The mini food trend—think sliders, cupcakes, and cake pops—has hit the cocktail hour. At least at the Viceroy New York. From five to six each evening except Sunday, a vintage cocktail cart rolls through the lobby offering one-ounce tastings of specialty mixed drinks. Hotel guests and local visitors sample innovative cocktail concepts from the bar menu at the hotel’s restaurant, Kingside.
Kingside is the first of Gerber Group’s international concepts to implement the Cartender program, an idea from the company’s Director of Sales Michael Bridges. By bringing the diminutive drinks directly to the guest, the Cartender gives Kingside, a streetside bar and restaurant collaboration between Gerber Group and chef Marc Murphy, a competitive edge in a city full of unique options. It’s also sure to help promote the Roof, a newly opened lounge and outdoor terrace crowning the top of the hotel to supplement Kingside.
A two-tipple limit gives guests a chance to sample petite pours, especially of something new they typically wouldn’t order. “We feel there is no better way to market your brand,” says Vincent Mauriello, a managing partner of Gerber Group. “If a guest checking into the hotel was not aware of the F&B program, they will now be aware. They may be on the run and not have time to enjoy a full cocktail.”
The Cartender offerings, like the corresponding bar beverage menu, change seasonally and include Kingside’s signature libations, the Aviation, Midnight Tryst, Spicy Paloma, and Walter+Savannah.
On a busy night, Mauriello reports guests enjoying 30 to 50 tastes, with the bar filling up quickly with a local after-work crowd. Kingside has also seen an increase in sales of the particular cocktail featured that day. Once guests get a taste, they often want the full cocktail and dinner experience.
“Being new to the neighborhood, we thought it was a great way to introduce ourselves to our guests and show off our product,” says Mauriello. “The cart makes you feel as if you’re in someone’s house for a cocktail party. It’s very approachable and welcoming. Bartenders, servers, and hosts operate the cart, and all are very knowledgeable about the cocktail program and the drinks they serve.”
Kelly Koepke is a business and lifestyle freelance writer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
From the Bar of Vincent Mauriello, Managing Partner/ Director of Operations, Gerber Group
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.75 oz Vanilla syrup, preferably housemade
.75 oz Cocchi Americano
1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
Serve in a martini coupe with a blackberry on a cocktail pick laid on top of glass.
Notes: Fun cocktail in which the botanicals from the gin mix well with the other ingredients. The Cocchi Americano (fortified wine) and the housemade vanilla syrup help to balance out the tartness from the fresh blackberries. This drink is refereshing and comforting.