The trails that connect The Cliffs village of Summerlin to the adjacent open space and ridgeline are more than just a popular walking place for community residents. If you ask Jennifer Higgins and Megan Wilkes, co-founders of Vegas Baby Vodka, those trails are a popular place to conduct business for the two entrepreneurs and long-time friends who both call the Summerlin village home. They frequently meet up – dogs in tow – and the conversation ultimately drifts toward the business venture they founded two years ago.
In 2019, Vegas Baby Vodka secured distribution with Southern Wine & Spirits, participated in the popular food/wine/spirits event, Vegas Uncork’d, as well as a major event for local nonprofit JDRF – all of which helped to put the Vegas-themed vodka on the map. The first retail outlet to sell Vegas Baby Vodka was Roy’s Liquor just outside of Summerlin, and poplar outlets like Total Wine in Reno are starting to grow the brand statewide.
Wilkes, a long-time Las Vegan who moved to the “edge” of town near Rainbow Blvd. in 1976, attended Bishop Gorman before attending UNR and UNLV. Over the years, she inched closer to Summerlin, landing in the community 20 years ago. Today, she and her three young adult children, one of which is still at home attending Faith Lutheran, enjoy all that Summerlin offers. The oft-used hiking path is literally across the street; she takes regular cooking classes at Sur La Table at Downtown Summerlin; works out at TruFusion; shops at Trader Joe’s; and her daughter skates at City National Arena.
“Our universe is pretty much Summerlin,” she said, of the fact that the community is one-stop for just about everything her family needs.
Higgins, who moved here ten years ago from Winter Park, says Downtown Summerlin is a little piece of her home in Florida.
“I grew up taking the family boat across the lake to the shopping center across the way, home to Pottery Barn, Ann Taylor and just about every brand name you could think of,” said Higgins. “Downtown Summerlin feels like home, and I especially love the Farmers’ Market. I have made friends with many of the vendors and try to get there as often as I can. The Market embodies the strong sense of community that I feel in Summerlin.”
Higgins’ three adult children include two sons, ages 26 and 28, who are also working for Vegas Baby Vodka, and a daughter who attends the University of Texas at Austin. Higgins hopes her daughter will eventually join the business, truly making it a family affair.
In fact, it is the “weird” city of Austin that is the inspiration for Vegas Baby Vodka. According to Higgins, the idea for the vodka was born when she was in Austin visiting her daughter while sipping her favorite cocktail, a classic Cosmopolitan.
Launching a vodka brand was both exhilarating and intimidating, but she tackled it with gusto, starting first with licensing and trademarking before venturing into manufacturing. Vegas Baby Vodka is distilled in Bozeman, MT, where the water is exceptionally smooth and the perfect foundation for the perfect vodka.
So next time you’re looking for a special spirit, check out Vegas Baby Vodka. Your neighbors, Jennifer Higgins and Megan Wilkes, will thank you.