Bar Lab and Norwegian Cruise Line Expand Boozy Partnership
The "Get Away" with vodka, watermelon, citrus, herbs, and bitters.
All photos by Cassie Glenn
ar Lab's Gabriel Orta may not be an avid cruiser but he is tapping into the minds of those that love to sail at sea by expanding a previously announced partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line. Now, cocktails crafted by Bar Lab will soon be available on board all of Norwegian's ships year-round.
Orta also will train bar managers and bartenders, and collaborating with the Norwegian Corporate Development Team to create new cocktails for Norwegian's shore side Test Bar. Short Order was invited to a kick-off cocktail party at the Broken Shaker to chat with Orta, sip some cruise-inspired drinks, and get more insight into this expanded program.
If you've ever been to the Broken Shaker, you already know Orta and his team do not make ordinary cocktails. With an apothecary-style assortment of bitters, juices, and herbs, you never know what you might be served. As cocktail culture continues to spread across the country, it only makes sense cruise lines, hotels and resorts are striving to up their beverage game with programs like Norwegian's.
"A lot of people try to say that they want to make better cocktails, but you have to be serious and change habits," says Orta. "When I saw that Norwegian really wanted to use fresh ingredients, better ice, and better glassware, I was really impressed. If we're going to put our name to it, we want to make sure they are doing it the right way."
The "Garden Cooler" with gin, cucumber, citrus, and herbs.
"I've done some research about the demographics of customers, who goes on cruises, what cocktails they like to drink, what destinations they go to," Orta said. "Once we get these specifics, including what ingredients they can get, we can begin making a variety of cocktails."
With an expanded partnership comes an expanded menu with offerings ranging from Spicy Piña Punch, with atypical ingredients like chipotle pineapple syrup and Benedictine liqueur, to Rum to Bermuda, which includes ginger beer and fresh lime juice. Right now, they are in the beginning stages of training the bar managers and bartenders, covering the basics from proper shaking to building a cocktail.
"Little by little we will put more difficulty into the program. You can't do it all at once, it'd be too much," Orta said. In the future, Orta says that he hopes to grow with the company and even have a Bar Lab branded bar inside the cruise. In other words, if Norwegian cruisers take to these diverse and unique libations, it's an amazing opportunity for locally-based Bar Lab to spread their name across the world.
For now, you can enjoy these specialty cocktails onboard with the Summer Destination beverages, while new menus will roll out beginning in September.
Connect with Cassie Glenn on Twitter @cassieinmiami.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Miami dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.