The Ritz-Carlton Hotel BarExperience

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company launched The Ritz-Carlton BarExperience earlier this year to great reviews and fanfare.

BarExperience DocumentationiMi agency has worked with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to develop and help implement their beverage program over the past seven years. As explained by Bart Buiring, Corporate Vice president of Food & Beverage, who explained, “The Ritz-Carlton BarExperience has been developed to drive revenue and enhance bar and lounge experience with new food and cocktail offerings. A lot of extensive research went into the development of this new program, taking into consideration top-selling items and current global trends.”

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company rolled out the “BarExperience” at its properties worldwide, building on a tradition of elegant cocktails and catering to a new generation of patrons. The company’s latest research show their hotels are now primarily visited by those more interested in socializing with friends and colleagues, and hence food is increasingly important. The new Ritz-Carlton BarExperience includes both classic and new cocktails, new appetizers, and even edible cocktails.

The new bar menu features gourmet comfort food meant for sharing among a group. The final menu includes 30 Sunsplashsnazzy snacks such as brie and parsley risotto balls, smoked salmon and arugula egg rolls, chilly water lobster flat bread, and calamari in remoulade sauce. Each Ritz-Carlton property features a selection of these 30 in addition to some local specialties. The new choices are served along with other featured appetizers, such as the Italian spicy sausage and artichoke pizza, the mini Black Angus beef sliders, and the plate of artisanal cheeses served with quince paste, honeycomb and chutney. On the cocktail front, among the favorites is the Sunsplash, made with Grey Goose L’Orange vodka, Cointreau, fresh lemon and orange juice, and cranberry. Another standout is The Ritz-Carlton Martini, made with Tanqueray No. 10 gin, simple syrup, peeled English cucumber, mint, and lime juice.

“Customers will always order a classic martini and this will certainly remain a signature drink on our cocktail menus, but our updated offerings include Hermosa Sunset with Don Julio Reposado Tequila, and Blackberry Caipiroska made with Ketel One vodka. Guest tastes are evolving constantly and our patrons often prefer premium vodkas combined with innovative herbal ingredients and fresh juices. Between the new bar snacks, exotic cocktails, and re-invented classic cocktails, we think The Ritz-Carlton BarExperience will appeal to many new customers,” said Bart Buiring, Corporate Vice President, Food and Beverage.

More than 400 recipes were submitted by Ritz-Carlton hotel chefs from around the world and narrowed down to 30 finalists selected by a panel of culinary experts. These will be supplemented by local specialties at each venue across the country.

“We piloted and taste-tested the recipes at our Ritz-Carlton hotels in Tysons Corner, Virginia, Battery Park and Central Park in New York City, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., Marina del Rey, California, and South Beach, Florida. We think they represent a unique and fresh approach for our customers who enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of our hotel lobby lounges,” explained George McNeil, corporate chef of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, who headed this exciting new venture.

Note: Agencies that worked on this project with Bart Buiring and George McNeil: iMi Agency overall management of beverage program, Tasty Concepts for the BarFood, BarEdibles & BarCocktails elements, Marriner Marketing Communications for the Superlative Summer Cocktails Promotion.