marriott and mark.

after work, i headed home and performed magic: i packed a weekend bag in 20-minutes flat.

i can’t say i’ve ever done that before, and i am hoping that when i go to get dressed tomorrow morning i haven’t forgotten anything.

running out the door, i caught my shuttle and 20-minutes later i was at my destination – the new international terminal at the calgary airport.

sadly, i’m not catching a flight anywhere exotic, but i am spending the weekend at the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel.

i brought my passport just in case the travel bug takes over from watching planes take off all day. i can see both the air canada and west jet boarding gates, and my first trip of 2018 sounds pretty tempting! though, a city staycation is also blissful. Marriott Hotels have some of the most comfortable beds amongst hotel chains, and if you like a good shower, you’re in the right place.

when i got to my room i was greeted with a personalized note (my favourite) and an itinerary of what to expect for the weekend. i checked my watch, i had to get changed and head down to the mezzanine; it was cocktail time!

if you’ve been kicking around here for a while, you’ll know i don’t drink much. heck, i went out for a bachelorette party night in vegas sober, and strictly high on life.

i don’t know much about alcohol, so when i found out that the first activity of the weekend was actually a competition to create a signature cocktail, my heart started to flutter. have i mentioned my anxiety doesn’t do well with the word “competition” either?

thankfully, i was paired with SamiJoe, who used to bartend and is pretty creative when it comes to mixing a drink. and as a mother to preteens, she’s pretty darn good at calming anxiety, too.

we made a deal, she’d mix the drink, i’d take the photos, and i’d help brainstorm what to name it.

i think i held up my end of the bargain!

the base of all the cocktails was Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon. from there we had an array of liquors, bitters, spices, herbs, fruits, pureés and the like to experiment with.

after taking a look at all the ingredients, we had 30 minutes to create our cocktail. SamiJoe knew she wanted to start with rosemary and built the rest of her flavour profile from there.

the end result, named Merlin’s Magic, included Maker’s Mark, absinthe, angostura bitters, rosemary and bourbon soaked cherries, stirred with ice, strained and served in a martini glass, manhattan-style.


our cocktail didn’t win, but neither of us thought that it may.

after the competition, i was drawn to the table of snacks laid out by the talented staff from YAKIMA kitchen + bar – the restaurant in the lobby of the hotel.

mini beef sliders, homemade jerky, freshly baked buns and bacon jam, charcuterie, chicken wings, and so much more.

nibbles will always win me over and make me happy (especially if i haven’t eaten dinner and it’s 9 p.m.!).

i excused myself from the gathering to head up to the private M Club lounge on the seventh floor of the hotel. it’s very private and requires keycard access. i knew i could come blog in a quiet space. bonus: there is sparkling water on tap and a jar of freshly baked cookies.

it’s far too late, and we have a full day of events planned tomorrow. this kitten needs her beauty sleep!

thank you, Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel for inviting me to stay and enjoy this weekend.