Tales from Orlando: A Delightful Tower of Alcoholic Shame

by Justin D'Olier on July 1, 2011 | Comments Off on Tales from Orlando: A Delightful Tower of Alcoholic Shame |

After my family’s initial culinary adventure at T-Rex we decided to round out our tour of Orlando’s finest animal themed culinary experiences at Rainforest Cafe, the original immersive animatronic dining establishment. For the uninitiated, Rainforest Cafe is a jungle themed restaurant or, perhaps more appropriately, a restaurant themed jungle. The interior of the eatery is a floor to ceiling replica of a rainforest, complete with dense foliage and animatronic animals. If you ever wanted to eat fried cheese sticks in the shadow of a robot gorilla, Rainforest Cafe is the place for you.

Rainforest Cafe was created by the same fine folks who envisioned T-Rex, so it came as no surprise when that the drink menu featured a similar selection of Frankenstienesque cocktails, only marginally more believable than the robot sloth hanging perilously above my head.

After a quick perusal of the potent potables, my selection was clear: Panama Punch. A self-described “cool” drink – which, I’m reasonably sure referred to the ice – that combined Bacardi 151, Myers’s Original Rum, Peach Schnapps, 99 Bananas liqueur, Creme de Cassis, orange juice and pineapple juice. It combined more liquors than they have behind the bar at your average Chili’s and conflicted worse than an Andre 3000 outfit. In short, it was perfect.

I confidently stated my selection to the waiter. One Panama Punch. Did I want to pay the extra $4.00 to drink it out of a 24 ounce collectible Rainforest Cafe mug, thereby rounding out my set of garish, staggeringly tacky tourist drink glasses?

You bet I did.

(If you come over to my house for a drink, you better believe I’m serving you a Manhattan out of one of my new 24 ounce collectible mugs. You even get to choose Dinosaurs or Rainforest theme. Lucky you.)

I sat back and waited for the Panama Punch experience.

Rainforest Cafe Panama Punch

This color pink is not found in nature.

The drink arrived in a beautiful, towering Rainforest Cafe mug glowing a somewhat lovely, if completely unnatural, shade of pink with a single slice of orange floating on top. It smelled like the generic Waikiki hotel tourist breakfast buffet fruit punch, probably attributable to the strong presence of pineapple juice, but lacked any cloying or punget aromas. I held my nose, closed my eyes, and took a drink.

The drink was, actually… somewhat… surprisingly… a little… vaguely… tasty. I don’t know if it was the strength of the 151, the rounded sweetness of the Myers, or the mostly tart juices, but the drink actually had balance, if only a slight semblance. It wasn’t good, but it was completely, well, appropriate. It tasted exactly like you’d expect a garish overpriced tutty-fruity punch to taste. A perfect compliment to fried food, garish rainforest themed bacchanalia, and a robotic jaguar looming over your shoulder. I might even say that I enjoyed the experience, if I didn’t think doing so would cause Dave Power to permanently ban me from sitting at the bar at Town.

So, if you find yourself dining in the land of animatronic kinkajoos and feel the need to kick off your shoes and order an embarassing tower of alcoholic shame, you could do a lot worse than Rainforest Cafe’s Panama Punch.

Just don’t tell anyone I said that.

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