On holiday in Mexico I was lucky enough to stay at the Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita. It was actually a matter of luck, as we really didn't like the hotel that our tour operator put us in and asked to be moved. We didn’t know where to move to, as we didn’t have internet access in our hotel, so named one that another couple on our tour were staying at. We had seen the outside of the hotel as they were dropped off from the minibus and I remembered spotting a discreet sign saying “Leading hotels of the World” – which is an organisation rather than just their own claim.
So after two nights in a very poor hotel (it took them that long to sort out the move, even though we complained minutes after arriving) we found ourselves in one of the most amazing hotels I’ve ever stayed in. For a full review see my recent blog post.
The hotel offered a programme of activities but far more upmarket than the sort of thing I’ve seen elsewhere, like archery, aqua-aerobics and so on. The Zoetry offered yoga, a shopping trip by boat, a sunset cruise, cigar rolling and cocktail making, to name but a few. I went along to the cigar rolling but it was a bit disappointing – it was one man with a stall full of cigars, and when it became clear I wasn’t interested in buying one, he wasn’t interested in me. I hung around in the hope that I would get to do or at least see some cigar rolling but all he seemed concerned with was selling the cigars he had already made.
So when it came to the cocktail making the next evening, I wasn’t expecting much. I went into the Library bar (there is of course more than one bar at the Zoetry) where I had been chatting to the barman Tico the night before. We were joined by half a dozen others and lined up along the bar as Tico got out a selection of cocktail glasses. Ooh, a demonstration, I thought – and because it’s an all-inclusive resort, no doubt we would get to drink a cocktail or two as well. What I didn’t expect was for Tico to start by inviting me behind the bar! He said we would all get a turn to make a cocktail for the whole group and that first I would make a Perfect Storm.
Under Tico’s watchful eye I began by pulsing some ice in a blender with blue curacao to crush it. Pouring it from the jug into each glass was harder than it looked – the ice came out very fast and some glasses ended up with a lot more than others! Next was a shot of raspberry vodka and the glass was topped up with cranberry juice. Finally I poured a sort of mango puree onto a spoon to let it fall gently into the glass, creating a top layer. Again this was harder than it looked leaving some drinks with more uneven layers than others!
As bartender I then served the cocktails to my customers – and I have to say it tasted delicious! I bought some raspberry Absolut vodka in the airport on the way home with a view to recreating this cocktail at home.
Other people took turns to make cocktails for the whole group; a couple of people drifted off after one of their friends had a go meaning that we each had five cocktails. One of them tasted foul – it was similar to a caipirinha apparently (which I’ve never had before) made of cachaca and lime – it was very sour and I only had one sip. Which was probably a good thing as I drank four other cocktails on an empty stomach in the middle of the afternoon! One was a shot – a B52 – and one was a very sweet fruity cocktail. When we had finished, Tico invited us to join him in a shot of tequila – he had been a professional tequila taster before coming to work at the Zoetry hotel. I had a great time chatting with the other people at the session (my boyfriend had stayed in our room as he is teetotal and wasn’t really interested) and it was a great way for the hotel to bring people together. It was the sort of masterclass you would probably pay quite a lot for in London so it was fantastic that it was free – it was one of the highlights of the three days we spent in this hotel, along with the resident friendly parrots!