Jasper Soffer, founder and co-owner of the original Mulberry Project speakeasy in New York City, is bringing his Mulberry project pop-up and its team of cocktail masters to Colibri Boutique Hotels’ La Zebra in Tulum, Mexico, for the third year. Soffer is excited to create even more creative and personalized beverages for the hotel’s guests. In Tulum, Mulberry Project’s cocktails feature the local spirits and flavors of Mexico, highlighting mezcal, tequila and rum while adding a dose of mystery and intuition.
Just steps from the ocean, the pop-up on the sand offers a twist on cocktail culture. Rather than ordering a preset cocktail from a list on a printed menu, guests at Mulberry Project at La Zebra select the liquor base that most appeals and “suggest” ingredients based on a chalkboard listing of market-fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices available that day. For the third step, guests describe the “type” of cocktail they like—refreshing, sweet, spicy, tropical, bitter, dry, smoky, herbal and more. Then it’s up to the drink masters to handcraft the perfect bespoke drink.
Feel like having a not-too-sweet tequila blanco with a little fruit? Perhaps you’ll get a habanero-infused Ancho Reyes version with watermelon, lime, elderflower and cracked black pepper. Or maybe you’ll get a smoky mezcal concoction with local ingredients like Mexican mole bitters. “We compose cocktails that can create a specific mood, address a particular desire, or relate to the personality that we sense,” Soffer said. “You give us a hint, and we do the rest.”
Soffer was drawn to Tulum five years ago by the beauty of the area and the freshness and distinctiveness of the local ingredients. “We don’t believe in boredom,” he said. “We want to surprise you and please you at the same time. We’ll give you a cocktail you’ve probably never had before, something that fits with the magic that is Tulum. In fact, your second cocktail may be something entirely different.”
The cocktails are also served at La Zebra’s restaurant, under the direction of Chef Eleazar Bonilla.