Interactive Spirits: The Cocktail Table Experience at Highball & Harvest

Interactive Spirits: The Cocktail Table Experience at Highball & Harvest

The worlds of food and cocktails have collided thanks to a blossoming craft cocktail movement that makes drinking much more of an epicurean experience than ever before.

The sky truly is the limit for bartenders willing to think beyond spirit + mixer and instead aim to design multi-faceted recipes most of us could never recreate at home.

table 660

Guests sit at a dedicated table designed specifically for The Cocktail Table Experience.

But for those with a keen curiosity for how today’s imaginative mixologists work their spirited magic, The Cocktail Table Experience at Highball & Harvest (inside The Ritz-Carlton Orlando) will begin to peel back the layers of creating legendary cocktails.

Developed to be similar to a chef’s table dinner, The Cocktail Table Experience gives libations the starring role with a series of small plates of perfectly paired fare to provide some sustenance along the way.

A total of four or five cocktails are created each night and tailored in advance to match the individual tastes and preferences of the four to eight guests who get to belly up to the Cocktail Table used only for such bookings.

During a recent visit, Blake Herndon (lead bartender at H&H) began with a terrific Apple Zu, a vodka based cocktail mixed with a housemade apple juice Blake had made earlier that day.

Apple Zu

Apple Zu cocktail

In fact, all the cocktails sampled on this night were bolstered by some sort of housemade ingredient, including bitters, simple syrups and house-spiced wine.

As Blake stood before us mixing each cocktail, we peppered him with questions. His enthusiastic responses and obvious savvy made the night so much more than a tasting; it was an education.

Chef Jeremy Soares, who personally delivered each of our food pairings, was also eager to chat about ingredients, flavor nuances and why each dish paired well with each cocktail.

Make it an Overnight XXXXXXX

Make it an Overnight
With the area’s best spa plus golf, fishing, three pools (plus access to the JW’s lazy river) and several of Orlando’s top restaurants (including Norman’sPrimo and the new Whisper Creek Farm The Kitchen & The Brewery) all on the Grande Lakes 500-acre property,  making it an overnight is a no-brainer. Summer rates start at $249/night.

The personalized and interactive nature of this experience paired with seriously incredible food and drinks, made this dinner such an unequaled event. I simply couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

Need-to-Know Details

  • The Cocktail Table Experience is $130/person inclusive of tax, gratuity and valet parking.
  • Reservations must be made three days in advance to allow for personalization of the menu.
  • The table can be booked for groups of four to eight any day of the week, based on availability.
  • Call 407-393-4422 for reservations and more information.

 

menu

Each guest is provided with the night’s personalized menu, a great keepsake for the event.

 

oysters

Campfire Oysters were slightly cooked and set atop a smokey bed of rosemary and wood chips.

pulled pork slider

The Pulled Pork Slider with Carolina BBQ Sauce was served alongside the Citrus Swizzle.

ice

Even the ice, which was used in several shapes and sizes, was a key component in the night’s cocktails.

drinks and table

All guests get a birds-eye view as each cocktail is crafted.

blake shaking

Lead Bartender Blake Herndon shakes up spirits for his Vintage Sour.

bottles and table

Each cocktail course seemed to bring with it a host of new and interesting bottles at the bartender’s ready.

Vintage Sour

The Vintage Sour made with tequila, Mezcal, lemon, Demerara sugar, egg white and house-spiced wine.

poutine

From a food standpoint, this sweet potato poutine dish made with Wisconsin cheese curds was the standout of the night.

Blake pouring

citrus swizzle

Citrus Swizzle

blowtorch

Blake smokes the glasses with wood chips in preparation for his Conductor’s Reserve cocktail.

Jar Flight

The Jar Flight: Pimento Mac-n-Cheese, Watermelon Salad and Shrimp & Grits

The Sweetest Sin being mixed

For his Sweetest Sin cocktail (made with Frangelico and Kahlua), Blake used edible cups made of pure chocolate.

flaming dessert

This dessert, a Flaming Peach Cobbler, was a delicious show stopper!

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