At ‘Beauty and the Beast Cocktail Experience,’ enjoy a timeless tale with drinks in hand


Rachel Erwin

Jack Riter, one of the actors and the location co-manager, pours vodka into a guest’s glass at the Beauty and the Beast Cocktail Experience March 12. Attendees were allowed to choose the ingredients in their first drink, with multiple liquors, syrups and mixers available.

Rachel Erwin, editor-in-chief

“Beauty and the Beast” was a staple fairytale for many growing up. With its classic story of true love, beloved songs and iconic people-turned-houseware characters, it has lived on through multiple remakes and theatrical stagings. The Beauty and the Beast Cocktail Experience approaches the classic in a fresh way — it adds alcohol and adult humor to the mix. 

The Beauty and the Beast Cocktail Experience, held at The Merchant Kitchen & Drinks in Boston, is a 90-minute immersive production where guests concoct their own drinks, play mind games and scavenger hunts and interact with lively actors. The event is reserved for those 21 and older, except at select family-friendly sessions. Attendees are treated to a welcome drink, two themed cocktails and a selection of cookies and pastries, which, the actors said, were sourced from local Boston bakeries. The experience is highly Instagrammable, featuring numerous photo backdrops, dazzling smoke and dry ice effects. 

Upon entering, guests are led by an actor into an intimate room within the fictional Castle Beaumont holding about 20-25 people, where the walls are lined with paintings and ornate gold fabric. Roses in glass cases, symbolic of the fairytale, line the tables, along with string lights and chandeliers overhead. The space is in the restaurant’s basement, but it’s unrecognizable. Upstairs, the rest of the venue is closed, providing a less disruptive start to the immersion.

Actors Brianna Gervais and Mike Cabral address the audience, concluding the Beauty and the Beast Cocktail Experience March 12 with a reveal of the human form of the prince-turned-beast. Guests had to solve a series of riddles to lift the “curse” and restore the prince to his original form. (Rachel Erwin)

The experience is led by three actors, two who play the couple hosting the party, and one who transforms into the Beast and, later, the Prince. The cast rotates depending on the showing, but at the 7 p.m. performance on March 12, location co-managers Jack Riter and Brianna Gervais played husband and wife, complete with French accents. Mike Cabral stepped into the role of the Prince that night, transforming via multiple costume changes. 

Throughout the show, all three performers mingled with the attendees, sparking lively and thematic conversations. They participated in delightful banter about which household object guests would want to be turned into and had the room roaring with laughter with their jokes about getting drunk on a Sunday and the beast feeling literally “horny.” 

It was a refreshing spin on a childhood classic — “Beauty and the Beast” doesn’t typically involve booze and innuendo. It came with the disclaimer that the event was unaffiliated with Disney, instead being based on the Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont version from 1756. Riter led the audience in an unconventional “Beauty and the Beast” sing along, but the “tale as old as time” had some major lyrical differences from the 1991 original.

Printed instructions for the first cocktail are handed out to each group at the Beauty and the Beast Cocktail Experience March 12. Guests were instructed to build their own “Potion de Désir,” or cocktail, and this drink was one of two craft-your-own drinks at the event. (Rachel Erwin)

The cocktails were each unique spectacles of their own. The “Potion de Désir” gave guests the opportunity to create their chosen beverage, starting with a base of vodka or whiskey. From there, audience members could add in ginger beer, citrus soda, cucumber or peach syrup and spritzes of “love,” “wealth” and “fame,” contained in colorful perfume bottles. The second concoction, the “Rozier Tonique,” came to life as each group completed a series of three challenges, intended to free the Beast from his curse and the rest of the crowd from being trapped in Castle Beaumont. Inscribed in books from the “Beast’s library,” each clue was a mystery to be solved in exchange for a cocktail component. First, guests used letters etched into the paintings around the room to unscramble the prince’s true name to receive the pink liquid base. The second riddle referenced Beauty’s magic mirror, leading attendees to find the iridescent glassware. Finally, guests had to find the answer to the following: 

“My whole life can be measured in hours. I serve my masters by being devoured. When I am thin, I go quick. When I am fat, I go slow. And because of what’s found at the top, wind is my foe. What am I?” 

No spoilers here, but once this was complete, guests were invited to add a few rose petals into their drinks, and Gervais added dry ice to the final creation, producing a vivid pink drink, topped with a layer of white smoke. Both cocktails were surprisingly delicious — often, themed drinks like these can be sickeningly sweet or “fake” tasting, but these were flavorful, refreshing and well-balanced. 

The event, however, did suffer a bit from being short-lived. The first and last 15 minutes were dedicated to welcome and exit time respectively, so the actual show only lasted about an hour. For the price of $47, it is understandable that some guests might leave feeling as though the experience could have lasted longer. Additionally, the riddles were somewhat basic, and most adults could solve them within minutes. For an event described as having an escape room element, more challenging puzzles would enhance the experience. 

Despite this, the stunning visual appeal of the event as well as the actors’ immense talent for themed improv made it a memorable and worthwhile night. The props, set decoration, glassware, wigs and lighting were breathtaking and painstakingly detailed, which made for a thoroughly immersive experience. Lovers of “Beauty and the Beast” will enjoy the nostalgia in this event, but there’s something to it for non-diehard fans as well — anyone can appreciate a night out, some yummy snacks and a fun adult beverage. 

The Beauty and the Beast Cocktail Experience is currently ongoing and will remain open through March 31. Tickets are available online via Hidden Media.