When I found out I was going to attend Waldorf on the Prairie at this year’s cocktail conference, I tried my best not to fangirl. Not only is this an event that people rave about, but it also meant I was getting a chance to set foot into the St. Anthony Hotel. For this little Southside girl, it sort of felt like I was going to prom again—but, you know, with liquor consumption encouraged, better food and a lot less taffeta. With these high expectations and my cousin Gabby in tow, I made my way to Waldorf on the Prairie to see if this event is worth all the hype.
It didn’t take me long to find my favorite drink of the night. In fact, it was my very first drink of the night. Patron paired their XO Cafe liqueur with espresso, sweet milk and ice to create a snowcone. Yes. A snow cone! Despite the chilly weather felt throughout the courtyard—where Patron’s bar was located—the alcoholic coffee snowcone was a big hit and by far the most Instagrammable cocktail at the event. I found myself shoving past cameras galore just to get my hands on this bad boy.
When I went inside St. Anthony Hotel, the beauty of this luxury hotel was breathtaking. Chandeliers dripped from the ceiling, casting a golden glow throughout the room. Victorian furniture provided an elegant spot for people to rest and take luxurious selfies. This venue made us feel like we were inside the castle of Beauty and the Beast—pre and post-curse, of course.
The notes of the musicians from each main room seemed to seamlessly mingle with one another, floating alongside the chatter of the attendees. In the Anacacho room, We are the Night Owls provided a lively performance that brought out a dancing crowd. They sang some oldies but goodies—like The Jackson 5’s “ABC”—so there was no way you could avoid singing along or tapping your foot to the nostalgic tunes.
Aside from the amazing Patron snow cone, another favorite of mine was Flor de Cana’s Agua Colada. Made with their 7-year rum, coconut water and pineapple juice, it provided a refreshing taste. Truth be told, Gabby and I made sure to go back for seconds.
Waldorf on the Praire also had some great hors-d’oeuvres. Sichuan House brought their spicy Sichuan chicken salad and ginger vinaigrette with long beans. Let me just say, it was love at first spicy bite. Honestly, this even beat out the life-saving Chilaquiles breakfast tacos that were passed out at the end of the night.
A room away, live portraits were being done by Franco Mondini-Ruiz. Initially, I assumed he was just painting a nice portrait. That was until the crowd cleared and I saw the real inspiration standing side-by-side a few feet away.
I knew I couldn’t attend a San Antonio Cocktail Conference event without trying their signature cocktail, the Tio Mio. The Tio Mio calls for a mixture of Herradura añejo tequila, agave nectar, angostura bitters, and chocolate bitters. This subtle twist on a classic sure had a kick.
The beauty of St. Anthony Hotel is incomparable, and each room was home to gorgeous decorations, tasty cocktails, savory food and enjoyable music. Without a doubt, Waldorf on the Prairie met and exceeded my expectations—definitely better than prom.