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The Daily Beverage Ritual

Tampa Bay Food Tours Partner Spotlight Series

We love our restaurant partners!  Each month we will be highlighting a special person and experience behind the scenes that help make our Food Tours exceptional.  We hope you find their stories and passion as inspiring as we do.

This month, we feature The Daily Beverage Ritual at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club

Blog and Photos by Kelly Marley, Taste Ambassador

 

The Daily Beverage Ritual

How do YOU say Happy Hour?  It’s 5:00 somewhere? Wine Down Wednesday?  Thirsty Thursday? TGIF? There are so many ways we tell our friends it’s time to close down the work day and enjoy each other’s company with a refreshing cocktail, wine, or beer.

One of our favorite places to enjoy Happy Hour is the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg, which is the starting point for our St. Pete Beach Dine and Wine Tour!  This beautiful and historic hotel is a feast for the eyes, and Brendan Clough, the Food and Beverage Manager, makes sure our evening kicks off in style.  Brendan manages the day to day operations of the Lobby and Veranda bars in this 4 star resort, which is the crown jewel of Beach Drive.

The Vinoy Renaissance is a Marriott hotel, and a “Daily Beverage Ritual” is celebrated across all Marriott Renaissance hotels each weekday.  Here at the Vinoy, it begins in the Lobby Bar at 5:25 pm. This start time is a tip to the historic hotel opening date in 1925. Upscale, high end and polished, it is anything but stuffy!  The bartenders create a casual and friendly atmosphere against a backdrop of Florida color and flavor.

Opening in 1925, the Vinoy has a long and storied history which started in the era of Prohibition.  The Daily Beverage Ritual brings it back to life on a rolling cart with a Prohibition era style bathtub, where spirits were distilled.  This is where the cocktail of the day is presented. All the ingredients are showcased on the cart, along with the recipe cards. When the bathtub is empty, the Ritual ends, and the cart is rolled back into the kitchen.  Of course, the beautiful Veranda and Lobby bars are open to continue the celebration of another day.

While a traditional cocktail is certainly available at the Vinoy, the excitement is in the specialty cocktails on the menu, which rotate seasonally.  100% of the specialty cocktails are made with fresh ingredients each day – fruits are cut, squeezed, and even the simple syrup is made fresh. The Mise En Place (bar set up) in both the Veranda and the Lobby bars are identical, and full of fresh fruit, bitters, herbs, and all the necessary bar accessories to create a cocktail guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Another unique offering at the Vinoy Renaissance is the partnership with Old St. Pete Distillery.  Their spirits are featured in the Lobby and Veranda bars, the Marchands Bar and Grill, and the newest restaurant overlooking the water, Paul’s Landing. Copper mugs from the distillery are also part of the ambiance.  Each day, a different spirit is featured in the Beverage Ritual cocktail. In case you have a favorite, here is the daily rotation:

 

The Daily Beverage Ritual Spirits

Monday Old St. Pete Whiskey

Tuesday Old St. Pete Gin

Wednesday Old St. Pete Vodka

Thursday Old St. Pete Dark Rum

Friday Old St. Pete Spiced and Coconut Rum

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With the classic cocktail regaining popularity, up to 100 Old Fashioned cocktails, up to 100 Moscow Mules, and up to 50 Aperol Spritz can be prepared on any given Saturday for guests in the Veranda and Lobby Bars.

The bartenders at the Vinoy Renaissance are very innovative, and submit their own creations for consideration on the menu.  There is no corporate cocktail menu at the Vinoy. With some input from you on your palette, they can also create something unique just for you.  Creative cocktails at the Vinoy have included grapefruit jalapeno margarita, strawberry cucumber margaritas, and berry lemonades with or without alcohol.   Opposing tastes make for interesting beverages – sweet berries and tart lemonade, fruit and spice, anything with both sour and acidic tones.

One of the most popular Mojitos on the menu is the Florida Valencia.  This particular cocktail is made of 3 types of oranges – the Florida Valencia, the Mandarin Orange from Naples Italy, and a variety of orange from Africa.  It is dressed with mint and is very refreshing!

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As the cool weather brings the holidays closer, the cocktail menu will rotate to fall and winter flavors, which will be exciting.  Expect to taste warmer flavors, including smoked cocktails, which is a huge trend now. With the return of classic cocktails from the prohibition era, speakeasy bars, and distilleries popping up across the country, the Vinoy is seeing increased demand for the Old Fashioned, the Negroni, and the Aperol Spritz.  Cocktails that are simple, refreshing, and delicious.

The Frose is definitely a wine trend we can continue to see more of, made with Meiomi rose, and now the Vinoy has a sister drink called the Frozignon Blanc, which is made with Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  This collaboration is the by-product of a partnership with the Vinoy and Constellation Brands.  

Anything with bubbles continues to be popular – Prosecco and Champagne – and are featured through a partnership with Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label.   Cliquot on the Clock is another unique offering at the Vinoy, with pricing of this exclusive champagne varying according to the time of day.  Just another touch of elegance at this beautiful resort! Brendan’s relationships with numerous suppliers continue to elevate the Vinoy experience.

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We are excited to showcase this unique Prohibition style experience during our Tuesday evening St. Pete Beach Drive Dine and Wine Tour.  Complimentary valet parking is available for our guests. Please join us, It’s a great way to kick off your evening and your holidays!

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cheers
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