CREATIVE COCKTAILS

Inventive bartenders convey the flavor of a destination in a glass

By Theresa Gawlas Medoff

AAA World Article

Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Austin
Blue Shark Margarita
Austin, Texas

The flavors of Mexico have strongly influenced the cuisine in Austin, Texas, and the margarita is a popular drink around town. Guests at Four Seasons Hotel Austin can just press the “Margarita” button on the in-room phone to summon a bartender wheeling a cart stocked with ingredients to make any of more than 500 margarita combinations, including the Blue Shark. This fun, ocean-colored take on the classic, which is the booziest margarita on the menu, definitely has a little bite!

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • ½ ounce Blue Curacao
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • splash of simple syrup
  • shark-shaped gummy candy for garnish

Directions

  • Mix all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice.
  • Strain into a margarita glass rimmed with sugar and filled with an oversized ice cube.
  • Garnish by balancing the shark gummy between the ice cube and rim.

  

  Smoked Pimento
C
ourtesy of Hyatt Ziva/Zilara Rose Hall

 

Smoked Pimento Wood and Mint Mojito 

Montego Bay, Jamaica

The pimento tree is indigenous to the Caribbean islands and was later discovered in Cuba and Mexico. It was first identified in Jamaica in 1509 by Spanish explorers, who were immediately taken with the aroma of its leaves and the flavor of its berries (which most English-speaking people know as allspice). From the Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Montego Bay comes this Jamaican spin on the traditional Cuban highball.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • ½ ounce Blue Curacao
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • splash of simple syrup
  • shark-shaped gummy candy for garnish

Directions

For the syrup:

  • Crush a ¼ cup of pimento seeds (allspice) and place them in a pot to cook until aroma comes out.
  • Add 1 qt. of water and 1 qt. of sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved and a syrup has formed.
  • Remove from heat, cover with plastic and let steep for 30 minutes.
  • Place the syrup in a shallow container and set up a smoker with pimento wood and smoke for 1 hour.
  • Strain, cool and reserve the pimento seed for garnish.

For the drink:

  • Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and limes to release the mint oils and lime juice.
  • Add 2 more lime wedges and the smoked pimento wood syrup, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture.
  • Fill the glass almost to the top with ice.
  • Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with carbonated water. Stir, taste, and add more syrup if desired.
  • Garnish with the remaining lime wedge, a sprig of fresh mint, pimento seeds and a small stick of the smoked pimento wood.

  

  Alcoholic Drink
Courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority

Aruba Ariba
Palm Beach,
Aruba

Created in 1963 at what is now the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, the Aruba Ariba has become synonymous with this island in the southwestern Caribbean. The fruity concoction consists of coecoei, vodka, rum, creme de banana, a splash of grenadine, and fruit juice poured over ice and then topped with a bit of Grand Marnier. Coecoei is a liquor made from the sap of local agave plants, and while you can find it at most liquor stores on the island, you’ll need to bring a bottle back home with you as it’s not available outside Aruba. 

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce of vodka
  • ½ ounce of 151 proof rum
  • 1/8 ounce of coecoei
  • 1/8 ounce crème de bananas
  • ½ cup of orange juice
  • ½ cup of cranberry juice
  • ½ cup of pineapple juice
  • splash of Grenadine
  • Grand Marnier
  • ·orange slice

Directions

  • Pour all ingredients except Grenadine and Grand Marnier into a glass and stir slightly.
  • Splash with grenadine.
  • Top with Grand Marnier.
  • Garnish with orange slice.

 

Wagons West
Courtesy of Hilton Lexington Downtown

Wagons West

Lexington, Kentucky

Adam McCraith, beverage manager at the Hilton Lexington Downtown, brings us this Old West-themed variation on the Old Fashioned. It’s bourbon-based, as befits a Kentucky libation, and enhanced with brown sugar syrup, sassafras and sorghum bitters, Grand Marnier, and cherries aged in brandy and root beer. The Lexington Hilton ages the mixture for a month in an American white oak keg, but McCraith gave us an at-home recipe that will be ready to sip in two to three hours.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. whiskey
  • ¼ oz. brown sugar syrup
  • dash of Woodford Reserve bitters
  • 3 drops Grand Marnier
  • 3 cherries aged in brandy

Directions

  • Steep over oak wood chunks for 2–3 hours. (Be sure oak chunks are not treated with fire starter.)
  • Strain and chill.
  • Serve over 1 -2 large ice cubes.

 

 Jean Lafitte
Photo by Denny Culbert

Jean Lafitte
New Orleans, Louisiana

Named for the pirate and bootlegger who operated in New Orleans in the early 19th century, the Jean Lafitte can be found at Loa Bar in the boutique International House Hotel downtown. Make a toast to NOLA’s 300th anniversary with a cocktail intended to represent the city’s cocktail culture, Caribbean influence, and rebellious attitude. The Jean Lafitte is made with rum, pisco, powdered lime, fennel, and Spanish moss foraged from City Park, a 1,300-acre urban park established in 1854.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Matusalem Platino Rum
  • 1 oz. Campo de Encanto Pisco
  • 3/4 oz. Spanish moss syrup
  • 1/2 oz. lime
  • powdered dried lime and fennel for garnish

Directions
For Spanish moss syrup:

  • Spanish moss
  • water
  • sugar

Steep the moss in water over until it’s heavily concentrated. Then put it in a pot with sugar and reduce slowly until the liquid has the consistency of syrup.

For powdered dried lime and fennel:

  • dried limes (available at Greek markets)
  • fennel seed

Combine ingredients in an espresso grinder and use the powdered result to rim the glass.

For the cocktail:

Shake rum, pisco and moss syrup together and serve in a glass rimmed with powdered dried lime and fennel.

  

Clover Club
Courtesy of The Bellevue Hotel Philadelphia

Clover Club
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Clover Club, a gin-based cocktail made with lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and egg white, was invented in Philadelphia in the late 1800s as the signature drink for The Clover Club, a gentleman’s group “dedicated to the accompaniment of wit and eloquence and song.” By 1904, the club was meeting at the ornate Philadelphia hotel known as “The Grand Dame of Broad Street.” The historic lodging that is today The Bellevue Hotel still serves up the famous cocktail at its XIX (Nineteen) restaurant and bar.

Ingredients

  • 1½ oz. Dalmore 12 (12-year-old single malt whiskey)
  • ½ oz.  Merlet cherry liqueur
  • ½ oz. sugar syrup
  • ¾ oz. cherry purée
  • 1/3 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3 dashes chocolate bitters
  • 1 oz. Lallier Champagne

Directions

  • Using a cocktail shaker, place all the ingredients plus some ice in one half. Gently roll these between the two halves of the cocktail shaker.
  • Add the Champagne and then strain into a small whiskey decanter.
  • Using a smoking gun machine (handheld food smoker) and cherry wood chips, add smoke to the decanter and seal with the stopper so that the cocktail is smoked.
  • Serve in a whiskey tumbler with ice and garnish with an orange twist and a cherry.

 

Island Vibes
Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Trinidad

Island Vibes
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

A specialty of the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, the Island Vibes cocktail is as jubilant and colorful as the Caribbean island sometimes referred to as “Rainbow Island” for its rich diversity. Bartenders at the Hyatt Regency make the drink using Angostura single-barrel rum, but you can substitute Angostura’s widely distributed five-year rum. The other ingredients—Blue Curaçao liqueur, mango concentrate, and grenadine—add to the festive color and flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Angostura five-year rum
  • ½ oz. Blue Curacao
  • 3 oz. mango concentrate
  • ½ oz. grenadine
  • ice
  • cherry & orange wedge for garnish

Directions

  • Blend rum, ice, and mango concentrate together using a blender.
  • Add grenadine to the base of a highball glass.
  • Add half of the blended mango mixture to the highball glass
  • Add Blue Curacao.
  • Add remaining blended mango mixture to the glass.
  • Gently stir to incorporate colors.
  • Garnish with an orange wedge and a cherry.

 

The Origin
Courtesy of One Aldwych Hotel

The Origin
London, England
The Origin might just be the first of its kind: a virtual-reality cocktail experience. Served at the Lobby Bar at One Aldwych, a luxury contemporary hotel in London’s Covent Garden district, The Origin is a whisky drink that’s preceded by a two-minute multisensory experience. The customer dons a virtual-reality headset to journey via 3D aerial footage from the Scottish Highlands where the whisky was created, sweeping through Covent Garden and ending up at the Lobby Bar, where the bartender serves the drink at the precise moment when the video finishes.

Ingredients

  • 1½ oz. Dalmore 12 (12-year-old single malt whiskey)
  • ½ oz.  Merlet cherry liqueur
  • ½ oz. sugar syrup
  • ¾ oz. cherry purée
  • 1/3 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3 dashes chocolate bitters
  • 1 oz. Lallier Champagne

Directions

  • Using a cocktail shaker, place all the ingredients plus some ice in one half. Gently roll these between the two halves of the cocktail shaker.
  • Add the Champagne and then strain into a small whiskey decanter.
  • Using a smoking gun machine (handheld food smoker) and cherry wood chips, add smoke to the decanter and seal with the stopper so that the cocktail is smoked.
  • Serve in a whiskey tumbler with ice and garnish with an orange twist and a cherry.