In Good Spirits

AQ Bar Cocktails

Whether you’re tanning poolside or in search of an evening nightcap, Acqualina’s concoctions are the perfect complement to your resort experience.

By – Michelle Payer

Cocktails at Acqualina are as fresh and varied as the resort itself. According to AQ Bar’s Lead Mixologist, Ana Maria Mejia, a cheerful Colombian whom guests refer to by name, that’s no accident. Acqualina’s concoctions are often more like smoothies than alcoholic beverages, thanks to fresh-muddled fruits, house-made simple syrups and liquor infusions made from strawberry, hibiscus and ginger. Mejia lends her expertise by recommending cocktails that fit a guest’s mood at the moment. Yearning for a slightly sweet martini? Mejia will recommend A Woman in Red Dress, a guest favorite with vodka, Champagne, St-Germain, Campari and freshly muddled berries.

Guests craving something caliente request the Spicy Passion, created with tequila, Cointreau, muddled jalapeño, basil and lemon. A cocktail that “makes you feel like you’re enjoying the moment to the fullest,” explains Mejia, is the Slice of Life, made with organic mixed blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, Absolut Elyx, St-Germain, lemon and mint.

Mejia and the bartending team resemble scientists preparing concoctions to their own exacting standards. They spend two hours each day preparing fruits and presenting them in glass jars on the bar for guests to admire; two weeks preparing infusions, including storing the liquor in a dark space; three hours creating hibiscus simple syrup, to extract the most flavor from the flower; and they work with a special cocktail smoker box in order to create the AQ Smoked Negroni, which is made from citrus-infused gin, Campari, Martini & Rossi Rubino Riserva and hickory wood smoke.

For the most popular order at AQ Bar, Mejia believes it’s a toss up between the Something with Cucumber — a cocktail made with Bacardí Heritage rum, Martini & Rossi Bianco, muddled cucumber and fresh lime — and the Little Figlet, made with fig-infused Plymouth Gin and house lime cordial. In addition to a full menu of options, Mejia and her fellow mixologists also create a “drink of the week” that may include fresh herbs from Il Mulino’s kitchen or feature South Florida’s fresh harvests — including mangos, papayas and guanabanas, also known as soursop — for margaritas and mojitos. Rather than make easy-to-prepare cocktails, these bartenders spend days and weeks inventing new concoctions for guests and residents to enjoy at their leisure.

Not to be outdone, Costa Grill serves Acqualina Resort’s most Instagrammable drink: the Acqualina Thai Coconut, a refreshing drink with or without alcohol (a splash of Malibu Rum or Ron Zacapa is recommended) served in a young Thai coconut that has been seared with the Acqualina Resort logo. When finished, bartenders can cut the fruit and serve the flesh as a healthy snack or dessert. Now that’s refreshing!