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September 21, 2014

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Rhumbar cocktail server Mallory Phelps melts our caipirinhas

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Sam Morris

Rhumbar cocktail server Mallory Phelps

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Brazil has a national cocktail and it's called the caipirinha. Made with cachaca, a spirit that, like rum, is derived from sugarcane, the caipirinha is as synonymous with Brazil as the mint julep is with Louisville, or the Manhattan is with the New York City borough. Rhumbar's take mixes Leblon cachaca with strawberries, lime and cane sugar, then tops it all off with lime espuma - or as you might refer to it after three or four strawberry caipirinhas, the tasty, foamy stuff.

Mallory Phelps is a growler. As in, she likes to roar at people. For no apparent reason. She does it to friends ... and co-workers ... and customers. Like a lion, but not as loud, and just to get a reaction out of people: Raaawr!

Lately, Phelps has had a lot to growl about. She celebrated her one-year anniversary as a cocktail server at the indoor/outdoor Rhumbar at The Mirage and has seen the Stripside bar grow into something of a juggernaut in a city filled with competition.

"In the winter, people thought we'd struggle," Phelps said. "But we really didn't because we had the heaters, and we still had our DJ. Then, in the summer, we thought we'd struggle again because it's so scorching hot, but everyone loves the outside atmosphere."

It turns out people love Rhumbar in any kind of weather, and Phelps is a big part of that equation. Her sunny disposition keeps guests coming back for cocktails like the Latin Manhattan (her personal fave) and cigars from owner Michael Frey's humidor. And now that Rhumbar has added a few new themed nights — the reggae-tinged Puff 'n' Pulse Thursdays, the Latin-flavored Havanatone Wednesdays — every day is an occasion for celebration, and Phelps knows it.

"I love coming to work," she said. "When I used to work at other nightclubs, it was just, 'Ugh, another night,' but every night is different here ... Everyone is so friendly, and the whole management, too. It's like family."

— Originally published in Las Vegas Magazine

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