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The Atomic Cocktail

Updated: May 10

Considering the nuclear secrets that were being served up at the Isobar, how could I resist this cocktail? (Did you miss that post? check it out here) Las Vegas is 65 miles north of the Nevada Test Site for the atom bomb. Between 1951 and 1992, this site was the most used nuclear test site in the United States. Since the mushrooms clouds were visible up to 100 miles away, these blasts generated considerable tourism in nineteen fifties Las Vegas. Many casinos hosted watching parties and atomic-themed parties to watch the blasts and so of course a Las Vegas bartender came up with this Atomic -themed cocktail.

Be warned- this cocktail lives up to its name. If the French 75 was aptly named for the 75 millimeter field gun used during WWI, this cocktail is indeed more powerful than that one. Whereas the French 75 contains a single spirit and champagne, the Atomic cocktail contains two different spirits and a hint of sherry(!) in addition to Champagne. While this is a very powerful cocktail, it doesn't taste that way at all. Which is why it's so dangerous. It's so well balanced and smooth that it's hard to even discern the vodka and cognac in it. This is definitely a cocktail that requires some restraint, which is hard, because it really is damn good.


  • 1 oz vodka

  • 1 oz. cognac

  • 1/4 oz. sherry

  • Champagne Stir the first three ingredients with ice and pour into a coupe. Top with Champagne, sparkling wine or a dry Prosecco.

Phillip Harben, chef at the Isobar, has an excellent section on cocktails (and wine) in his fabulous book Entertaining at Home. The book also contains a selection of classic cocktails and excellent advice about serving cocktails in the section titled, The Way to Drink. Given the potency of the Atomic cocktail, I've decided to include some of his sound advice here: "If one of your guests falls a victim, do all in your power to render first aid-particularly moral first aid, for nothing aggravates a hang-over more than remorse. An athlete may pull a muscle; fishermen sometimes hurt themselves with their hook. Accidents will happen. And which of us should cast the first stone? Those who have never been affected know nothing about it." Did you miss the post on Isokon and the Isobar you can read all about it here.


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