Andrew Pollard is the resident mixologist at the Wynn Las Vegas
Better Bartending: Where are you from originally?
Andrew Pollard: Phoenix, AZ
BB: What brought you to Las Vegas?
AP: I moved to Las Vegas to pursue a bartending career and feel fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to have been able to do so. I got my start as a bar porter at Tangerine Nightclub in 2004 and worked my way up to barback/bartender, absorbing any bit of experience I could. I was very blessed to have worked with the best in town—Ken Hall, Tobin Ellis and Tony Rossi, just to name a few.
BB: How did you get started in bartending/mixology?
AP: I actually got my start at a very early age: During gatherings with friends, I always seemed to be the one to play bartender, as often I was hosting. My parents owned a wedding reception hall, and I was eventually hired by a third party special events company as a bartender.
From there, my best friend and I thought it would be great to move to Las Vegas and become bartenders. It was in late 2006 when I became inspired to pursue more of a mixology focus. I had moved on to lead bartender upon the opening of Social House Japanese Restaurant, which afforded me the opportunity to get more creative and work towards finding my own identity.
We opened Noir Bar in mid-2007, which was the first of its kind in Las Vegas, a dedicated cocktail “speakeasy” feeling concept, which gave us a shotgun start into mixology, and I really cut my teeth there.
BB: What’s your favorite cocktail to drink?
AP: Beauty in simplicity is my approach. Depending on the setting, if I choose a mixed cocktail, it will typically be a Gin Martini of sorts (Classic Dry, 50/50, Tuxedo), Gin Rickey, Gin & Tonic (tonic pending) or Campari Soda/Aperol Spritzer. Most often it’s simply Dry Sherry, Champagne, agave or Fernet. Sometimes all of the above!
BB: What’s your favorite cocktail to make for others?
AP: I relish in shifting the mindset of people’s perceptions of what they like/don’t like, as often times, they honestly don’t know until they’ve tried something. I take the “trust me, you’ll like it or I’ll buy it approach” in an effort to create that “ah-ha” moment, giving the guest something they have never experienced before. At that point, you have nothing to lose. And to date, I haven’t paid for many drinks, so I suppose it works!
BB: Least-favorite cocktail to make?
I’ve never really thought about that, as I don’t necessarily have a least favorite cocktail to make. I suppose if I did have one, and situationally was “weeded,” I would say a proper Ramos Gin Fizz.
BB: What’s one of the new cocktails you’ve developed for Wynn?
AP: The first major project this year will be the much anticipated launch of “Le Rêve,” the property’s new signature cocktail, which features Lillet Rosé aperitif, Giffard Pamplemousse Rosé liqueur and Aperol, garnished with strawberry caviar and elderflower perfume.
¼ oz. Simple syrup
¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
½ oz. Aperol
1 oz. Giffard Pamplemousse Rose
1 ½ oz. Lillet Rosé
Perrier-Jouët Brut Champagne
Combine all ingredients (except Champagne) in a shaker with ice; shake and strain simultaneously with champagne over fresh ice. Garnish with rose petal topped off with strawberry cocktail caviar. Atomize with elderflower perfume.