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A mysterious e-mail arrives in my inbox one autumn day. An invitation to visit the illustrious Omni Resort Hotel at Championsgate, just outside of Orlando a few exits south of Disney World on Interstate-4. The reason? To try out some new drink menu items on their bar menu and be whisked away for a mini-staycation at the hotel. Hmm…I thought…this sounds enticing…

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On that pre-arranged date, ten strangers assembled on the steps of the lobby of the Omni Hotel, greeted by Ms. Jackie of the Zimmerman Agency, the ever smiling Mrs. Kelly Burnett (Follow her official Omni Resorts twitter here @kdburnett), Director of Leisure Sales for the Omni Orlando resort, and Mr. Mel, head of food and beverage at the hotel. Some of the guests this evening come from Orlando Style magazine, Orange Appeal, and local blogs like ourselves and our friends at MEGAYUMMO.

All of it seemed too much like out of a summer mystery novel to me: strangers meeting at a hotel, invited by a unknown mysterious host, having a delightful time, a lovely overnight stay…only to awaken in the morning to find out one of the guests has mysteriously disappeared overnight and the whole hotel is locked down while an old detective with a checkered past is brought in to figure out the crime and solve the mystery.

Luckily for us, things did not require a detective in the morning. Things actually went quite smoothly and relaxing.

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A beautiful view of the family pool and the golf course at Omni Resort at Championsgate

First off, the drinks. Omni Hotel has a nice little bar area on the left of the lobby near Zen restaurant where a piano player is set up for light enjoyable piano music. Here, the bartenders have assembled a presentation area where they whip out the latest “organic” and “local” creations from Omni resorts including the Sweet Honey Dew Foam made of Monin pure can syrup, Highland pepper, Berry ron-dezvous, Southern Basil Smash, and New Age Juleps. My favorite of the evening was the Berry Ron-dezvous, a very sweet yet also very potent mixed drink that packs a punch right after the unassuming sweetness settles in.

Below are the recipes for the new drinks at Omni Resort at Championsgate.

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Sweet Honeydew Foam
(topping for the New Age Julep Recipe)
Ingredients:
8oz Orange Juice
4oz Monin Pure Cane Syrup
2oz Organic Pasteurized Egg Whites
Method: 
1. Pour ingredients directly into iSi Gourmet Whip Plus Canister* 2. Place the lid on and screw tightly 3. Screw on the CO2 cartridge, you should hear a hissing noise during this
step 4. Shake the canister well 5. Completely invert the canister upside down 6. Last, pour the foam at the side of the glass and top your cocktail
*an iSi canister is also known as a whipping cream bottle/canister
Highland Pepper
Glass: Highball Method: Muddle/Shake & Fine Strain
Ingredients: 1 each Jalapeno Slice
Muddle above ingredients
1each Dash of Celery Bitters
1.5 oz Patrón Silver
.75 oz Fresh Squeezed Florida Grapefruit Juice
.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz Monin Agave Nectar
Shake above ingredients with ice
Garnish: Fine Strain over Ice
Jalapeno Slice Grapefruit Wheel
Southern Basil Smash
Glass: Rocks Method: Muddle/Shake & Fine Strain
Ingredients:
2 each Fresh Strawberries (hulled & sliced)
3 each Basil Leaves
Muddle above ingredients
1.5 oz Woodford Reserve
.5 oz Cointreau
.5 oz Dry Sack Sherry
.5 oz Monin Pure Cane Syrup
.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Garnish: Fine strain over ice
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Berry Ron-dezvous
Glass: Martini Method: Shake with ice & fine strain
Ingredients: 
2 each Fresh Blackberries
4 each Fresh Raspberries
Muddle above ingredients
1.5 oz Bacardi Superior
.5 oz Grand Marnier
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.5 oz Monin Pure Cane Syrup
Garnish: Fresh Blackberries
Glass: Rocks Method: Muddle/Shake
New Age Juleps
Ingredients: 8 each Mint Leaves
Muddle above ingredients
1.5 oz Absolut Vodka
.75 oz Plymouth Gin
.75 oz Monin Honey Sweetener
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Shake above ingredients with ice Strain without ice
Garnish: Top with Mint Sprig
Sweet Orange Foam

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After the presentation, we were treated to a very amazing dinner at David’s Club, a kind of relaxed pub type restaurant inside Omni hotel, best known for their steaks. Right next door is Zen, a fusion Chinese pan-Asian restaurant, whose dishes were also presented that evening. My favorites included the Chinese style barbeque spare ribs, the Zen roll, and the Florida sushi roll from Zen as well as the short rib ossobucco from David’s Club. All in all, the food was magnificent and the company was great.
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Zen Restaurant  – Pan Asian cuisine


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Seafood Bird nest

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The Chinese style bbq spareribs – must try!

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Lobster Tempura

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Amazing, fresh sushi rolls


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Short rib ossobucco

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The Lamb chops 

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Swordfish steak


In the morning, we ventured out into the Trevi restaurant, traditionally a Italian restaurant, but also a breakfast spot in the morning where they have a full blown breakfast buffet as well as select specialty menu items such as the french toast, eggs benedict, etc.

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Trevi’s 

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French toast

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Bacon, bacon, bacooonnn

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Salami cuts and charcuterie


Omni Resort at Championsgate is pretty much all you could ask for in a staycation trip: great food, a nice little lazy river to lounge in, a huge pool for the family, and a giant golf course, all within 30-45 minute drive from downtown Orlando. You definitely feel at peace at this place and away from all the noise and traffic of the City Beautiful. Check it out some time if you can!

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Luxury and relaxation.
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Lazy river at the Omni
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For more information visit:
Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate
1500 Masters Blvd
ChampionsGate, Florida 33896
Phone: (407) 390-6664, Fax: (407) 390-6600
http://www.omnihotels.com/findahotel/orlandochampionsgate.aspx
Special thanks to the good people at Omni Resorts, Kelly and Mel, and Jackie of the Zimmerman Agency for setting up this beautiful event! And to the great staff at Omni resorts for doing such a fine job in hospitality and guest services.

Zen Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Trevi's on Urbanspoon



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