DrinkingUniversal Orlando Resort

25 Drinks of Christmas – Day 17: MAI TAI at Strong Water Tavern (Sapphire Falls Resort)

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The Christmas season is our 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 2022, 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 the property. Bonus points are awarded for the atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

The Drink – Mai Tai
Location – Strong Water Tavern in Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Strong Water Tavern. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

MAI TAI – Ingredients: Hamilton Reserve and El Dorado 5 year rum, Orgeat syrup, and lime.

Sometimes you just need an old classic, and the surprisingly strong Mai Tai at Strong Water Tavern fits the bill. The rum dominates from the first sip, but nicely balances with the lime juice and almond flavor from the orgeat. The custom chiseled ice is a great touch and keeps the drink from getting diluted too quickly. Pairs well with live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

Mai Tai at Strong Water Tavern. (photo by Susan Roskelley)

You read that correctly, Strong Water Tavern doesn’t have a barback schlepping back and forth bringing us to the bar from a machine. NAY NAY. They chisel their own ice.

Strong Water Tavern.

The extra attention to quality is apparent in each drink served.

Mai Tai at Strong Water Tavern. (photo by Susan Roskelley)

Let’s check out some more options from their incredible bar menu…

Sapphire Sour – Plantation 3 Stars rum, blue curacao, lavender syrup, lemon juice, and Aquafaba. (photo by Susan Roskelley)
Tavern Grog – Plantation Original Dark rum, Pimento Dram, Demerara, and citrus. (photo by Susan Roskelley)
Last Typhoon -Mount Gay, Eclipse Rum, Pineapple, Passion Fruit, Grapefruit. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Rum Flight. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Coming with a group? Strong Water serves several varieties of rum based punches that serve 4-6 people.

Private Punch
Privateer – Mount Gay Black Barrel, vanilla, pineapple, and lime. (photo by Brandon Glover)

What further separates Strong Water Tavern from their other lobby bar counterparts is a Best-In-Class food menu featuring a wide array of food options from all over the world. Yes, you can get your standard bar food like burger sliders and chicken tenders, but the menu also serves items inspired by food from Jamaica, Mexico, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Colombia.

Ropa Vieja – Shredded beef, garlic, onions, peppers, sofrito sauce. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Arroz con Pollo – Pulled chicken, sausage, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, peas, yellow rice. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Seafood Tostada – Shrimp, scallop, snapper, red onion, garlic, avocado, and cilantro crema. Served cold. (photo by Susan Roskelley)
Surf & Turf Pinchos – Chimichurri-marinated steak, shrimp, yellow squash, zucchini, bell pepper, Kalamata olive oil, and garlic bread. (photo by Susan Roskelley)

25 Drinks of Christmas TouringPlans Brought to Me…

See you tomorrow for the next entry into the 25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown, where we are going to head over to Cabana Bay Beach Resort. If you had fun, be sure to check out any of our other fun series including Theme Park Hills to Die On, the adventures of David & Derek (theme park’s Goofus & Gallant,) or the famous (infamous?) Theme Park Turkeys of the Year awards. for your listening pleasure, check out the Parkscope Podcast. Your humble author can also be seen producing typos at an inhuman rate on Twitter: @derekburgan

The 25 Drinks of Christmas series couldn’t be done without an All Star team behind us including world class photographers Michael Carelli, Brandon Glover, Scott Sanders, and Hedghehog’s Corner. The drink listing came from a double-secret blue ribbon panel comprised of SAT SIX Fun Squaders including: Megan Stump, Nitro230,The Man Formerly Known as @DrunkAtDisney, Bethany Vinton, Parkscope Joe and Parkscope Nick. As always, Digital Maestro Scott Walker was the cherry on top of the sundae.

*That is an absolute 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.

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2 thoughts on “25 Drinks of Christmas – Day 17: MAI TAI at Strong Water Tavern (Sapphire Falls Resort)

  • Strong Water Tavern is amazing, and even better is the drink named for my friend, Carole, Carole’s Punch! I humbly submit this would be a great drink and story to cover!

  • Probably the best bar at Universal and one of my favorite in Orlando.


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