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We Ask Mariena Mercer Boarini How to Create An Attention-Grabbing Cocktail Program

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Resort Mixologist at Wynn Las Vegas, Mariena Mercer Boarini is a veteran of the Sin City mixology scene.

Photo by Eric Jamison

She’s in charge of putting together beverage menus for over 30 venues across the entire property. In each of the establishments, Mariena makes sure curated stories are told through sophisticated, thrilling, and unforgettable cocktails experiences.

Among the plethora of drink programs Mariena creates is a spot recognized and awarded by the Forbes Travel Guide. Bordering Wynn’s Lake of Dreams is Lakeside, a seafood restaurant where guests can enjoy line-caught fish and other delicacies sourced from international waters prepared by Executive Chef David Middleton and his team. Highlights of the award winning menu include Dover sole from Holland, roasted red Alaskan king crab legs, and sea urchin from Santa Barbara. Complementing the top-tier eats are nightly shows that blend colorful puppetry coupled with immersive soundtracks, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting.

Along with Chef Middleton’s delectable cuisine, the breathtaking views of the famed Lake of Dreams inspire the drink menu. The serves are all inspired by wonder and whimsy, like the gorgeous Zephyr, served in a Pufferfish glass, or the Bora Bora in the Conch Shell.

“I wanted to create an immersive experience with multi-sensory cocktails that excite and seduce the senses, while complementing the delicate flavors of the cuisine. The Golden Hour cocktail celebrates dining on the patio near the Lake of Dreams at that perfect time of the evening when the sun is going down with its golden hue,” added Mariena.

Rivaling the cocktails in terms of creativity and luxury are the zero-proof beverages. The Bohemian rhapsody and The Lapis both exhibit Mercer Boarini’s passion for creating unique experiences for all types of imbibers.

Chilled asked the expert menu-crafter what it takes to run a successful drink program, and she was kind enough to share some helpful tips.

  • “Be nimble and think outside the box. I’m never detoured by problems. I always welcome a challenge, as I love to find creative and thoughtful ways to problem-solve.”
  • “Think big, solve granularly. I approach beverage programs similar to a kitchen, which is why I enjoy working for high-volume, large-scale projects.”
  • “Be observant. Before I design a menu for a room, I spend time in the space observing all phases of an operation. I spend time with the bar team to understand any challenges or areas of focus. Then I study any topic of confluence with the thematics of the room.”

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