The innovative bar program at The Rez Grill is a joint effort between longtime colleagues and friends James Manuel (director of fine dining) and Lorenzo Cardei (assistant general manager).

For more than a decade, Cardei and Manuel had a mixology vision that finally came to fruition at The Rez Grill.

Keeping with The Rez’s laid-back vibe, Manuel and Cardei wanted guests to have fun with their cocktails, including the vessels they’re served in—like the “When We Were Young” cocktail, served in a pouch akin to a Capri Sun. The menu is divided into fun categories like the “Expeditious,” which are bottled cocktails poured tableside; “Retro,” a nod to classic cocktails that pay respect to the history of mixology; “Savory,” those drinks for cocktail-goers who want to avoid anything too sweet; and “The Close,” are drinks that end a meal.

The Rez Grill, bar and dining area

The Rez Grill

Photo Courtesy of The Rez Grill.

The Rez Grill recently unveiled four new cocktails to its menu. The new additions are the New Fashioned, made with Zacapa 23, chocolate bitters, dehydrated orange, and filthy cherry; the Hot & Dirty, featuring vodka, jalapeño, olive brine and a spicy tomato popsicle; and a classically made “retro” Mai Tai featuring dark rum, lime, and two key ingredients courtesy of executive chef Frank Anderson: house-made curaçao (a month-long intensive labor of love) and his signature orgeat almond syrup. Last but not least is the Cookies & Cream, a brandy milk punch that’s garnished with cookie crumbles and served up in a light bulb.

Also located in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa guests can visit Council Oaks Steaks & Seafood. The restaurant features 100 percent U.S.D.A. prime steaks, which are all dry-aged 21 to 28 days; Alaskan King Crab legs brought to you directly from the Bering Sea; to fresh Maine lobsters; and an award-winning wine selection.

Khalessi, cocktail with cucumber garnish




  • 1.5 oz. Effen Cucumber Vodka
  • 1 oz. St-Germain Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Pear Nectar
  • 1 dash Lemon Juice
  • Sparkling Wine (to Top)
  • 2 Basil Leaves
  • Cucumber Slice (to Garnish)

Preparation: Gently muddle the basil in a tin. Add ingredients, except the sparkling wine and cucumber, to the tin with ice and shake. Double strain into a Martini glass and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with cucumber slice.

Improved G&T cocktail with garnish, bottle in back

Improved G&T

Improved G&T


  • 1.5 oz. Gin
  • .5 oz. St-Germain Liqueur
  • 2 oz. Tonic (to Top)

Preparation: Combine first two ingredients in a small bottle. Top with tonic water, and serve the bottle tableside with a rocks glass and large ice cube.