Everyone and everything needs some beautifying at some point. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s Silver Palm Lounge, an important gathering place for visitors and locals alike, recently received a beauty treatment as it looks to capture the local audience once again.
To complement the makeover, which includes new furniture, a new marble bar top and several splashes of colour, the Silver Palm Lounge has unveiled a new craft cocktail list that, among other things, pays homage to one of the lounge’s long-standing traditions: afternoon tea.
Beverage Manager Amba Lamb brings her World Class distinction to the Silver Palm Lounge, as well as to the rest of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s beverage programme. The native New Zealander rose to prominence in Grand Cayman’s hospitality industry when she outscored all of the island’s other bartenders to win the local segment of the Diageo Reserve World Class cocktail competition in 2017. She then went on to the World Class Global Finals in Mexico City, competing against the best bartenders of 54 other countries, finishing 30th. Her World Class success played a part in her promotion to beverage manager in April this year.
“It was not necessarily just winning the [Cayman Islands] title that helped, but also the learning aspect of participating in World Class,” she says, adding that she also became much more at ease with public speaking as a result of her World Class experience. “It also helped me become closer with Cayman’s bartending community.”
Amba’s World Class experience also shows in the new Silver Palm Lounge cocktail list: The “Shiso Pretty” cocktail is something Amba created using sesame-infused tequila, kiwi fruit and aloe vera, then garnished with a shiso leaf.
The concept for Silver Palm Lounge’s new cocktail menu is “Journey around the World” and features spirits and flavours from different countries. There’s even a “Cayman Mule” — a take on the famous “Moscow Mule” cocktail that includes jerk spices and is served in a large, copper mug.
The Silver Palm Lounge is well known for serving a traditional English afternoon tea and all its accompaniments with a 24-hour advance reservation. To help celebrate that part of its service, the new cocktail list features five items that include tea as one of the ingredients. The cocktails, which are served cold in a tea cup, feature different spirits. Amba says that one of her favourites is called “Tea Time,” which mixes honey, lemon juice and Prosecco with Tanqueray gin infused with Earl Grey tea.
“Gin and Earl Grey tea go together really well,” she says.
On Fridays and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. until closing, there will be music in the Silver Palm Lounge.
Fridays will see a DJ accompanied by a musician and Saturday will feature a band.
“We want to move away from a target age market and just give people a cool, fun environment to enjoy, with soulful house music and bringing the beach sounds of Ibiza to Cayman,” says Amba. “We hope that it will always be danceable!”
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman also has several other options for drinks, including Bar Jack on the beach, where the ever-popular frozen piña colada is offered. Seven Restaurant offers a daily happy hour from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. featuring a selection of bourbon cocktails, including Amba’s “Popcorn Old Fashioned,” another creation inspired from her World Class experience.
At the alfresco Italian restaurant Andiamo, a new “Aperitivo Social” taps into a beloved Italian tradition of drinks before dinner, with specials from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. daily.
Not to be left out, the bar at Blue by Eric Ripert, the hotel’s signature restaurant, offers high-end wines, rare Scotch whiskys and bourbons, as well as uncommon items like the Scandinavian spirit aquavit.
“We want people to know they can pop in and enjoy a drink, and maybe a bite at the bar, even if they aren’t staying for dinner,” she says. “We want locals to come, too.”