Las Vegas, the shimmering and pulsating city where everything is impressive: from the scope of its famed casinos to the stature of its iconic landmarks.
At the ARIA Resort and Casino, located on the city’s bustling Las Vegas Boulevard, that also includes the beverage operation which supplies juices for breakfast and syrups for cocktails across the expansive property’s 30 different restaurants and bars.
At the center of it all is Chef Carlos Guia, an accomplished longtime figure in Vegas who has been the Executive Chef of the resort’s F&B operations since 2019.
“Our program is special because each restaurant is unique,” says Guia referring to the operation that provides a plethora of libations and liquids for everywhere from the Chinese and Pan-Asian restaurants Blossom and Din Tai Fung, the French cafe ARIA Patisserie, and the seafood favorite CATCH- just to name a few. “We are consistently presenting new tastes and flavors in our restaurant menus, utilizing seasonal ingredients when curating various dishes, and collaborating with talented chefs to develop outstanding, venue-specific F&B programs,” explains Guia.
With so many establishments in need of everything from juice to simple syrup, beverages and their ingredients come from one centralized space in a series of cavernous rooms underneath the property. That means utilizing a single juicer that serves the entire property, a behemoth of a machine called the Zumex Z450. It can produce 160 gallons of juice every hour. “Fresh orange juice is the fan favorite at ARIA,” says Guia. “The juicer was manufactured in Valencia, Spain and it juices an average of around 11,000 oranges per day.”
In addition, Guia notes that most of the syrups used in house were initially developed under his watchful eye by the resort’s beverage team. Syrups his team regularly have on hand include everything from cucumber, ginger, and grapefruit to tangy ones like Fresno chili and red bell pepper. There are also off-beat flavors like rhubarb and honeydew. “My favorite syrup is called the Savannah Sipper,” notes Guia. “It’s also the name of the drink on our mocktail menu at CATCH. The syrup adds just a hint of citrus to make the most refreshing white peach tea.
Guia revealed to CHILLED the ARIA’s famous recipe for Old Fashioned Syrup, perfect for whipping up the classic cocktail for a crowd.
- Pour 50 ounces water, 40 ounces of dark brown sugar, 40 ounces turbinado sugar, and 3 cinnamon sticks in a 2-gallon pot.
- Muddle 3 ounces of dried cherries and add it in the pot and stir.
- Peel three oranges and place them into the pot.
- Let all the ingredients come to a simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to steep for 15-20 minutes to extract the color and flavor and then strain.
- Lastly, allow time for the syrup to cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 30 days.