I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a little time at THE CONTINENTAL with Ross Kupitz, Beverage Director for D’Amico Partners for a Craft Cocktail 101. I got a bit of education and sampled the cocktails so I can tell you about them … you’re welcome.
Bellying up to the bar there is an experience all of its own — which is their intent — from the handblown glass orbs hanging overhead that contain the foundation for your drink to the show that happens in front of you as the bartender assembles your cocktail. The Prohibition-era theme goes beyond the gorgeous glassware. Many of the recipes are from that era and even pre-prohibition era.
With the intent to provide you with an experience, the cocktail menu is like nothing you have seen. They make drinks that are inspired by cocktails you know but with a twist. So ordering begins with a conversation in which the bartender guides you toward something you will love based on flavors that you enjoy. For instance, if you like a Manhattan, you will love “An Italian In NYC”. If you like tequila, they may have you try “Search For Your Sol”.
First, I tried “Follow The White Rabbit”, reminiscent of a Cosmopolitan but with a twist and the black berries made it fresh.
They make their own bitters — which Ross equated to the “salt and pepper” of a recipe — to finish it off and add complexity to the drink.
My favorite drink was “RD’s Cafe Cavalli” because of the warm, lovely after tones. It’s inspired by owner Richard D’Amico’s favorite drink Negroni.
The ice is an art all its own. They have specialized ices to keep your drink cold without diluting it. The type of cocktail determines which size and shape ice you receive so that it reacts appropriately with the liquid — drinking meets science.
If you want to stay a while, reserve a cabana which provides you with a dedicated server for the evening, a liquid amuse-bouche to start and an amaro drink for after dinner. The amaro aids in digestion so it’s necessary after your Waygu filet mignon.
(Me and Ross — with his Prohibition era mustache.)
There is nothing I love more than enjoying carefully and passionately crafted food and drinks and THE CONTINENTAL has achieved that through Ross and his team of well trained bartenders. I can’t wait to return!
1205 Third Street South
Naples, FL 34102
…TELL THEM SCOUT SENT YOU!