, I need that,” Wendy explains to me, from behind the bar, in a happy cadence that suggests she is having the time of her life simply by the way the words bourbon and pumpkin roll off of her tongue. She is constantly moving making drinks for customers and continuing conversations with others.
She points at another person at the bar, “Right, you love it? I know.” She smiles.
“Let me know, I can get you something else.” to another cocktail lover who looks as if he has been handed a golden chalice. He holds the drinks to his lips and pauses as if just the tiniest of a sip is too much enjoyment to handle. Her radiant smile is enough for the customer to already consider ordering a second.
The guy at the bar next to me looks at me and holds up his bottle of domestic beer. “Why am I drinking this?”
Wendy, shrugs her shoulders, “Do you want to try my new cocktail?”
I give him the look that guys give each other. The look that suggests that if a woman asks you a question that only has one answer you just nod and do what you are told.
We toast. We taste. We savor. We sip. We smile. We nod.
It’s a pretty simple thing when you have a fabulous drink.
“What’s it called?” I ask.
“I haven’t named it yet” Wendy replies. “It’s a fall drink.”
“Yet it feels like a late summer drink. It’s like fall in Las Vegas.” I mention this in between long swallows.
“Yes. It never gets too cold here but we have fall.”
“This is like an open-air market in Palermo. Sicily. You are near the water and the seasons are changing and the fruits and vegetables are already showing signs of the end of summer.” I say this as I am quickly draining the cocktail set out in front of me.
“I love that” Wendy moves around the bar making cocktail after cocktail as we continue this conversation. Her enthusiasm is intoxicating and her passion for making cocktails is infectious.
I have an epiphany and then I say it, “This drink is called Autumn in Palermo”
And just like that, this bright, refreshing fall drink that is a fall take on a bourbon sour has a name. The pumpkin, Bengal spice, and bourbon mesh together to give you a feeling of Thanksgiving without the in-laws. It transports you to a seaside village where sitting on an uncrowded beach requires a light sweater and just a little bit of a cuddle from someone special beside you.
The Autumn in Palermo is available in the fall at Fusion Mixology Bar at Palazzo Las Vegas. It’s not on the menu so you may have to ask for it by name and you will definitely have to ask for Wendy. She typically works days so start your drinking early.
Oh, be careful, her smile is infectious and you’ll be caught here all day if you start a conversation with her.
Fusion Mixology Bar is open daily at Palazzo Las Vegas. Located on the casino floor near the guest elevators.
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