Social Drinking

Every day, it seems as though there’s a new social-media website. And one thing people like to do as much as update their social-media account is sip on cocktails. But what if these two worlds melded together?

That’s exactly what The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York decided to figure out, taking its clientele's obsession with the online world to a new level with its “The Like Page” cocktail menu, a not-so-subtle shout out to Facebook’s ubiquitous “likes.” For $19, guests can sip on “a special collection of buzz worthy cocktails inspired by social media,” according the menu’s definition at the hotel’s MObar and Lobby Lounge.

“The social-media cocktails were a result of an ongoing promotion to take trends and turn them into themes for the lounge,” explains Annie Turso, Mandarin Oriental’s wine director. “In the past, we’ve done 'Sex and the City' cocktails and 'Alice in Wonderland' tea. This time, we take the hottest brands in social media for our inspiration.”

From takes on pervasive websites such as TripAdvisor, Twitter, Tumblr and Google, the Mandarin Oriental’s menu provides a tongue-in-cheek approach to imbibing, highlighting qualities that each site represents.


Each of The Mandarin Oriental Hotel's new cocktails represent a social-media site.

“For example, SipAdvisor is a twist on a classic Margarita — the classic drink of travelers on vacation,” Turso says. The cocktail is made with Milagro Silver Tequila, fresh strawberries and basil, lemon juice and simple syrup.

The Sweet Tweet, for instance, made with Bacardi Superior, Galliano, peach nectar, lime juice and cherry syrup, is described as sweet and tart. The Brbn Tumblr (Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey, grapefruit juice, maple syrup and Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur) is “fashion-forward” and “savory.” And the Garden of Google (Hendrick’s Gin, fresh cucumber and cilantro and sparkling sake) is a “Mandarin-inspired Gin & Tonic.” “We experimented with a lot of ideas, but it came down to coming up with ingredients that felt inspired by social-media platforms themselves,” she says.

The Brbn Tumblr and SipAdvisor are the biggest sellers, she adds.

The whole team — from the wine director, sommelier and beverage manager and director of Lobby Lounge and MObar — worked to come up with the drinks; the whole process taking about two weeks. “We held several rounds of tastings,” Turso says, “before we found the right mix.”

The promotion also serves a larger purpose. To promote the drinks, Mandarin’s marketing team “worked through social media to promote the cocktails, and guests visiting The Lounge were talking about them and taking pictures of the menu and cocktails themselves.”

Turso adds she is seeing pictures “popping up all over social media now.”

The menu inspired by social media is now taking social media by storm. “Together this generated an incredible social-media buzz,” and proved “that you can creatively appeal to the luxury market.”

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