Nothing says welcome quite like a beverage.
Over the centuries, that ahhh-some refreshment has often been alcoholic (water and water storage being suspect). Resorts in the Caribbean and other steamy climes embraced this tradition, offering the newly arrived sugary fruit punch, with or without rum. More recently, boutique, upscale all-inclusives and ultra-luxury hotels have kicked it up another notch—as part of an enhanced arrival experience, signature cocktails initiate guest immersion in the hotel brand.
In the best instances, these signature beverages are more than refreshing or relaxing. They evoke a sense of time and place that is in symbiotic harmony with the hotel or resort.
Bottoms up to this sampling of offerings. They’re all designed to be key elements of a soft landing after the rigors of travel.
The classic Prosecco-and-peach cocktail known as the Bellini was the inspiration of Giuseppe Cipriani at legendary Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy (which also invented carpaccio and was a fave of Hemingway as well as Hollywood and European royalty). So, what could be more signature than being greeted with a Bellini at this posh hotel run by fourth-generation Cipriani brothers Ignazio and Maggio? Guests enjoy the family beverage in the Lobby Lounge while the front desk takes care of all those bothersome details of check-in.
Talk about authenticity. The Buccaneer, on the idyllic island of St. Croix, is the oldest family-run resort in the Caribbean, dating to the 1700s. It welcomes guests with a hyper-local rum punch. There’s an old sugar mill on property (now used for weddings and the weekly manager’s reception), where local cane that became rum was formerly crushed. Today the rum comes from right down the road, made at Cruzan Rum distillery, family-run since the early 1800s.
When guest boats arrive from Little Torch, the Gumby Slumbers are waiting. It’s hammock bait, matey. Two kinds of rum (spiced and coconut), plus pineapple, orange and cranberry juices. Then these babies are topped with a “shot” of shredded coconut marinated in 151-proof rum. A resort bartender created this signature drink in the 1980s, and the cocktail and the name he gave it live on. Drinking it, you relax into a Gumby-like state, and soon it’s snooze time.
Guests checking in at this dreamy, Pueblo-style resort between Sante Fe and Albuquerque are greeted with a signature Margarita de Miel, made with lavender-infused honey sourced right on property. The resort is home to two beehives that house more than 80,000 bees. Guests can sip the drink while touring the resort, which recently renovated its 350 guest rooms and is set to complete a remodel to its lobby and reception area in late 2017.
At this mountain resort, signature means seasonal. In summer, groups, VIPs and residence owners are offered an arrival amenity of a bourbon-based cocktail (from top distilleries such as Eagle Rare, W. L. Weller or Four Roses) made with summer Colorado fruits. During winter months, the offering is made using unique ingredients from around the world to elevate classics such as the Old Fashioned and Brooklyn. Fans of inventive elixirs can also enjoy them at The Remedy, the resort’s pre-Prohibition-style bar.