Well known to many on-island and as Beverage Manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Amba Lamb oversees all beverage operations for Seven, Blue, Taikun, Bar Jack, Andiamo and Silver Palm Lounge.
Amba says that cocktail culture evolves so quickly that it is barely recognizable to what it was 20 years ago, when sweet, strong and artificially flavored drinks were the in thing.
“Consumers are now more educated and more connected globally than ever before, as are bartenders. I believe people are looking for more experiential cocktail moments and are more interested in the story of the cocktail,” she says. “Often this comes from provenance of the ingredients or cocktail style, the sustainability or locality of the drink or even the thought process behind a menu concept. Can we take them on a journey or teach them something new?”
Of course, in our technology-driven age, Amba notes that social media also has something to do with the evolution of the cocktail culture. “An ‘instagrammable’ drink or experience is often what people are seeking out. Of course, the drink needs to be delicious but if it is also unique, beautiful and possibly interactive then can be the complete package.”
Cayman’s cocktail culture keeps in line with global trends and skill sets. “We have an amazing community of bartenders, storytellers and experience makers,” she explains. “We are also very lucky to have a great collection of local farmers and artisans on island that we work with.”
As for the near future of the ever-evolving trade, Amba predicts more focus on provenance, and the next trend as tequila and mezcal from artisan producers. “I think we will see more technology involved in cocktail experiences also…exciting things to come!”