The Art of Summertime DrinkingJune 6, 2012 By: Alissa Ponchione
Summertime means lounging by the pool, and Omni Hotels & Resorts is combating the summer heat with its Art of Water cocktail menu to help guests keep cool.
Rolled out over Memorial Day weekend, the menu, designed by Patrick Henry Creative Promotions, is served at Omni pools only. Cocktails, made by Liquid Architecture founder Kim Haasarud, represent each region of the United States to give a taste of every part of the country. Omni also partnered with Keeper Springs Natural Spring Water, Coolhaus All-Natural Ice Cream Sandwiches, and worked with professional photographer Larry Emerson, who created the images for the menu.
Cocktails from each region include: ‘The Deep End’ Sangria, Elderflower Champagne Collins, Long Island Sound, Ginger Blossom Pick and Skinny Grapefruit Tequila Spritzer in the Northeast; on the Southeast’s menu, guests can enjoy the Blood Orange Collins, Beachwalker Sangria, Peach Pick, Strawberry Mojito and Tangerine & Mint Tequila Spritzer; the Texas region menu includes Stoli Corona, Watermelon Lime Sangria, Grilled Pineapple Cocktail, Lemon Tea Smash and Skinny Chipotle Margarita; and the West Coast menu features Raspberry Pick, Blood Orange Collins, White Sangria, Summer Lemon Collins and Sea Salt Margarita.
The Blood Orange Collins and The Lemon Tea Smash
With 26 pools and four different regions, Omni was looking for someone who would be able to take on each region’s persona, creating a drink that reflected the different tastes and preferences of guests.
“Kim has worked with us before and has for many jobs … she was a natural,” explains David Morgan, VP of food and beverage for Omni Hotels & Resorts, about working with Hassarud.
Morgan explains that each menu has five mandated cocktails, and each hotel can add as many additional items as they like.
From discussing what “makes each region special as it relates to the pool” and understanding the demands of a pool bar, Morgan said the menu emphasizes batch cocktails, consolidating garnishes and the ability to “do drinks that take ice and sustain heat.”
Omni is no stranger to rolling out cocktail menus that highlight regional flavor and flare, but Morgan explains it took time to come up with something for the summer, especially a menu designed and designated for the pool area. It was “a matter of adding another part of the experience for the guest,” he says.
Morgan says Omni guests are “becoming more knowledgeable,” and “customers are coming to expect (signature drinks). They expect to see unique cocktails, but they want them (the drinks) to be approachable.”
Although Morgan would like to claim Omni as being avant garde with its drinks menu, he knows the company is “really reacting to what the consumer asks of us,” he says.
It’s about being approachable, he says, and the subtle descriptions of the menu highlight what Omni does best: a refined and attractive way to have guests ordering drinks poolside and enjoying the warm weather.
“We wanted to try to create a program that had layers of complexity and differentiation,” he said, explaining that partnering with each brand was done with thoughtful consideration.
Although the menu just launched, Morgan already is noticing guests clamoring to sip on these signature cocktails. “I was in Orlando this week, at one of our biggest pools, and what surprised me was the amount of Sangria we were selling. That went over huge.”
Though Morgan admits it’s hard to come up with something tempting for everyone but still different enough to seem unique. The Art of Water “evolved quite a bit,” from its original idea, he says, adding, “it can’t be so specific, but it can’t be so generic that it’s easily duplicated either.”
“How do we come up with these ideas? There’s a lot of brainstorming,” he quips.