Jason Shullo is the corporate director of beverage of Golden Entertainment in Las Vegas, which includes the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, The Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin, NV, and PT’s Entertainment Group’s portfolio of taverns.
What was your first bartending job?
My first bartending job was at Ken Stewart’s lodge, which served upscale American dishes in a suburb of Cleveland.
What’s your favorite spirit to work with at the moment?
I have been using gin and vodka quite a bit recently. They lend themselves well to beer-centric drinks that I am working on for an exciting new Tap House concept at the Stratosphere.
How do you approach creating unique cocktail menus at each of Golden Entertainment’s properties?
Because we have such a wide variety of clientele demographics across our properties, I like to start with a flavor profile, then think of ways to put a little fun into the preparation or garnish. We eat and drink with our eyes, so it’s important to make the drink look as good as it tastes.
For the most part, I like to keep things simple and avoid overcomplicating drinks. I enjoy taking classic cocktails and introducing a twist or flavor combination that people haven’t had before.
What’s are some of the more popular cocktails you’ve created recently for Golden Entertainment?
The “Hard Eight” was one of the favorites from one my recent menus, which is a gin-based cocktail based with St. Germain, mint, lemon and bitters—refreshing and very floral.
Las Vegas is a competitive hospitality market; what’s the biggest challenge/opportunity in operating a bar there?
The competition is what makes this business fun. We are fortunate to live in a city that drives so many locals to go out for a good time. We always try to be proactive to identify the upcoming beverage and industry trends to think of new, creative ideas.
What’s your current go-to cocktail or beverage?
I like to keep it simple and can be found drinking a beer, Negroni or shots of Fernet Branca.
Would you share one of the most popular or one of your favorite drink recipes?
The Bibiana was definitely one of the favorites from our most recent cocktail at Top of the World at the Stratosphere. It’s made with anejo tequila, pomegranate liqueur, lime juice, agave and Hellfire bitters to be refreshing.
1 oz. Don Julio Anejo tequila
1 oz. Pama pomegranate liqueur
½ oz. Lime juice
½ oz. Agave nectar
3 dashes Hellfire bitters
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with a sliced Fresno chili and a lime wheel.