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November 28, 2014

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Raising the Bar

Yellowtail’s Kat Gonzales knows her cocktails

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Beverly Poppe

Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant and Lounge bartender Kat Gonzales

Fresh ingredients are the keystones of Yellowtail's cocktail lineup and the Shiso Sunset lives up to the billing, pitting fresh blood-orange puree and Grey Goose L'Orange vodka against two Japanese staples: yuzu (a sour citrus fruit) and the shiso leaf (an herb akin to mint or basil). Marrying Far East flavor with Las Vegas invention, this cocktail is Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant and Lounge bartender Kat Gonzales' personal favorite.

Fresh ingredients are the keystones of Yellowtail's cocktail lineup and the Shiso Sunset lives up to the billing, pitting fresh blood-orange puree and Grey Goose L'Orange vodka against two Japanese staples: yuzu (a sour citrus fruit) and the shiso leaf (an herb akin to mint or basil). Marrying Far East flavor with Las Vegas invention, this cocktail is Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant and Lounge bartender Kat Gonzales' personal favorite.

When it comes to discussing the cocktail list at Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge at Bellagio, bartender Kat Gonzales does not hold back.

"I've been to all different kinds of places," she said, "and this one definitely has the best."

And the Northridge, Calif., native would know.

Since moving to Las Vegas three years ago from Long Beach, where she began her career, she's held several plush bartending jobs around town, none quite as fulfilling as Yellowtail.

"The beverage program here is something else. Our mixologist really does an amazing job making the cocktails," she said. "Every cocktail on the list is delicious."

Gonzales also presides over an extensive sake selection, everything from your basic nigoris to premium junmai daiginjos, and even some off-the-list standbys for true cocktail connoisseurs.

"We can go from classic cocktails to making a saketini," Gonzales said. "We have a really wide spectrum of cocktails. I really don't ever have to go look at a cocktail book and be like 'What's in that?' I just work. It's nice."

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