Two months into 2014, and I’ve been thankful for every single day. January blurred into February and February disappeared in a blink! I surprised myself with how much I ratcheted up my sociability by taking the time to attend events and make special memories with my friends and family. Invitations to special events and suggestions for new places to check out really beefed up my usually slim social calendar, but I’m hoping they don’t stop any time soon!
Being a Type-A Personality and Virgo firmly cements my love for routine and little deviation from the things I like. Taking a peek back at the first two months of the year, I’ve tried new beers, wine, and mixed drinks, as well as ventured out more in the Greater Daytona Beach and Greater Orlando areas. My layovers were enjoyable, even the ones which left me exhausted, but I aimed to drink local flavors instead of my usual go-tos. It was a challenge, but I’m so proud that I stepped out of my comfort zone. The key events over the last two months:
- Victory Beer, at Germany Pavilion, Epcot Center WDW Marathon Weekend
- Mixology Class at Skyline Lounge aboard The Disney Dream
- Wine & Chocolate Perfectly Paired at Quantum Leap Winery
- Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Epcot Center
- Father-Daughter Date at New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company
January started out with a running start, as I tackled my first half marathon of the year. A stroke of luck brought me back to Orlando on several occasions, and I was fortunate to check out some new venues. Most of my layovers for the majority of the month were too short for me to take the time to unwind with an adult beverage, so my off time was where I focused on exploring new drinks and revisiting old ones. Work hard, but play harder.
- Samuel Adams’ Cold Snap (home)
- Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Player 1 (Orlando, FL)
- Happy Hour House White: Marlow’s Tavern (Winter Park)
- Cigar City Jai Alai IPA (Layover; Sarasota, FL)
- Pitman’s Derby: Jim ‘N’ Nick’s (Layover; Charleston, SC)
- Samuel Adams’ Boston Lager (Red Robin; Port Orange, FL)
- Parnassus Apollo: Evolution, Disney Dream (Nassau, Bahamas)
February surprised me with longer layovers, but sadly many were still at the airport areas instead of downtown. Having 12-22 hours an airport hotel can be a great time to unwind, but leaves few options for adventure and exploration. Most of my trips toed the line just on the side of the airport versus the downtown layover, but I had time to leisurely enjoy my drinks, instead of checking my watch every five minutes and calculating how much time remained prior to my cut-off. The second ice storm that shut down Atlanta resulted in a 22-hour layover in Fort Myers at an airport hotel, but at least I enjoyed the fire pit!
- Red Oak (Short Layover; Greensboro, NC)
- Angry Apple Stag, Longhorn Steakhouse (Short Layover; Richmond, VA)
- Pretty in Pink Martini & Tropical Monkey,Red Monkey Tavern (Long Layover; Raleigh-Durham, NC)
- Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey & Ginger Ale, Dreamsicle & Fruity Gummy (Long Layover; Fort Myers, FL)
- Strawberry Rickey, Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar (Winter Park, FL)
- Maple Bourbon Cocktail (Long Layover; Indianapolis, ID)
- Strongbow Cider (UK), Hopageddon Imperial IPA, (American Adventure) & Viking Kaffe (Norway), Epcot (Lake Buena Vista, FL)
- Zombie, Bahama Breeze (Daytona Beach, FL)
The hardest part of taking the time to make such an in-depth review is realizing how much more I need to work and workout to make this guilty pleasure, feel less guilty. I would love to learn more about entertaining, mixology, wines and craft beers without having to attend bar tending school or expensive seminars which require time commitments that aren’t compatible with my flight schedule. I’ve found that dining and drinking at local restaurants, pubs, and wineries versus airport hotels provides me with a greater scope of flavor, heavier pours, and better cost/value balance. When it comes to airport hotels, I may err on the side of local beers and wines, unless the reviews on Yelp! indicate otherwise. I am looking for iPhone apps similar to Untappd, which can track wine and cocktails.
With Mardi Gras, Dapper Day, Pi Day, & St. Patty’s Day just around the corner, I should start scoping out venues now! Any ideas?