Saturday, April 28, 2012

Room Service Elevated at The James

Either hotels are getting really lazy and really cheap, or they sense that inside every patron is a bartender screaming to get out. From the Times:
At the James, Mix Drinks in Your Room
New York hotels seem intent on converting their guests into bartenders.
The new NoMad hotel, at 28th Street and Broadway, recently introduced abottle service program that comes complete with liquor, mixers, bar tools and a cart. Now, the James, in SoHo, has gone the minibar one better, offering its guests everything they need to open a cocktail lounge in their room.
The tiny, tacky mini-bottles that are the mainstays of hotel minibars around the world are not for the James. Instead, the hotel equips each room’s “pantry” with 375-milliliter vessels of liquor, including international staples like Grey Goose vodka as well as local brands like Tuthilltown’s Hudson Whiskey; bottles of Fever Tree tonic water and ginger ale; and a replica of a vintage cocktail shaker — the kitschy, retro kind with drink formulas are printed on the side. There’s also a book, “American Bar,” with more than 200 cocktail recipes.
If you want to try out something more complex than a vodka and tonic, call down to the desk and a tray of bar accouterments ($28) will be delivered to the room. Thus equipped with bitters, and beakers of simple syrup and Lillet Blanc, among other things, you are ready to make a Corpse Reviver 2, Old Havana, Blood and Sand, Moscow Mule and other libations. Charges, in addition to the tray fee, are based on how much liquor you use. Like the book? You can buy that, too.
“You’ve got enough to make four people a good, solid, stiff drink,” said Sims Foster, vice president of restaurant and bars for the Denihan Hospitality Group, which owns and runs all the James hotels. “And it won’t cost you any more than it would at a bar.”
If you turn out to be all thumbs as a bartender, don’t worry. Real bartenders still work at the James. And the person who brings up the tray can give you a few lessons.

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