The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.
Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!
DAY FIFTEEN: Burnt Orange at Todd English’s bluezoo (Walt Disney World Dolphin)
One of the true best kept secrets at Walt Disney World are the bars and restaurants at the Swan and Dolphin hotels. Todd English’s bluezoo at the Dolphin has hands-down the most creative menu on property, specializing in unique drinks that taste as good as they look. Today we are going to spotlight the Burnt Orange. Ingredients: Herradura blanco tequila infused with brûléed orange and muddled with agave nectar, Grand Marnier, and orange juice. Topped with a flaming orange. The brûléed orange, that is spectacularly lit aflame, contains a special sugar created by the restaurant’s pastry chef, which then becomes part of the Burnt Orange’s flavor profile when drinking. The Burnt Orange is one drink worth going out of your way to try, but it is just one of the many headliners on the bluezoo bar menu.
Another recommendation is the new Frost-bitten rum cider. Created by bluezoo’s Gary Bruckner for the 2015 StarMixologist Competition, the presentation of this drink is exceptional as it is served with what appears to be a thin layer of ice on top. As a person who grew up in the icy winters of New Hampshire, seeing the liquid ice effect reminded me of what it was like to see a newly frozen pond or lake in the morning hours. There is coconut on the rim that also cleverly gives the look of the glass itself being frosted from the drink. Ingredients: Ron Zacapa rum, Ziegler’s apple cider (honey crisp blend), simple syrup, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters. The presentation is completed with the coconut garnish, a cinnamon apple slice, and a sprig of thyme.
Todd English’s bluezoo is at the Walt Disney World Dolphin, a stone’s throw away from Epcot, Disney’s BoardWalk, and Hollywood Studios. One of the most stylish bars on property, bluezoo is highly regarded for its innovative drinks (created by world class mixologists) and its sophisticated menu items. The dreamy dining room is swathed in blues with iridescent bubbles suspended from the lights. The name is courtesy of chef Todd English’s young son, who saw an under-the-sea movie and said it looked like a “blue zoo.” With an open kitchen, raw bar, and “dancing fish” on a circular rotisserie, bluezoo’s atmosphere is second to none.
PREVIOUS DRINKS OF CHRISTMAS:
DAY ONE: Shark Attack at Chez Alcatraz
DAY TWO: Grand Marnier Slush at Epcot
DAY THREE: Flaming Moe at Moe’s Tavern
DAY FIVE: Mai Tai at Emeri’s Tchoup Chop
DAY SEVEN: Pumpkin Fizz at the Three Broomsticks
DAY EIGHT: Old Fashioned at Belle Vue Lounge
DAY ELEVEN: Tongue Tying Lemon Squash at the Leaky Cauldron
DAY TWELVE: Sugar Cane Mojito at Dawa Bar
DAY THIRTEEN: Pint of Guinness at Raglan Road
DAY FOURTEEN: Hog’s Head Brew at the Hog’s Head
See you tomorrow for the next entry into the 25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown, where we are going to head into Epcot’s World Showcase. If you had fun, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! and Saturday Six articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast. Your humble author can also be seen producing typos at an inhuman rate on Twitter: @derekburgan
Interested in theme park drinks? Then do we have a eBook for you! The Walt Disney World Bars and Lounges eGuide by Brian McNichols. Over 250 pages and containing well over 400 photos, this eGuide takes you through EVERY bar and lounge on WDW property (trust me, Brian has the kidneys problems to prove it!) Also included? Recipes for some of your favorite WDW drinks. Ratings, descriptions, and photos for each of the 70+ bars and lounges. Talk about the perfect Christmas present!
Special thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover and Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey.
*That is an absolutely lie. I still buy an advent calendar every year with chocolates in it, and I also buy an annual box of Christmas Crunch, but we’ll keep that between us.