The Famous Cocktails & Drinks of Las Vegas Figures

Bartender Making Iconic Martinis at Las Vegas Bar

At Circa Las Vegas, we like to raise a toast to those who helped form this city. And why not do it with their favorite cocktails? Raise a glass to Liberace with a glass of Champagne, or to Frank Sinatra with a simple Jack on ice. Read on to learn more about the famous cocktails and drinks of important Las Vegas figures, and the interesting stories behind them.


Famous Cocktails & Drinks of Las Vegas Legends


Bugsy Siegel | Champagne

Before hitting the streets of Las Vegas, Bugsy Siegel was a big proponent in the alcohol business – which really means he ran multiple bootlegging gangs and operations on the East Coast during Prohibition. After rising in the ranks there, he came over to Vegas with status and notoriety. Being one of the biggest mobsters in Las Vegas, Bugsy Siegel appreciated the finer things in life after his days of robbing rival booze cargoes in New York and Jersey. You could catch him enjoying Champagne and cocktails with his pals, which included Clark Gable, Cary Grant, and Frank Sinatra – another alcohol aficionado.


Howard Hughes | Aviation

Howard Hughes is no doubt one of the founders of Las Vegas, and one of the most eccentric characters the world has seen. His impact has not only changed the city, but it has also helped a classic cocktail rise to fame. Hughes himself was not a drinker (though he had many other vices), but he and his company became synonymous with a certain cocktail – the Aviation. The cocktail was originally created in 1911 and printed in 1916, far before Howard Hughes could even drink if he chose to, but the cocktail quickly became synonymous with the Hughes Aircraft Company after it was formed in 1932.


Liberace in Back of Rolls Royce with Champagne GlassesSource: Mental Floss / Terry Disney


Liberace | Champagne

Another champagne lover came to Vegas in the form of one of the most legendary performers the city has seen. Liberace was already a well-known name when he came to Vegas and started making $50,000 per week at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in 1955. Because of his status and quick rise to fame, he was known for his eccentric nature and lavish lifestyle. That extended into his drinking preferences, which mostly entailed high-end champagne. There are stories of Liberace offering Champagne and caviar in the back of his crystal-studded Rolls Royce, which doubled as a full bar when in his garage – the finest way to enjoy a glass of bubbly.


Rat Pack | Martinis & Rusty Nails

It’s hard to think of historic Las Vegas figures and not think of the Rat Pack – the epitome of class and coolness in the 1960s. The guys could be found lounging at the bar before and after performances, sipping on Martinis and Rusty Nails that matched their vibe. In the Pack, the guys had their own drink preferences (mostly a preferred brown liquor) in addition to those cocktail favorites. Frank Sinatra loved Jack Daniels, but he also liked a good Margarita, Old Fashioned, and Manhattan. Dean Martin was known to be a bourbon guy and was known as the lovable drunk. Sammy Davis Jr. would order highball with a Japanese whisky to fill it. These guys knew how to make it look classy.


Elvis Presley and Friends Drinking Pepsi


Elvis Presley | Pepsi

Not every Las Vegas legend chose alcohol as their drink of choice. Elvis Presley was never a big drinker aside from a peach brandy incident he had when he was younger. Instead, he opted for a cold glass of Pepsi. It’s even rumored by songwriter Otis Blackwell that the famous Elvis song “All Shook Up” was inspired by a shaken bottle of Pepsi – though the King himself denies that origin story. Regardless, there can be many photos found of Elvis and his crew drinking Pepsi bottles. His love for Pepsi became well known, and today you can find vintage Pepsi memorabilia commemorating the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.


Where to Drink Like a Legend in Las Vegas


These legends and important figures in Las Vegas history have made their mark on the city, and now it’s your turn to do so as well. At Legacy Club, the name says it all. Arrive at the 60th floor at Circa Las Vegas to be welcomed by the busts of the Las Vegas founding fathers, 1000 ounces in gold, and incredible views of Las Vegas at this rooftop bar dedicated to the legends of the city.

Just like Bugsy Siegel and Liberace, be lavish and pop a bottle of Champagne. Or be a bit like the Rat Pack and order off of the extensive whiskey list. And while you probably shouldn’t live like the eccentric Howard Hughes, you can still order the Aviation or a number of other craft cocktails carefully created by the talented bartenders. Better yet, create your own signature cocktail! Learn the ropes with the Legacy Club craft cocktail course, have the time of your life, and make your own Las Vegas history.