So many people lament getting older but there are benefits to age. One is developing a better appreciation for food and drink. Of course the media focus on homegrown, handmade and a preparer’s attention to detail and ingredients also plays a role. I find this especially true when I travel.
A sunny destination for most usually consists of a fair share of tropical cocktails and my husband and I are no exception. Our south of the border destinations has us lounging by the pool or on the beach with a brightly coloured frozen rum concoction in our hand while the kids play in the surf and sand. It wasn’t really about the drink but more about that postcard moment of an alcohol-laden smoothie with a wedge of pineapple and paper umbrella perched on the side. It’s what you did when vacationing.
Then our first trip to Hawaii changed all that. My husband and I, usually purveyors of local craft beer, decided to delve into the world of handcrafted cocktails and our eyes were opened.
When planning our visit to Omni Amelia Island Resort you can imagine how excited I was when I heard about their new Rum & Tequila Experience. Those looking for more of a drink experience than just a poolside concoction will want to meander over to the Rum & Tequila Experience hut conveniently located by the hotel’s main pool. You’ll find no frozen daiquiri slushy machine here (though for the frozen cocktail fan you can still get your fill at the Oceanside Restaurant‘s pool bar).
From the menu you can select from an array of rum or tequila based cocktails crafted with care and only the freshest ingredients. Forget those pre-made mixes. Even the simple syrups are made by hand.
A mojito fan the Cold Fusion was the first creation I tried. It uses one of my favourite fruit infused rums, Bacardi Pineapple Fusion rum, and the muddled fresh pineapple and mint made this one refreshing drink. Of course I have to say my favourite cocktail had to be the Watermelon Nouveau with fresh muddled watermelon, raspberries and mint. This has to be one of the best cocktails I have ever enjoyed. So much so that I think I had three of these over the course of one day by the pool.
My husband enjoyed the Enchanted Tiki which the bartender said was more of a sipper, a cocktail that invites you to savour it slowly.
I love my rum in a cocktail but I have heard it said that to really appreciate the total drink you should understand the individual ingredients. With a selection of over 100 premium rum and tequilas, you can do just that ordering by the glass. If you’re like me and don’t know much about rum or tequila try a sampling flight. Each flight includes 3 related rums or tequilas giving you the chance to taste first hand the subtle differences between blends under the guide of the hotel’s knowledgable staff. I have heard that should you not finish your samples a custom cocktail can be made for you using the items remaining in your drink fight. Now that’s an experience.
Don’t let the plastic cups fool you. These are premium tasting drinks that happen to require pool-worthy cups. We were even able to get the kids some fresh made smoothies, blended to perfection with fresh fruit.
Of course I enjoyed the amazing taste of the specialty cocktails created at the Rum & Tequila Experience hut so much that I never got around to trying a rum flight. This is definitely on my list to do in the future. With handcrafted cocktails made with the freshest ingredients and the amazing Select Guest service, I’m sure this won’t be our family’s first visit to the delightful Omni Amelia Island Resort.