Minibars certainly have their place. Need a quick drink before heading out for the afternoon? Sure, they’re great. Want a little nightcap before going to bed? They work fine. But sometimes things call for a bigger celebration than what you can find in a 1.5-ounce bottle. Luckily for those thirsty hotel guests, some places are offering custom cocktail service in the comfort of your room. Our editors are raising a glass to four properties that have put together a fine collection of in-room mixology fun.
The James, New York, Chicago, Miami
All three The James locations—Soho, Chicago and South Beach—give you the necessary accoutrements to mix cocktails, including a pint glass printed with recipes crafted specifically for the in-room amenity. And while the glass and its recipes provide a nice starter kit, hone your skills with the hotel’s In-Room Cocktail Experience (part of the room service menu). You’ll get a variety of liquors and ingredients delivered to your room to create drinks such as a Corpse Reviver 2 (gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc and lemon) and Blood & Sand (bourbon, cherry heering, sweet vermouth and orange). And if you don’t know the difference between neat and on the rocks, no worries—a mixologist will come whip up the libations for you, giving tips and pointers along the way.
Cavallo Point, San Francisco
This San Francisco hotel near the Marin Headlands features gorgeous outdoor fireplaces with cushy seating perfect for drinking in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge over shared cocktails. But if you’d prefer imbibing from the comfort of your own room—elegantly restored officers’ quarters of Fort Baker—check out Cavallo Point’s in-room cocktails. The hotel was the first to offer a bartender at your service when it debuted the program in the summer of 2011. The program offers tipples prepared in your room by Cavallo Point’s bartender, ready-to-drink cocktails made at the bar or, if you’re feeling creative, ingredients you can use to mix your own. Cocktails include hand-shaken classics such as the Moscow Mule and margarita, as well as the Salty Dog (Tanqueray gin and fresh grapefruit juice served on the rocks with a salted rim) and the Bourbon Street (Bulleit Bourbon, fresh lemon juice and Grand Marnier, garnished with an orange slice).
The Surrey, New York
Once a hot spot for celebrities such as John F. Kennedy and Bette Davis seeking discreet and confidential service, the chic Surrey hotel on New York’s Upper East Side provides an in-room cocktail service that’s prime for anyone looking for a little privacy as they sip their spirits. After selecting your choice of gin, tequila, bourbon, vodka or rum, a mixologist from the swanky Bar Pleiades will head to your room to prepare the first round of drinks, including its popular blackberry-mint margarita and basil-lime gimlet, before leaving you to drink at your leisure. The Surrey’s service also includes enough ingredients and tools for you to mix four to five additional cocktails, but if your skills are a little rusty, the mixologist will gladly return to make another round.
Soho Beach House, Miami
This breezy hotel set on the shores of Miami has a cocktail service with a fitting moniker: “One While Changing.” Meaning, while you’re primping in your beachside room for your night on the town, call down to reception and request, well, one while changing. Minutes later, a bartender will knock at your door with a fully stocked cocktail cart in tow. Sporting a wide range of ingredients—including basil, cilantro, cucumbers, fresh mint and daily-squeezed juices—the mixologist will have everything he needs to create premium cocktails like the Eastern Standard (a twist on a Prohibition classic made with Grey Goose, lime, muddled cucumber and mint) and the Picante de la Casa (Cazadores Tequila Reposado, muddled spicy red chilies and cilantro, balanced by fresh lime and agave nectar).
Photos Courtesy of Soho Beach House, The James and The Surrey