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Delmonico’s secret stash is one of the country’s top whiskey collections

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“We joke that we may be the best-kept secret on the Strip,” Delmonico beverage manager Max Solano says of the restaurant’s massive whiskey collection.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas
E.C. Gladstone

The fourth edition has just been released. This would be a big deal if you were aware of editions 1 through 3 … which you probably aren’t. We’re talking about the master whiskey list at Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse in the Venetian, which has just been expanded by about 90 bottles, now making it a daunting 435 selections of Scottish, Irish, Canadian, Japanese and American whiskies (including bourbons).

Sound like a big number? It is. Nobody’s positive, but it may well be the largest whiskey list available at any public bar in the country. (The Freakin’ Frog’s Whiskey Attic might claim more bottles, but that’s more of a by-appointment establishment.)

“I know when I go out for a steak, I will look for a particular whiskey,” explains Max Solano, beverage manager for Delmonico and sister restaurant Table 10. “So I thought it would be great if we could have a list of unique whiskies and hand-crafted cocktails.”

The list started more humbly three years ago but now can boast the full range of Pappy Van Winkle bottlings, the largest allocation of Buffalo Trace in the state and rare selections such as a 34-year-old single-malt Ladyburn (from a distillery no longer operating) and a 21-year-old single-barrel Willett Bourbon. Still, Solano shies away from the ultra-rare four-digit priced bottles. “We’d rather buy three bottles that people drink than one that collects dust.

“Obviously, the program has been pretty successful,” Solano says. “In fact, we’ve surpassed expectations. I was showing it to Emeril last night, and he was just blown away.”

To show off the spirits, Solano’s created several creative cocktails (some listed, others made by request), such as the S.S. Peach Pit, featuring Rittenhouse 100 in a wood-smouldered glass, and the Scarlet Starlet, built with 10-year Glenmorangie.

Didn’t realize Delmonico’s selection was so extensive? Don’t feel bad; they’ve been pretty low-key about it. “We joke that we may be the best-kept secret on the Strip,” Solano says. Until now.

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