With kitchens that specialize in seafood flown in from around the globe, plus steaks and chops, the Paddlefish beverage team is crafting a drink menu that includes innovative cocktails, craft beers and both Old and New World wines.
We caught up with General Manager Jimmy Kraus as they prepare for opening. The bow-to-stern transformation of the iconic riverboat will include a new third-floor deck for late-night tastes and sips.
What’s distinctive about the beverage program?
We dug deep to find rare and amazing wines and spirits as well as familiar classics. We chose everything with respect for pairing. Some of our wine varietals may be new to some folks. And on our cocktail list you’ll find concoctions that you won’t find anywhere else in Disney Springs. We hope to appeal to both the newbie and the connoisseur.
Tell us more about the special cocktails.
We’re going for diversity through great ingredients. We’ll have a margarita, but it will have a twist. Our sangria is a “man’s sangria” with bourbon, tempranillo [wine] and a French peach liqueur that takes it over the top.
Is there a signature cocktail?
The Lily Spritz, an homage to The Empress Lily, the original restaurant located where Paddlefish will be. It’s a simple cocktail with complexity and balance, made with cava, rosé, fresh strawberry and a splash of seltzer. Our guests at Fulton’s loved the connection that the historic riverboat makes.
How many wines on the list?
We’ll feature 175 wines, about 24 by the glass. From a wine-list aspect, we are highlighting small, family-owned estates – I love the stories from these winemakers. We have three certified sommeliers on staff, and are trusting our palates and experience to create a substantial, well-rounded wine program. And we would love the chance to let our guests try something unique.
And how about craft beers?
We’ll have six on draft, and we’re really focusing on local, as our guests are looking for that local experience. But we’ve got a small brewery out of Utah, one from North Carolina … we’re searching for cool beers that enhance our menu – everything from a light beer to a heavy porter.
What’s your favorite space on the boat?
We have three lounges: the main bar on the first floor; a small bar on the second floor that seats just seven guests and is more of a “hidden secret,” and the third-floor deck that will be open nightly with live entertainment. It’s my favorite, with a view of both the lake and the springs. We’ll serve small plates and beverages, with laid-back music. There will be a separate beverage menu there – I call this space “vacation in a glass.”
Can you share a cocktail recipe?
Here’s one that takes a classic drink and makes it our own:
Prohibition Mai Tai
- 2 ounces Scarlet Ibis Trinidad Rum
- .5 ounce orgeat syrup
- .5 ounce Giffard Banane du Bresil
- Juice of one-half lime
- Mint, cherry for garnish
- Fill a shaker glass with ice, add ingredients and shake well.
- Pour into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint and drop in cherry.