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On May 6, 1806 the word 'cocktail' was used for the first time and a unique art form came to life. A new museum at Commander's Palace in Desert Passage at the Aladdin Casino takes visitors on the exciting journey of the American cocktail. Entry to the museum is free.

A nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and preservation of the colorful history of the cocktail, The Museum of the American Cocktail was founded by numerous mixologists, historians, restaurateurs, collectors, chefs and writers with a passion for the art. Originally housed in New Orleans, the museum was displaced by Hurricane Katrina and has now made Las Vegas its home.

Arranged in a timeline format, the exhibit traces the history of the cocktail through the past 200 years beginning with "First stirrings: The birth of the cocktail" and ending with "The end of the Golden Era: 1950s - 1990s." Other interesting displays include "Paradise in a glass: Tiki and the tropical cocktail" and "New Orleans Heritage." Numbered markers in the shape of martini glasses guide you through the more than two dozen display cases in the exhibit.

Memorabilia on loan to the museum comes from the private collections of museum founders and members and includes vintage decanters, bottles, shakers, advertisements, barware and Prohibition-era literature. Perhaps the oldest and most interesting artifact on display is a distiller's manual from 1797. Also found at the museum are "The Complete Distiller" by Ambrose Cooper and "Bar-Tender's Guide" by Jerry Thomas.

Other items on display at the museum are several absinthe bottles, including two with liqueur still in them and a collection of portraits of famous bartenders of the 19th century.

The museum will also offer a "Mixology Seminar Series" for a nominal fee. Seminar topics rotate monthly, the first of which will be the "Anatomy of the Cocktail," presented by world-renowned mixologists Francesco Lafranconi and Dale DeGroff. Additional seminars will include "Great Classic Cocktails at Home" and "Cocktail 200 - Honoring the 200th Birthday of the Cocktail." Throughout each seminar, Commander's Palace will serve a specialty six-course cocktail dinner menu featuring items like Creole-spiced Gulf shrimp, Louisiana crawfish ceviche and wild honey-lacquered Drambuie Drunken Quail.

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