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Shake Up Your Orlando Vacation with These 7 Unique Cocktails

An Orlando tourist walks into a bar on March 24.

The friendly bartender lets them know that they’ve picked the perfect day to visit. It’s National Cocktail Day, a time to shake, serve, and sip your favorite mixed drinks — or better yet, to discover a new favorite. The tourist celebrates with an offbeat drink that they’ll never forget.

People toasting with their cocktails

It’s no joke: If you’re spending March 24 in the City Beautiful, there are countless bars where you can live out this scene.

Whether you like your drinks sweet and whimsical or strong and smoky, there’s a creative concoction for you in Orlando. Celebrate National Cocktail Day by enjoying one of these seven spirited beverages.

1.      Ocean Attack at Chez Alcatraz

Celebrating National Cocktail Day in Universal Orlando Resort? Head to Chez Alcatraz in Universal Studios’ San Francisco section.

There, you can enjoy an “Ocean Attack,” a jawsome cocktail served with a side of entertainment. The drink consists of blue Curaçao, coconut rum, Sprite, and pineapple juice. But the star of the show is the grenadine float, which bleeds into your drink as your bartender breaks out a shark puppet and reenacts a classic scene from Jaws.

@rosenhotels Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Stay at our Universal partner hotels for easy access to adventure #universalstudios #rosenhotels #orlando ♬ Jaws Theme – Jaws


Before you leave, strike a pose with a replica of Bruce, the iconic shark who antagonized Amity.

2.      Cotton-tinis at T-Rex Café

Chez Alcatraz isn’t the only theme park bar where you can have a wild time on National Cocktail Day.

If you dig dinosaurs, T-Ref Café has a sweet treat for you. The Disney Springs bar and restaurant serves fruity martinis with a tasty twist. Your mixologist will make your tropical or candy apple-flavored drink in a souvenir shaker, then slowly pour it over a glass of cotton candy. Watch as the cotton candy dissolves, then raise a glass to your prehistoric pals.

Thanks to T-Rex Café’s selection of smoothies and flavored lemonades, the whole family can cheers with you.

Kids will also love the restaurant’s animatronic dinos, fossil pit, and jam-packed gift shop.

3.      Drunken Pumpkin at Cocktails & Screams

National Cocktail Day is about seven months away from Halloween. But that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace the spirit of the spooky season this spring.

Cocktails & Screams is a year-round, Halloween-themed bar in downtown Orlando. The menu features all kinds of chilled drinks with chilling names, like the “Creature from the Black Lagoon” dark and stormy and the “Death Dealer” shot of gin. But the boo-ziest beverage of all is the “Drunken Pumpkin.”

This sharable cocktail combines Jameson and pumpkin pureé in a massive trick-or-treating pail. A selection of classic Halloween candies comes with it.

On most days, Cocktails & Screams is 21+. However, guests of all ages are welcome during the Sunday “Cereal Killer” brunch, which features event-exclusive cocktails and mocktails.

4.      Clarified Milk Punch at Courtesy Bar

Bartenders started whipping up single-serving cocktails in the 1800s.

But people have shared laughs over mixed drinks for way longer than that.

Communal punch bowls originated in India and became popular in England in the 17th century. The English started making punches with milk, straining out the curds that form when dairy and alcohol meet. When clarified milk punch is made with dark liquor, the process strips  the liquor of dark, bitter tannins. The result is a smooth, crystal-clear beverage.

This National Cocktail Day, go old school at The Courtesy in the upscale suburb of Winter Park.

This intimate cocktail bar serves a rotating selection of milk punches, which often have a global twist. Past punches have featured Thai pina colada, spicy mango mezcal, and sarsaparilla chai flavors.

5.      Volcano Bowl at Aku Aku Tiki Bar

After modern cocktails caught on in the 19th century, it wasn’t long before people started making their favorite drinks at home. The first recipe book came out in 1862 and was written by Jerry Thomas, known as the “father of American mixology.” The book featured his signature drink, the blue blazer, a dazzling drink that comes engulfed in blue-white flames.

By the early 20th century, flaming cocktails like the blue blazer fell out of fashion.

Bartender making a cocktail at a Tiki bar

The flaming drink renaissance came in the 1940s and ‘50s with the rise of tiki culture. Many tiki bars lit their Polynesian-inspired cocktails aflame for extra flair.

At Aku Aku Tiki Bar in downtown Orlando, you can try one of the most famous fiery drinks, the volcano bowl. This drink blends six rums with tropical fruit juices, with a float of overproof rum feeding the flames. The volcano comes in 32 and 48-oz. sizes that are perfect for sharing.

6.      Smoked Bison at Hangry Bison

Around 2007, mixologists found a new way to use fire to craft creative cocktails.

This time around, the smoke, not the flames, drew in patrons.

Smoky drinks are nothing new. But in the past, the liquor was smoked — think mezcal or scotch — rather than the drink itself. Now, many mixologists use bell jars filled with smoke to create new twists on classic cocktails.

Get in on this smoking-hot cocktail trend at the Hangry Bison.

This gastropub has locations in the Orlando suburbs of Winter Park and Winter Garden. Both spots serve the “Smoked Bison,” a unique take on the old fashioned. After combining the bourbon, bitters, and simple syrup, the drink is smoked with savory hickory wood.

The beverage pairs perfectly with one of the Hangry Bison’s burgers, which come with your choice of proteins and toppings.

7.      Boozy Dole Whip at Neon Beach

For many travelers, a trip to Orlando isn’t complete without a helping of Dole Whip.

The fruity soft serve has been a theme park mainstay since Disney started serving it in Adventureland in the 1980s.

But you’ll find Dole Whip all around Orlando, including at Neon Beach. The downtown bar features laid-back island décor and a huge menu of sweet sips, including its signature “Boozy Dole Whip.” This frozen cocktail contains vanilla rum, banana liqueur, pineapple juice, and coconut milk.

Pineapple and hibiscus garnishes are the final touches on this tasty tropical drink.

8.      Frozé All Day at Harry’s Poolside

In summer 2016, rosé was the hot item at Bar Primi in NYC. When a new slushie machine showed up at the bar’s doorstep, the mixologists got an idea. Instead of filling the machine with margarita mix, they loaded it with their favorite crisp, pink wine.

By the end of the summer, bars across the U.S. had created their own versions of frozé.

The “Frozé All Day” at Harry’s Poolside is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day in the City Beautiful. We blend sparkling rosé, Skyy vodka, and frozé mix to create a delightfully refreshing cocktail. You’ll find our breezy restaurant at Rosen Centre, an award-winning Orlando hotel on International Drive.

A couple enjoys cocktails at Harry's Poolside at Rosen Centre

Many of Orlando’s top bars are within walking distance or a short cab ride away, making our hotel the perfect place to spend National Cocktail Day.

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