Best Signature Cocktails at Universal CityWalk

March 30, 2023
A waitress in a white shirt holds out a Red Cocktail with ice in a glass cup against a blurry background.

The Local, from Vivo Italian Kitchen

If you’ve ever visited one of the Universal Orlando theme parks, you know it all begins with a stroll through Universal CityWalk, which is an attraction all its own. One of my favorite things to do on a day I’m not spending a full day in the theme parks is to grab a drink and a bite to eat with some friends at one of the many bars and restaurants dotting CityWalk. If you’re looking for unique and signature cocktails that truly capture the spirit of each of the distinct stops along the way, there’s something you — and everyone else you’re with — will love. Here are my faves at each of CityWalk’s main stops:


Top pick: Lakeside Punch

On a warm day, there are few drinks more refreshing and delicious than this. A combination of vodka and orange, pineapple, and cranberry juices make this a crisp, citrusy choice to sip with just about any item on the menu — my pick is the bourbon cheese fondue, which is served with bread and veggies for dipping.

Honorable mention: PB&J

A close-up from above of a cocktail in a glass cup. There is a big ice cube inside the drink, with a toothpick through what seems to be an olive and a yellow-ish-orange peel-like wrapping. The background is white.

If you’re looking for a unique and fun twist on your typical Old Fashioned, this drink is for you. The combination of peanut butter whiskey, bourbon, and raspberry liqueur gives you a drink that is a little sweeter than what you might expect, but in a really satisfying way. Sitting down at the bar and looking out over the fire pits outside is really the ideal way to enjoy this sandwich-turned-drink.

Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

Top pick: Ruby Panther

If you like raspberry lemonade, this drink will be a hit. It is refreshing and doesn’t have a strong alcohol flavor, which I appreciate with a cocktail like this. It is made with grapefruit vodka, simple syrup, lemon juice, pink lemonade and raspberries and is one of the most refreshing drinks I’ve had – and came highly recommended by the waitstaff as a crowd favorite. (P.S. The outside seating here is great, as well, and offers a gorgeous view from up top)

Honorable mention: The King Lives

Milkshake Cocktail Cowfish in mason jar with red and white straw against a blurry background. It sits on top of a blurred, light blue table, with various blurred objects on it.

I know what you’re thinking: can a milkshake really be a cocktail? I don’t know if I would say that normally, but in this case, I’m going to say yes. This drink is big enough to share, and is very sweet and delicious. It combines rum, banana liqueur, vanilla ice cream, big chunks of banana and peanut butter cups into a boozy treat worthy of the extra sugar intake. I can’t imagine taking this on alone, but if you’ve got a crew to share with, I wouldn’t pass this one up.

Vivo Italian Kitchen

Top pick:  Limoncello Collins

This play on the traditional Tom Collins features dry gin, limoncello, simple syrup and lemon juice. I’m not typically a big fan of gin drinks, but the limoncello gives this one a crisp, refreshing flavor profile that is a great complement to the hearty food items you might order here, like the Baked Eggplant Parmigiana or Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. Extra points for the amazing outdoor seating area that lets you enjoy the atmosphere — and people watch!

Honorable mention: The Local

I’m always a fan of drinking (and eating) local whenever possible, so I love that this cocktail features locally-distilled vodka, along with lime juice, agave syrup, and fig and strawberry jam. The jam brings a slight sweetness to the drink that balances with the lime and vodka perfectly.

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen

Top pick: Old Chocolate Fashioned

The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium Chocolate Old Fashioned with ice and two toppings in a glass cup with a geometric pattern. It sits on a brown napkin on a white, marble-like table, with a blurred, dark background.

It makes sense that one of the best drinks I’ve ever had is a chocolate drink at the Chocolate Emporium. This drink is made with chocolate whiskey, cherry liqueur, chocolate, and orange bitters. The thing that really stands out is the balance between the chocolate and bourbon — this is something that would even appeal to those who aren’t big bourbon drinkers, but isn’t so sweet that it is a big departure from the Old Fashioned vibe you’d expect. It’s a great twist on a classic that is executed perfectly. I especially enjoyed sipping on this one from the upstairs bar, which offers pretty spectacular views of all of CityWalk.

Honorable mention: Peach Smash

This is a bourbon enthusiast jackpot. It’s made with bourbon, peach puree, lime juice and aromatic bitters, which gives it a nice complexity while still maintaining a bourbon-forward flavor to it.

NBC Sports Grill & Brew 

Top pick: Crimson Derby

Crimson Derby N.B.C in a wide, glass cup. The drink, which has a fizzy, white top, sits on a brown surface, which has seemingly taped-off rows on it, with a number in them made of the same black, tape-like material. 2 and 3 are visible in the image, and the cup sits on top of the line separating two's row and three's row. Three metal cylinders sit on the table, around the number two.

This fruity cocktail is a blend of rum, cherry liqueur, simple syrup, lime juice and pineapple juice and is a great option if you prefer a mixed drink to the huge beer selection NBC Sports Grill has. This is a clear fave if you want to settle in to watch something on game day and munch on pretzel while you drink.

Honorable mention: Southern Margarita

Moonshine is the star of this cocktail, along with triple sec, agave nectar, and fresh orange and lime juice. It makes for an excellent version of a margarita with a deeper flavor profile that is unique without seeming like a totally different drink.

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food

Top pick: Bourbon Horchata

I won’t deny that I like bourbon a lot, but this drink is great even if you’re not as big of a fan as I am. The horchata and cinnamon balance out the bite of the bourbon and make for an authentic-tasting Mexican drink that you can’t find anywhere else. Plus, being serenaded by the mariachi band while you drink it really adds a whole new level of uniqueness to the experience.

Honorable mention: Pineapple Fire and Ice

A blurry person in a turquoise, seemingly button-up shirt dips a yellow popsicle into a yellow drink in a conical glass with a brown rim. The glass sits on a black table, which has various blurred objects on it.

I’m not usually a fan of spicy drinks, but this one is so fun and different that I can’t help but recommend it as one to try. This twist on a margarita is made with pineapple jalapeño tequila, agave nectar, fresh lime, and a pineapple ice pop. I love the inclusion of the ice pop, which makes for a head-turning presentation.

Pat O’Brien’s

Top pick: Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane

A hand holds up a pink-ish-red drink with ice in an almost hourglass-shaped glass cup that reads "Pat O Brien's Orlando" under an ornate design. A fruit that may be an orange sits on the top left of the drink. The outdoor seating area full of people on the left and empty on the right is blurred, as are the trees and other pieces of furniture. The sun is bright against the background.

If you know, you know. Hurricanes are famous for a reason, and Pat O’Brien’s is the home of the original Hurricane, made with rum and hurricane mix (which is a combination of orange and passionfruit juice). If you’ve never had this drink from this bar, you’re missing out. It is a must-try for anyone who wants a classic cocktail made by the experts. Check out the inside of the bar for a fun dueling piano show and a secret outside seating spot to really get the full experience.

Honorable mention: Fuzzy Leprechaun

A hand holds up a green drink with ice, an orange, and a cherry, in a glass cup with a circular bottom. The cup reads "Have fun!" with an exclamation point, with the text underlined and in green. The background of people sitting at outdoor tables to the drink's right, and empty tables to the drink's left, seemingly a level below is blurred, as well as the plants, buildings, and sunny sky.

If the adorable name isn’t enough to pique your interest, this drink is made from the amazing combination of vodka, peach schnapps, blue curacao, and orange and pineapple juice. It is fruity and delicious without being overly sweet and is a good choice if you’ve had your fill of Hurricanes.

Hard Rock Cafe

Top pick: Rhythm & Rose’ Mule

This take on the popular drink is creative and delicious. Combining vodka, rosé, passion fruit, green tea, lime and ginger beer, this mule has a crisp, slightly bitter taste that is perfect if you are looking for a cocktail that isn’t too sweet.

Honorable mention: Purple Haze

This drink is a doozy, made from vodka, gin and rum, with sweet and sour mix, lemon-lime soda, and raspberry liqueur. It is tasty and the liquor flavor definitely comes through on this one.

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville & Lone Palm Airport

Top pick: Mango Margarita

A hand holding up a yellow drink with ice, a fruit, and a pink flower on a straw or stick of some kind, against a blurred background of a body of water with a water taxi driving on it and a dock.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that my favorite drink at Margaritaville is a margarita (those with keen eyes will notice I’ve slipped several into honorable mentions in this whole article…), but I was a little surprised to find it was a flavored one. The mango is refreshing and light, and doesn’t have a strong tequila flavor, which I personally prefer. This particular drink is made with house mango tequila, triple sec, orange juice, house margarita mix and agave.

Honorable mention: Who’s to Blame

This is the signature margarita of Margaritaville and is a classic combination of house tequila, triple sec, and house margarita mix. It is well-crafted and there’s no better place to sit back and sip this cocktail and take in the atmosphere.

Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom

Top pick: One love

This cocktail, made from rum, blue curacao, blackberry liqueur and pineapple juice, is sweet and fruity, and is perfect for mentally transporting you to a warm beach in the Caribbean (especially if you’re taking in some of the bar’s live music while you drink it.)

Honorable mention: Uncle Wray’s Rum Punch

Another sweet rum punch, this time featuring white rum, amaretti, crème de banana liqueur and orange and pineapple juices. I find this one is a touch sweeter than One Love, but both are great tropical drinks to sip on and take in the atmosphere.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Top pick: Rum Forrest Rum

Some drinks find their signature nature in their ingredients, but some get it from their name. This one is a rum punch with two types of rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, orange juice, and grenadine. It is delicious and the themed name is a hit with every friend group I’ve been here with.

Honorable mention: Jenny’s Pink Lemonade

This cocktail is a bit vodka-heavy, with citrus, mandarin, and raspberry vodkas, but the passion fruit puree, cranberry juice, and lemonade help balance it out a bit. It is still a strong drink, though, and there’s no mistaking you’re getting your money’s worth with this one.

Where’s your favorite spot to grab a drink in CityWalk? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

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