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Gian Magnone

Secrets Behind the Ginger Spice Cocktail

    Gian Magnone, Bartender/Mixologist, ROK Vegas
Rob Boyer, General Manager, ROK Vegas

TravelsinTaste.com recently spoke with two of its newest culinary sounding boards: bartender/mixologist Gian (short for GianCarlo) Magnone and General Manager Rob Boyer, both of ROK Vegas in the New York-New York Hotel & Casino. Magnone was part of the opening team of ROK Vegas and has been creating unique and tasty cocktails there for the past two years. Boyer plucked him from San Diego -- Club Envy at the Ivy -- after seeing his great potential and flair for surprising yet tasty cocktails. It's no wonder, as Magnone studied architecture and uses his knowledge of design to create truly cutting-edge cocktails. His ultimate dream is to create concepts for restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels. Until then, however, we're happy to sit back and enjoy Magnone's inventive and tasty cocktails. In fact, we did so recently when we spoke with both him and Boyer, who've just debuted a special new cocktail for the holidays, called the Ginger Spice. Of course, we got the inside scoop on this cocktail, which includes Goldschlager, Baileys and a unique house-infused flavor of Absolut vodka, all topped off with gold leaf and a cinnamon stick.

TravelsinTaste: We're told this cocktail is similar to an oatmeal cookie shot. Can you explain?

Magnone: The oatmeal cookie shot is a bartender classic with two primary ingredients: Baileys and Goldschlager, which are two of our ingredients, as well. What makes ours unique is the house-infused Absolut vodka.

TravelsinTaste: Speaking of unique, what are some of the things that differentiate your cocktail and make it unique?

Magnone: We use 100 percent edible 100 percent gold flake -- the same gold flake that is in Goldschlager. As I mentioned, we also use our own infused vodka. It is one of the secrets of the cocktail. We take Absolut vodka and we steep that in ginger root for seven days. This is literally a drink that you can only get at ROK because of this factor. Because of the gold leaf and the combination of the ingredients, which pair very well together, it's almost like an adult holiday latte that you could find at a Starbucks, if not for the alcohol and cinnamon sticks. One of the things that Rob and I were thinking about was possibly adding a layer of whipped cream on top. There's a caramel-flavored, alcohol-infused whipped cream that we are looking to put on top, to add to the gold leaf and give it a little bit more flair and unique flavor. But the key is the ginger-infused alcohol, which you can only get with us.

TravelsinTaste: A caramel- and alcohol-infused whipped cream? Where can you get that?

Magnone: It is available to anyone crafty enough to deal with all of the different distributors. It is hard to get your hands on it, as you need a direct line to a distributor.

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