The Tiki Cocktail Challenge is back!

 

If you`re into tiki and tiki cocktails you might already be familiar with the Tiki Cocktail Challenge by “El Nova” (@el_nova55 and @tikicommando (Tacoma Cabana & Devil`s Reef) on instagram) which are weekly challenges to re-create or make a twist of, or go to a bar and order, a specific tiki cocktail and then post up a nice picture of it. The best picture wins. It`s all for fun and challenge your creative mode. It was a while ago (2015) but the Tiki cocktail challenge is back again and in full swing!

The pictures and recipes are posted in the “Tiki Recipes” group on Facebook and on Instagram with the hashtag that is set for each specific challenge for example #demeraradryfloatchallenge2019″ etc.

We are three weeks into it already and I made these drinks so far, my first entry, was for the “151 Swizzle” Challenge:

151 Tribute Swizzle Number Five

The recipe is based on the  “Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s 151 Swizzle”v.4 by The Atomic Grog, my favorite tiki blog on this planet! but the grenadine is switched out for fassionola (homemade) and the ratios are upped as well while the sugar syrup is omitted.  Then 0.5 oz Batavia arrack is added for a subtle layer of extra funk.

1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fassionola (BG Reynold`s, homemade or other quality fassionola)
0.25 oz falernum
0.25 oz cinnamon syrup
1 oz Lemon Hart 151 overproof rum
1 oz Dr Bird jamaican rum
0.5 oz Batavia arrack (By the Dutch or Batavia Arrack van Oosten)
1 dash Angostura bitters
2 drops Absinthe

Pulse blend with 1 cup of crushed ice for 5 seconds and pour into a chilled metal swizzle cup, other swizzle glass or pilsner glass, adding more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

The mini tiki torch is from Grider Adventure Art.

Beachcomber`s Secret

My 2nd entry was for the “Beachcomber`s Gold” Challenge, I changed the recipe a bit and it became a darker more “secretive” take on the gold.

1 oz Coruba Dark 
1/4 oz Lemon Hart 151
1/4 oz Barbancourt 8
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz demerara syrup
1/4 oz Hibiscus grenadine
6 drops Pernod or Absinthe
2 drops almond extract
2 oz (1/4 cup) crushed ice

Flash blend for 5 seconds and strain into a saucer glass lined
with an ice shell forming a hood over the glass. Serve with short straws.

Demerara Dry Float (From Beachbum Berry’s Intoxica!)

2.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1.5 oz passion fruit syrup
0.25 oz sugar syrup
1 oz Demerara rum
0.25 oz 151 Demerara rum
0.25 oz maraschino liqueur

Shake everything, except 151 rum, with ice cubes. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice (or lined with an ice shell). Carefully float 151. Do not stir.

By Don the Beachcomber, circa 1941.

Ice shell:

The ice shell creation in the  “Demerara Dry Float” is a bit different from the one in “beachcomber´s Secret, with an ice shell that is not tilted to created a “hood” over the drink. It just sits upright and is also a little bit smaller or lower than the classic tilted ice shell you can see in the “Beachcomber`s Gold”. Drinks with these types of ice shells are usually served in a flaired glass,

In the old days of Don the Beachcomber these ice shells was a marvel to behold. They were made to perfection with very finely shaved ice creating very thin “walls” and the walls were not “buckled” in the way you see them today with crushed ice, instead they were smooth like silk! at least that`s what I`ve seen in a video.

I have yet to accomplish an ice shell that look that way, that`s partly due to me not having an ice shaver and partly that a lot of training is needed. It`s not easy to get them to look so perfect. When you make a hooded ice shell you need to consider the temperature of the ice. it need to be a little “soft”to easily mold, but not too soft and melting. Then it need to be as fine as you can get it.

You need a flaired glass and you fill it up with the shaved (preferably, and if not, crushed) ice and with your hands (or with something round) form a hole in the bottom that you press with your fingers and slowly tilt upwards on the side of the glass until a hood is formed. Add a little more ice to the bottom to”hold” the hood.

Then you put the glass in the freezer for at least 1 hour before pouring the drink in it. When you make the non-hooded ice shell you just make the hole in the bottom pressing the ice upwards on all sides around the glass and put it in the freezer and that´s it.

That was all for now, if you want to join in on the challenge or check out all the other amazing drinks go to the Facebook group “Tiki Recipes” and also check out the hashtags #151swizzlechallenge2019″, “beachcombersgoldchallenge2019” and “demeraradryfloatchallenge2019” on Instagram.

Tiki Coquitonaut for the Christmas Holidays!

I just got the idea to mix together the Coquito with the Coconaut and thus the Tiki Coquitonaut was born. It`s a handy beverage for the holidays because it´s not only very tasty,  it`s so easy to make and to bring along when you visit friends and family.

I made this tikified Coquito in honor of the cool guys @ Los del Caribe in Peru! Los del Caribe are are two guys discovering the secret mixes of the Amazonas and the Caribbean. They are going to make a trip throughout the Amazon and the Caribbean to find new flavors, colors, cultures and traditions that they will bring into the art behind the bar. You can find them on instagram at @losdelcaribeloco

Tiki Coquitonaut (makes a small bottle)

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2 oz Alamea Spiced rum
2 oz Plantation OFTD overproof rum
2 oz Coruba Dark Jamaican rum
0.5 oz Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur
0.25 oz Alamea Pimento Rum Liqueur
2 oz sweet condensed milk
2 oz Cream of Coconut
12 oz Tahitian vanilla milk
6 oz Coconut milk

Add to blender and blend well, bottle and put in the fridge to get cold. Serve in a chilled glass with a dust of cinnamon powder and grated nutmeg on top.

*Tahitian vanilla milk – Pour 2 cups of milk into a bottle with 2-3 Tahitian vanilla beans, cut in half. Let sit for 2 hours or overnight.

Glass: Tiki split glass from Libbey
Moai mug: Maka Tiki
Tiki carving by Samuele de Vietro

You may substitute the rums if you cannot find them with others, try to keep it in the aged Jamaican pot still style kicked up with some overproof and something with natural spice for best result.

Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka!

“Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day. That’s the island greeting that we send to you From the land where palm trees sway”

“Mele Kalikimaka” is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson. The song takes its title from the Hawaiian phrase Mele Kalikimaka, meaning “Merry Christmas”

Glassology by Libbey Mahaloween Tiki Cocktail Challenge 2018

Every year the Libbey of Europe team with  Kevin Vollebregt and Sofia Pereira launches a Tiki cocktail challenge on their Facebook group page, This is just one challenge among many others with other styles of cocktails. This year`s tiki theme was Halloween, or Mahaloween as it´s usually called in the tiki world (together with Alohaween and Tikiween) Last year`s challenge was to make a tiki drink in their new beautiful pineapple glass, and it was won by Oriol Elias. The challenge this year was to create a tiki cocktail (or tiki inspired cocktail) that had fall and winter flavors, and that could scare or awe the jury. Just like last year Daniele Dalla Pola was judging all cocktails together with the help of Elis Carriero from the Nu Lounge bar in Bologna.

The 50 participants were able to choose one glass each out of 3 new tiki glasses that was launched by Libbey this year. Two beautiful stemware glasses and a Tiki split glass with two personalities. I`m gonna present the five winning cocktails here on the blog starting with my own which I present here below.

I really like all the Libbey tiki glasses so it was a bit difficult to choose, but I picked one of the stem glasses (the Tiki Mai Tai) for my drink,  because I got the idea of using McGrider`s new mini tiki torches…  which actually was the inspiration for my drink, but unf and not surprisingly they were sold out. So instead I made two flaming sticks from bamboo and croutons. I wanted the scene for my drink to be omnious, dark and foreboding… and some kind of “ancient” and dusty with a slightly creepy drink. Then I happened to pass by our grocery store and in it were those little skulls… and that was it, now I had my cocktail idea clear!

Inspiration story: In the dark night of Mahaloween… the tiki skull needs a sacrifice – a sacrifice of blood… to appease the bad forces because they are angry. Flaming torches and blood in a glass… let the skull enter and drink himself content. The peace will remain, maybe, for another year.

Blood Sacrifice

15 ml Fresh Red Beet Juice
7.5 ml Apple Juice
7.5 ml Passionfruit Juice
6-10 Fresh Ginger Slices (to muddle)
15 ml Re`al Ginger Syrup
30 ml Fresh Lime Juice
7.5 ml Alamea Spiced Rum
7.5 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
15 ml Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal
30 ml Plantation OFTD

Muddle ginger slices in shaker with some of the lime juice. The ginger should be as fresh as possible so it’s juicy. Add enough to add a clear bite but not to overpower in flavor, but the drink should be sharp. Add the rest of ingredients and shake, strain into a chilled Libbey tiki glass, lined with a tropical leaf inside.
Add one large square shaped ice cube. Garnish with a skull and 2 flaming mini tiki torches.

*Flaming mini torches – secure 2 croutons on top of thin, short, bamboo sticks. Soak the croutons in lemon extract or overproof rum and set alight.

Or you buy the best mini torches from McGrider! but you need to be really really quick….because they are so popular they sell out as soon as he put them up on his Etsy page! NOW after the contest is done…I have finally been able to snag a few of his torches! so expect to see them later on this blog and also in upcoming books!

That was my entry and I had a lot of fun with it! but there were some really amazing cocktails in this challenge and I feel honored to have my drink among the winners with these beautiful cocktails! but there were many more…. and you can see them all and get the recipes and also see the videos on the Libbey Glassology page.

Behold in awe… here are the other four winners:

Kahe`ikeanu (cocktail and photo Oriol Elias)

Ingredients (for about 500ml of cocktail):
4.5oz Plantation 3 Stars
4.5oz Trois Rivières Cuvée de l’Ocèan
3oz Rum-Bar White Overproof
3oz Lime Juice
1.5oz Grapefruit Juice
1.5oz Banana Real
1.5oz Cinnamon Syrup
9 dashes Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters
2oz Milk
18 Coffee Beans

Method:
1- Stir all the ingredients in a cup and let sit for 4 hours.
2- Strain with a cheesecloth to discard the curdle.
3- Strain another time with the cheesecloth in order to have a clear cocktail.
4- Bottle and keep in the fridge.

Service:
Serve chilled in the Libbey Tiki Coupe with an ice Shell.
Add some drops of grenadine to the ice Shell for a bloody effect.

Inspiration story: The ancient Hawaiians explains a legend about the winter. Each 300 years a never seen cold covers all the island of Moloka’i… an unsuspected sudden winter appears with snow and ice, on their tale the old men also explain that the winter brings the Kahe’ikeanu, a damned spirit who can take the shape of a human, he can acquire any face, and nobody can assure to have ever seen him…only blood stains remain in his path…he is considered invisible killer…nobody can survive him…mmm…you feel it? It’s cold outside…It seems that the Winter is coming…

Rusty Jungle (Cocktail by Davide David Mitacchione,  photo Anna Ciupryk Photography )

– 30ml Bacardí anejo 4
– 20ml mezcal joven 100% agave espadin
– 10ml Alamea pimento rum liqueur
– 30ml fresh lime juice
– 10ml fresh yellow grapefruit
– 30ml tiki jungle mix*

*tiki jungle mix: 2 part of carob orgeat + 1 part of Re’al ginger syrup

Tecnique: shake all ingredients and strain into couple glass.

Inspiration story: We are in unknown jungle on an island, where we find only strange and unexpected roots and fruits. We create a magic potion, we don’t know if we will survive: just let’s try that!

White Walker ( Cocktail by Ásgeir Bergmann Pétursson, Photo credit Maja Jantar)

3cl J.Walker Red label
2cl Monkey Shoulders
2cl Port Charlotte,
3cl Falerum syrup*
1cl Pumpkin Spice*
3cl Lime Juice,
1 drop Rosewater

*Syrups are from commercially available company that rhymes with Samurai with out a master.

Shake vigorously and serve with the shaking ice

Inspiration story: As the wind howls, the cold and darkness set in. Further into the woods yet you wander, cursing your vow in every step. “My shift begins now bullshit” you think, knowing that you are deep behind the wall and there shall be no salvation for you. Yet, as both frost and terror freeze you in your steps, you are filled with amazement and wonder as your eyes feast up on magical sight before you. “This, this is how it happens?”. Before you the earth opens up and slowly but surely a new one emerges. It will be the death of you but neither your lips or feet are willing to leave it. From the earth a new “White Walker” has been born.

Jack’s Tipple (cocktail and photo by Timos Spanos)

60ml Shortbread Butter Gold Rum 
35ml Sweet Vermouth
25ml Cinnamon & Raisin Triple Sec
2 dashes Elemakule Tiki Bitters
Rinse the glass with Fernet Branca

Method: Shaken

Garnish: Bone (doesn’t need to be from an actual human being)

Inspiration story: Jack’s Tipple is inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas, a film which takes place in Halloween Town. This creepy concoction combines Tiki features with a hint of Christmas, much like the film, and is made with Shortbread Butter Rum, Cinnamon and Raisin infused Triple Sec, Sweet Vermouth, Fernet Branca and Elemakule Tiki Bitters, served in a Libbey Tiki Mai Tai glass and garnished with a bone.

Much Aloha and big mahalo to the Libbey team and to Daniele Dalla Pola and Elis Carriero for creating this great opportunity for us to get creative and have fun! same time the next year I hope!

Exotic Cocktails with World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum

They are already launching new rums and I`m a bit behind, but the World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum is an interesting addition to the tiki and craft cocktail scene. World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum is the creation of Lester Schutters and Tom Neijens. ( the Drifter Bar, Belgium) I have tried the dark also and tried them both paired with some really exquisite chocolate, a very pleasant experience. and of course, in a couple of refreshing drinks too. In this post i`m making my own drinks, but before I do that, a little about the World`s End Rum:

The first World’s End Rum was created 3 years ago by Lester Schutters and is a spin off of his liqueur company 2240 Social Club . Out of a lifetime interest in rum, the next step was to create something that he was looking for but could not find on the rum market . And so the dark spiced rum was born, a combination of pot and column still rums.

After being on the road a lot,  getting the chance to meet some great people in the business, Lester met Tom Neijens. Tom liked what he did with the dark spiced rum, and with the opportunity to talk about a mutual interest “rum “, they finally, after several rum-talks, came to the point that Tom was looking for – a way to commercialize what he had created . He already used a raw version in his cocktails . And as Lester was looking to expand his range of spiced rum, they decided to get together to create what would become World’s End Rum Tiki Spiced .

Lester created a tailored blend for this project, which was a blend of Trinidad, Tobago and Jamaican rums . Pure focused on taste, he started to look for the character that this blend would become and finally, after adding the right spices, he released the World’s End Rum Tiki Spiced . Main spices in this rum are allspice and cinnamon . That`s the story in short. It`s difficult to make a good spiced rum because to get balance of flavors when spices are added, paired with not getting it too sweet, is a not-too-easy task. And generally, many spiced rums i think, falls into the category of “too sweet” or “unbalanced”, but there`s some that are balanced and good too.

Personally I usually tend to prefer to use spiced rums as cocktail ingredients, and that`s because to my palate, a little goes a long way here and they are usually sweet, with anything from balanced, to quite sweet, to so sweet that your teeths cringe. But this rum I think, is on the balanced side on the scale.

It`s also a quite perfect match for a good Coke. And a good Coke, (a MUST for a Rum & Coke) is not the usual thing in the supermarket, sweetened with the horrible and unhealthy high fructose corn syrup, it`s the Mexican Coke which is sweetened with natural sugarcane. There`s also “old-fashioned” craft cokes you can try. One (local brand) in my country that I like is “Kitty Kola” which uses organic apple juice as sweetener and ecological ginger juice, lemon and kola nut. It has a really old-fashioned cola-like flavor, the way I imagine coke used to taste in the 40s-50s and I find it delicious. It does not taste like just a coke though, it has a flavor of it`s own.

And actually, when researching, I found out that this cola was launched in Sweden in the 1953, (originally from England) It disappeared because Coca Cola out-competed it but it`s now back again on the market (with a re-developed improved recipe with only organic all-natural ingredients).

The for this year unusually hot summer is now gone away, but a well-made Rum & Coke is really refreshing on any given day, so gonna present that here together with a few other drinks. Apart from going well with coke, I feel that the tiki spiced rum would go very well with a good Root-beer too, in for example the Caribbean Punch.  I made a take on the “Don`s  Caribbean Punch” (Don the Beachcomber, cirka 1957, from Sippin`Safari by Jeff Berry) on this blog many years ago. But of course, the tiki spiced rum as you can imagine, goes in all kind of cocktails. I decided to make a new take on the Caribbean Punch though, and making it on the slightly bitter side switching out Root-beer for Chinotto. Likewise I mixed equal parts of Kitty Kola and Chinotto in the rum and coke-type of drink to add a bit of a bitter edge to it.

But before I post the recipes, here`s just a little short note on how I find the World`s End Tiki Spiced rum neat:

The first thing that hits my nose is allspice and cinnamon with hints of citrus and sugarcane. The citrus is lingering around, lightly caressed by the sweetness of sugarcane. it´s backed up by the spicy notes of the allspice and cinnamon.Then at first sip I feel a warm cinnamon flavor with orange peel and hints of allspice followed by sugarcane notes. It´s quite balanced even though cinnamon dominates a little. it`s sweet and in my opinion does best in mixing where you can balance the sweetness with lemon or lime. It mixes very well in tiki drinks (and other cocktails) No burn either, it´s not harsh at all.

At the German rumfest last year I tried it with chocolate, but a chocolate pairing is another thing, and with the dark quality chocolate we had it became a different and elevated drinking experience.

The aftertaste is semi long with lingering orange and cinnamon notes.

Bitter Caribbean Punch

0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz falernum
1.5 oz Chinotto* (to top)
1 oz World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
0.5 oz Plantation OFTD overproof rum
0.5 oz Foursquare Triptych Barbados rum (or similar)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1/4 tsp fassionola (or hibiscus grenadine)
4 drops La Maison Fontaine Absinthe Chocolat Liqueur
1 cup crushed ice

Blend at high speed for 5 seconds, (or shake it) pour unstrained into a suitable glass or tiki mug, and add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with something tropical. It turned out to be very refreshing, with a pleasant bitter backbone from the Chinotto that just blended so well with the spicy notes of the rum.

Chinotto is an italian carbonated soft drink made from the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree. It looks like coca cola but have a taste of it`s own, a bit cola-like, a bit orange-flowery, less sweet and with a slight bitterness, it`s truly delicious.

Marama Kula

1 oz /30 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced rum
1 oz /30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum
0.5 oz /15 ml Alamea Hawaiian Coffee liqueur
1 oz/30 ml fresh lime juice
0.5 oz /15 ml Cream of Coconut
0.5 oz /15 ml Guava nectar
0.5 oz /15 ml fresh pineapple juice
1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice

Blend at high speed for 5 seconds and pour into a chilled snifter, add more crushed ice to fill, dust a little cinnamon powder on top. Garnish with paper parasol lantern.

There´s 2 oz of sweet/semi-sweet ingredients here and I found 1 oz of fresh lime still made a nice drink but if you prefer it more on the sour side just add up the lime a bit.

World`s End Rum &  Bitter Cola

2 oz World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
Top with equal parts Chinotto and Mexican Coke (or other craft coke not containing HCFS syrup, I used the old fashioned organic Kitty Kola)
Squeeze of 1 lime (or more to adjust the sweetness)
Cracked or crushed ice
Garnish large cinnamon stick, lime piece and speared amarena cherries.

Shake rum and lime with cracked or crushed ice, pour into a fancy tall glass and top up with more ice if needed. Garnish with a large cinnamon stick, lime piece and speared amarena cherries.

The combo of organic cola and chinotto makes a bitter-sweet combination.

Hidden Secret

1.5 oz/45 ml fresh lime juice
0.25 oz/7.5 ml ginger syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml cream of coconut
0.25 oz/7.5 ml strong cold brewed coffee
0.25 oz/7.5 ml Alamea Hawaiian Coffe Liqueur
0.5oz/15 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced rum
1 oz/30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum
1 oz/30 ml Plantation Stiggin`s Pineapple rum
1 oz/30 ml fresh pineapple juice
Garnish – 3 speared Fabbri Amarena cherries, orchid and pineapple leaf.

Add ingredients to a blender. Blend with 1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice at high speed for 5 seconds, pour unstrained into a suitable tiki mug, or glass.

In the picture I used 2 mugs that belongs together and are called “Lieutenants Marqative and Posquesan”, made by Robbie Toth and you can view his artwork on Instagram here. Swizzle stick by MkGrider.

And like i said in the beginning of this post, the World`s End are launching two more rums! the Dry Spice and the 57 Navy Rum. You can find World`s End Rum on instagram here. They just won bronze medal for their new Navy Rum at the German Rum Festival,

They now have four rums in their range of rums, and a Falernum. They are so worth checking out!

Nu Lounge Bar Tiki XMas Tribute to the Mai Kai Party & a Tasty Dessert with Alamea Spiced Rum!

Two posts in one … the Nu Lounge Bar Tiki XMas Tribute to the Mai Kai party and a sumptuous tasty tropical rum dessert recipe.

I think it doesn`t matter when or where… we always need a decadent dessert every now and then to add some sweetness and spice to life … and when they are spiked with rum it´s even better!

Here`s a tropical tiki style dessert, using the amazing Alamea Spiced Rum and Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur created by Daniele Dalla Pola, owner of the Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna, which btw on december 18th threw THE party of the year, the Tiki Xmas Tribute to the Mai Kai at the bar with guest bartenders, seminars, tiki market, live tiki carving, Polynesian buffet, tiki drinks and show at the bar, plus a live rockabilly band, the Lucky Strike, playing all night, and a tattoo artist doing alamea tattoos and a very lovely aloha vibe all around the place for almost 12 hours straight! I have added a few pics and videos after the dessert.

I was actually supposed to make this dessert for the Polynesian buffet but then it turned out not practically possible so instead I present it here so you can make it at home and you should because it´s that good…

Aloha Coconut Ice Cream with Alamea Hawaiian Coffee & Spiced Rum Pineapple!

For 3 servings, you need:

1/2 pineapple cut in 2 quarters, one with leaves still attached.
1L coconut ice cream
¼ cup (1,25 dl) demerara sugar
2 oz (60ml) Alamea spiced rum
0.5 oz (15 ml) Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur
Tropical orchids for garnish.

Cut up the pineapple in 2 pieces and save one for garnish with the leaves still attached. Peel the other pieces and slice them in ½ inch slices (1.2 cm) and set aside.

Pour demerara sugar in a nonstick pan on high heat and make sure to coat the entire base with sugar and place the pineapple slices on top of the sugar in one layer filling the pan. Cook and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes or until caramelized.

Add Alamea spiced rum and Hawaiian coffee liqueur and cook for another 2 minutes or until it`s brownish and syrupy. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Place coconut ice cream on a serving plate, just a little bit ahead of time so it becomes a little bit soft. Garnish with the quartered pineapple and tropical orchids at the base of the ice cream. Pour the rum sauce on top.

Ideas for garnish: Crushed walnuts, macadamia nuts, mango slices, passionfruit pieces.

This is a variation of a dessert I saw somewhere and turning it tiki style! it fits any tiki or tropical party or any other occasion or just no occasion at all, it`s simply delicious! and ridiculously easy to make. The only thing to pay attention to really, is to let the sauce cool down to room temp before pouring and to not take out the ice cream too early, but at the same time allow it to become just a little bit softened.

The Alamea exotic infusions are available at various places in Europe, and soon in the US and an online source is in the works. I will post more info when I know.

Nu Lounge Bar and the Tiki Xmas Tribute to the Mai Kai Party

Nu Lounge Bar is amazing,  ecclectic and one of those tiki bars so full of things everywhere that you never get tired of looking. And the drinks … they are great, the menu fun and variable (and beautiful) the bartenders excellent and the aloha vibe is embracing you like a soft Hawaiian breeze…

There`s a restaurant there too and you can eat both outside and in the bar and Italian food does not suck … personally I`m a huge pasta lover but there`s so much more. But the last thing I had there the day after the party was an amazing lasagna al forno with a Nu Painkiller! not a bad combo.

Before the party we had a tasty fusilli pasta dish for lunch with a lovely tomato sauce served in a huge pot, very typically italian and with tiki drinks to wash it down of course … or was it rums shots? and during the party there was a Polynesian luau style buffet with all kind of tasty things. You can say that both the”food-me” and “drink-me” was very happy! but it was so much more than just food and drink, the ambiance was fantastic, the seminars interesting, the Lucky Strike band great, the tiki market beautiful with plenty of mugs from Maka Tiki (mostly)and wood carvings from Tiki Matt and Tiki Sam.

Here`s a few photos and videos of the fun, not the best of quality but hey I wasn`t there as a professional photographer … I was there to meet friends, party and visit the Nu Lounge Bar!

It´s a Zombie…

The topic of this party, Tribute to the Mai Kai.

Tiki Diablo Mai Kai Mug 2017. This mug is based on the Barney West tiki, one of the tikis in the Mai Kai garden. Amazing mug!

The tribute drinks.

The man behind the party … Daniele Dalla Pola, owner of the Nu Lounge Bar and Tiki King is on his throne, so the party can start!

But before that, our lunch…

And of course, espresso!

Then tiki drinks… this is Kama` Aina`, a mix of Plantation OFTD, tropical juices and spices.

Don the Beachcomber is watching over us.

And the rums…

Cool tiki mugs on the shelves in the bar.

From another era…

The King of fruits!

Seminars, here with Oriol Elias talking about tiki in his “Expanding the tiki flavors palette” and Clementine Guillot presenting Rhum Damoiseau. There was also a Masterclass called “Banks: il Rum di nuova generazione” by Daniele “James” Pons, sponsored by Bacardi, but I didn`t see it because it was in italian and I wouldn`t have understood much 🙂

After the seminars, the tiki market started. Mugs from Maka Tiki and wood carvings from Tiki Matt and Tiki Sam.

Mugs and decanters from Maka Tiki. http://makaproject.altervista.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/MakaTikiProject/ and  http://www.makatiki.it/

Carvings by Matteo Cappellozza aka Tiki Matt,  https://www.facebook.com/Tiki-Matt-1198157160275432/ and Instagram – @tiki_matt_

Moai by Tiki Matt and it`s mine…  🙂 (happy happy)

And tiki carving by Samuele de Vietro aka Tiki Sam,  https://www.instagram.com/the_tiki_sam/?hl=en

I bought this cool little tiki while Oriol scored the one and only pineapple jigger…

Bad mobile pic… the pineapple jigger on the left side, how cool is that!?

More drinks! this one in a Re`al mug designed for Daniele Dalla Pola by Baï Tiki ( http://bybai1.wixsite.com/artbybai )

The Last Fang with edible cinnamon straw… I get really happy when I get these kinda drinks in my hand!  rummy, fruity, spicy, rich and big! (by Oriol Elias)

And here´s the recipe.

And the man behind it, Oriol Elias, www.threeofstrong.com

And the oh so tasty Elixir Tropical…

Created by Maurizio la Spina. It was so tasty I ordered more than one… This amazing cocktail was in the Bacardi Legacy Competition.

The Nu Mai Tai with passion fruit…

Happy bartenders 🙂

And the rockabilly band Lucky Strike kept playing all night…

Me getting the alamea tattoo, both a memory and a hommage.

One of the things I like about this place… among all the tiki stuff you see a deer horn?  🙂

And some videos…

What a party! they say this was the party of the year and I agree on that, it was amazing.

Mahalo and Aloha!

Three Dots and a Dash.

When RUMS comes to Berlin…. The 7th German Rum Festival 2017

 

Europe is exploding with rum events in the fall and just a week after the rumfest in Athens, it was time for a few others, for example the ShowRUM in Rome, UK Rumfest in London and the German Rumfest in Berlin which is the one I headed to, but unfortunately this year, London and Berlin happened at the same time. I have been to the UK Rumfest a couple times but never to Berlin so this was extra interesting, and it didn`t get worse by the fact that Baba au Rum had a pop up bar the whole week from the start of the BCB (Bar Convent Berlin) to the end of the Rumfest at the My June bar.

They had even, with the help and organizing by Alexandra Barstalker brought the same wallpapers (which btw I learnt is made by a Swedish designer) that are on the walls in the Baba au Rum bar in Athens to My June Bar to make it even more like “at home in Baba”, well that my friends is looking into the details! if you go to her website you can read about how the idea about “Baba au Rum goes Berlin” came to be.

Berlin is a huge city but with a packed schedule on a few days I didn`t see that much of the city itself, except for going to some bars, restaurants and tastings, among them the “My June Bar” where Baba resided. The first night was apparently THE night to be there because virtually everybody in the booze/rum industry was there and it was really a crazy kick-start of the rumfest weekend and at the same time the closing down party of the BCB.

The German Rumfest is really huge and very well organized, and the rum selection was very good, I just missed the Velier rums there but they were in London at the UK Rumfest. Luckily the next year these two will not happen at the same time!

As a rum judge we had two days to do the rum tastings before the rumfest started and so that kept me busy and in very good company! always so nice to see friends from the “rum family” at various rum-filled events. Interesting to me was the contrasts between attending first a small and intimate rumfest (Athens) and then a really huge one. And both has their own charms.

The German Rum Awards are a competition in which professionals blind taste the rums submitted and make subjective, yet neutral assessments to a points awarding system where each juror only has to make one mark within a particular scale. This enables the juror to focus on the essentials – without the distraction of having to figure out how many available points to award.

An international jury will taste all submitted rums in a two-day evaluation process. The flights are divided into categories, e.g. Special Cask, Single-Cask, Agricole VS/VSOP, Overproof, Spiced Rum, No-Age-Statement, Cachaça aged etc etc. In total 18 categories, around 160 different rums and cachacas. The jury’s conducts the tasting blind at a quiet location and rates the rums according to a point system.

In order for a submitted product to be awarded and to receive a medal, a specific number of points must be achieved. The jury awards only one gold, silver and bronze medal in each category, which is different from many other competitions. Out of all the submitted products, there is also a “Best in Show“ award – it goes to the rum with the highest number of points, regardless of category.

This years results of the tasting competiton is here.

The venue for the rumfest, the Station Berlin is very large with high ceilings making it very roomy and that is needed with such a large crowd of people, it was still hot at the back of the room! I had a great experience in Berlin and hope to be back!

I will as usual, show the rumfest, in a parade of pictures:

Well crafted tasty cocktails and fun with the rum family at the June Bar with Baba au Rum! who came among the 50 Best Bars again this year.

Plantation Rum made for Baba au Rum, a multi island rum aged in bourbon oak, cognac barrels and peaty whisky barrels… It had an exceptionally fine and balanced flavor.

And then….the next day, time for work, rum judging at the BRLO Brewhouse.

There were many rums to taste for two days, around 160 different rums.

And when the tasting was done, they revealed the rums to us.

And this is where it gets really interesting because now you can compare your own notes and the points you gave to see which rums they were. After this was done we went for a brewery tour at the BRLO Brewhouse which I think had a pretty cool sign on the wall.

BRLO is the slavic origin of the name Berlin.The beers made here are really tasty! they make handcrafted beers in small batches and they do not filter the brews to keep all healthy nutrients. From December and onwards you can visit them at their brewery and restaurant. And this is located in a one of a kind building constructed from 38 shipping containers!

The next day….time for the rumfest! and what is better than starting a rumfest with some freshly pressed sugarcane juice? (by Mr Zuckerrohr) in which, you a bit later add some rum….

There were quite a bit of rhum agricoles to try (to my joy) since my favorite rum categories are cask strength molasses based rums and agricole rums.

And who is happier to show you these rhums than Jerry Gitany?

I like La Mauny…

And these…

Complex and aromatic, Reimonenq Rhum Vieux Réserve RQL from Guadeloupe, aged in bourbon and Cognac casks.

Toucan rhum agricole from French Guyana, here is their Boco (spiced)

And what is a rumfest without some Real mcCoy and Don Q rums and coconuts?

Or Plantation…

Or Angostura?

Presented by the ever so charismatic Daniyel Jones! (and look at that cool striped bois lèlè swizzle stick!)

Walking around here tasting rums and meeting people is like being in a candy-store for grown-ups…

But you need a resting place sometimes…

Before heading over to By the Dutch, to try their amazing Batavia arrack. It says “Indonesian rum” on the bottle, but I call it only Batavia Arrack – because there`s a significant local, cultural and historical difference between the two even though they are closely related (rum and arrack both uses molasses but the arrack also contains a little bit of fermented red rice added to the yeast) so “same same but different” as the saying goes. (in my opinion)

Talking Batavia arrack with Jos, which I later poured some in my glass of fresh sugarcane juice which also had some rum in it, because that`s typically what a rumnerd do at a rumfest… 🙂

And a special cask….which I hope they will offer for sale in the future. This one brought my mind to the flavorful high ester rums from Hampden.

And there`s more interesting rums in the works…something for us rumlovers to look forward to!

By Foursquare. Always reliable when it comes to the quality, nothing added to these rums, they are exactly what they say they are and they do taste good!

A popular place to be….

And so was this! Our Rums and Spirits booth with the rum that was my favorite, the “Guyana 2003 Diamond” at 63,7% which together with the “Our Blend Jamaica, Trinidad, Martinique” was awarded gold in the categories “Single Barrel” (Guyana 2003) and the “No Age Statement”. Further there was this 24 year old Demerara rum (Enmore) which I have at home 🙂 very tasty too.

I think Thanos, Alexander and Elias from Baba agreed…

And their Jamaican, which I also liked very much.

We are into some serious rum drinking now, continuing with the Kill Devil rums, my favorite? the red one in the middle. Cask strength (63.1%, Diamond) from Guyana.

After all these amazing strong rums it was good to change to a rum and chocolate pairing at the World`s End Rum booth….together with a refreshing and very cold cocktail. I spent quite some time here chatting with all the fine folks in and around this booth.

World`s End scored some awards too! in the middle, the Tiki Spiced (by Tom Neijens.)

Then I saw this guy…guarding the Meermaid Rums, he looked pretty content, full of rum and rather sleepy…it doesn`t take much imagination to”hear” him snore…

Meermaid rum, they also make a pretty cool overproof rum which I like to float over tiki drinks…

Rum, Rhum, Ron…that`s what we are here for.

Fine rums from Worthy Park, Jamaica and I really liked the Oloroso!

And of course, there was Rum Bar with their fine overproof which I had in daiquiris at the Athens rumfest 🙂

And another fine overproof, Rum Nation Jamaica which won the overproof category.

These three expressions from New Grove Rums from Mauritius are tropically aged and made from molasses with ageing in different woods.

Moscatel – Slightly woody with notes of honey and fruits. Aged in French oak for 7 years, then aged in barrels of Moscatel for one year. ABV 47,7%
Acacia – Slightly dry peppery and fruity rum with notes of acacia wood, it has been aged 7 years in French oak and 1 year in acacia. ABV 47,7%
Merisier – Notes of currants, wild cherry and dried apricots. Aged in French oak for 7 years, then aged in Birch barrels a year. ABV 47,7%

And Velho Barreiro Cachaca from Brazil.

Don Q, of course! representing Puerto Rico.

And from Sweden, the Gun Room Rum from Renbjer and Magnusson.

Kirk and Sweeney is a rum from the Dominican Republic which have taken their name from the name of a wooden schooner that was best known for smuggling rum from the Caribbean to the United States during Prohibition.

3 Island Rum is a brand of rum that was launched in the beginning of 2013 by Charles Hosie, the firm of spirits importers and founded in Hamburg 1918.

Aged rhum agricole by Trois Rivières.

The Hall of Fame where you could see all the award winning rums.

Ti Arrangèes de Cèd, rhum arrangè which is something I find cool to use instead of simple syrup in tiki drinks…a way to use it that is not the traditional way which is sipping it, which btw is good too and typical French island tradition.

Santa Teresa 1796, hailing from Venezuela.

This is what`s it´s all about! 🙂

More rum after the rum judging…and the BRLQ Brewery tour – we went to a masterclass/tasting of La Mauny and Trois Rivières rhum at the Stairs Bar held by Daniel Baudin, cellar master of La Mauny & Trois-Rivières.

These are some very good agricole rums!

And now I think you`ve had enough of my “blurs” and pics and I finish with a picture of the Tempodrom which is located right beside the hotel Crowne Plaza. The Tempodrom is an event venue that was founded by Irene Moessinger, and opened in 1980 next to the Berlin Wall on the west side of Potsdamer Platz, housed in a large circus tent.

Thank you Berlin for having me! hope to be back the next year!

Credit for some of these pics goes to:

Joshua Singh
Daniyel Jones
Florian Cuntz
Christian Nagel

Athens Rum and Whiskey Festival 2017

This was the second rum festival in Athens (rum and whiskey together this year) but my first time to attend the event which was taking place in the impressive neo-classical Zappeion Hall, built in 1878 which also is conveniently located near the beautiful park, the National Gardens around the city center with two metro stations nearby.

The festival was small but sweet…with a good vibe – and drunken crowds, thankfully, I did not see. Nice and relaxed! I stumbled on some rums I’ve never tried before too and to my pleasant surprise the Alamea Exotic Infusions that are soon to be launched at the Berlin Bar Convent on october 10-11 by Daniele Dalla Pola were there as well. Read more about Alamea here in my review. They made some very nice cocktails with it and I really enjoyed having drinks with the Alamea.

There were cocktails made in most booths plus there was a little Baba au Rum pop-up booth there as well so one could choose to both sip rum and whiskey neat but also get to drink very nice cocktails which I appreciated!

Baba au Rum once again came among the 50 best bars – this time no.30! so again I say congrats to the Baba team! was it only a couple days ago I was there? someone fly me back please! but then again – they will have a pop up bar in Berlin in a few days….during the BCB (Bar Convent Berlin) and the German Rumfest and I`m luckily heading in that direction.

 

As for seminars I went to the  “Artisanal Cachacas, Authentic Sugarcane Expressions” by Jimmy Bertazzoli and “The Holy Grail of Martinique” sponsored by rhum St James held by Konstantinos Vasilakopoulos and then Sly Augustin’s (Trailer Happiness, London) seminar about Tiki where he did talk about the movement of tiki and where it’s going, specifically from a European view, something I’m also talking about in ny (upcoming) book. It was like hearing somebody else express my mind! The good guys from Trailer also did a guest bartending at Baba where they presented four tiki drinks, (the one with the jerk spice was amazing)

As for bars in the city, Athens have a very vibrant bar scene with worldclass bartenders and a hospitality next to none! they really are that good! but I already said that before…and not only do they make great cocktails in the bars but they also play very good music! You are guaranteed to have fun! also, the rooftop bars….the views are incredible.

A few great bars to mention are Baba au Rum, Speakeasy, Gin Joint, Clumsies, Kolokotroni 9, Bank Job, Rabbit Hole and the seasonal Mary Pickford by the water in Piraeus (awesome rooftop bar with a great view of the water and all the boats, plus great food, drinks and music), and then the rooftop bar at the hotel “A for Athens” with an unrivaled view and occasion to see the sunset over the city with a stunningly beautiful lit up Panthenon/Acropolis by night….a sight to see I promise!

This is a good start for the Athens rumfest which I believe has potential to grow nicely to something really great and I hope to see it happen again next year.

Enjoy the rest by pictures! I think they say more than my words!

The Rum and Whisky fest:

Entering the rum and whisky fest under the high pillars of the Zappeon building is quite impressive…

And then you`re met by a familiar sight…booths with booze….and bartenders serving cocktails. The Bayou rum

I first discovered in New Orleans during the Tales.

And like they say in Nola, let the good times roll…that`s what`s rum is all about! I know this was a rum and whisky festival but the rum girl I am, I`m focusing on the rum…

FINE Drinking Magazine, one of the best bar magazines today, get yours here.

Thanos Prunarus and FINE.

This was delicious! the Cuban Swizzle with Santiago de Cuba Greece rum and Alamea Pimento Liqueur which is with the other Alamea products launched now at the BCB in Berlin and to soon be sold online and shipped worldwide so all the tiki folks and everyone else will be able to get them.

And the Santiago Mulata, with Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur and the Santiago de Cuba Greece rum. As tasty as the Cuban Swizzle.

The Almaea Spiced, one of the very few spiced rums I found to be really good, that is – not too sweet – and with natural flavor and ingredients. And how about that tiki label? 🙂

Moving on to some Hampden rums…a favorite brand from Jamaica. RumFire needs no presentation and neither does the Hampden Gold. World famous high ester Jamaican rums at it´s best!

Similar to the RumFire with that typical vegetal grassy and “kerosene”- like flavor notes (but much less up in your face as the JWray), the Rum Bar overproof is a blend of three pot still unaged rums. The Worthy Park Estate have produced sugar and molasses since 1720. And then a new expression I haven`t seen before with the blue label, called Full Flavored White Rum. Good rums!

Cheers to overproof Jamaican rum!

And a daiquiri with it was in order.

Another rum brand I like, Compagnie de Indes, I wrote about a few of their expressions here.

A Mediterranian style Rum Old Fashioned with Rum Nation`s agricole rum from la Rèunion. Beautifully presented and very tasty.

Naga rum from Indonesia, which I think we will see some more of when a certain tiki bartender starts mixing with it 🙂 it had a bit of an interesting funk to it`s flavor which I think would be good in especially tiki drinks.

Another rum I had never tried before, Ron SumMum from the Dominican Republic.They come in four expressions – from left to right – the Reserva Especial, the Sauternes Cask Finish, the Cognac Cask Finish and the Malt Whiskey Finish.

And Japanese Whisky, Akashi. The version of Akashi produced for the European market using a mixture of Japanese and foreign-made malt and grain whisky.The Japanese version has malt whisky and molasses spirit, which would not be classed as ‘whisky’ in the EU.

Yaguara Cachaca, which is an artisanal Cachaca that comes in these three expressions. From left to right – the Organic and the most flavorful one, the Oro which is aged in three different woods and the Branca. The sweet part in this cachaca is not coming from any added sugar but from the oak. Brazil have at least 4000 brands of cachaca but only 2% is exported and unfortunately most of the exported cachacas are industrial so the best ones with the most flavors stays in Brazil. So most people gets to know just those and mostly in Caipirinhas which I think is a shame. (Nothing wrong with Caipirinhas, they are tasty but there is more)

I hope that will change! so we can see more artisanal cachacas outside of Brazil! it´s an interesting spirit and very much alike the rhum agricole but yet so different.

Havana Club.

The menu from Trailer Happiness at their pop up at Baba au Rum. I especially liked the flavor and spicy kick of the jerk spiced Voodoo Island, both frutiy, spicy and smoky.

The view from the stairs of Zappeon.

Athens:

The Acropolis is like a guardian of the city…The Parthenon and the other buildings were seriously damaged during the 1687 siege by the Venetians in the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded…

The heaters at the rooftop cocktail bar at the “A for Athens” hotel looks like flying saucers that just landed….and the sun started to set…

A to go with the sunset…a matching colored drink called the “Polyphemus the Cyclops”.This drink was actually a sort of Zombie with a blend of Plantation OFTD, Chairman`s Reserve and Bacardi rums, spicy. The drink on the right side is called “Wear Sunscreen” and is a blend of Plantation Pineapple rum, Bacardi Gold, Don`s Mix, Coconut edible sunscreen (whatever that means…)

And the sun exploded in fiery colors…

Part of the menu at “A for Athens”

The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis, built in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power, seen from the rooftop bar at the “A for Athens” hotel cocktail bar. When you see it like that at night, it`s really magic, it adds a certain feel of the past to the present.

And of course it´s stunningly beautiful, pictures does not do it justice.

The Parthenon/Acropolis lit up to spread magic and beauty.

And the view in daylight from the rooftop restaurant at the Astor hotel. This is what you can call a breakfast with a view….

Zoomed in view of Mount Lycabettus/Λυκαβηττός, pronounced [likaviˈtos], a Cretaceous (the period between 145.5 and 65.5 million years ago) limestone hill in Athens, at 300 meters (908 feet) above sea level. Pine trees cover its base, and at its two peaks are the 19th century Chapel of St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant.

Rooftops of Athens.

Piraeus, seen from the rooftop bar Mary Pickford which we were lucky to get to on their last day before closing since it´s a seasonal summer bar that was created by the team of Baba au Rum along with Varoulko Seaside. Great view, great cocktails, great bartenders, fantastic seafood and great music sums up this place.

Seafood….at Mary Pickford. I don`t know what I was eating, I just know it was really amazing.

Incredibly tasty, a coffee Mai Tai at the Speakeasy.

Baba au Rum Cocktails.

And their Zombie…

And Baba Rum Sour with Barbancourt rum and a decent float of Cadenhead Cask Strength rum from the Bellevue distillery.

The beautiful National Gardens, located right behind the Zappeon Hall.

Impressive plants in the park. In the 1920s the park was renamed “National Garden”and became opened to the public and in honour of Queen Amalia of Greece, the entrance was moved to the 12 palms she planted and the street in front was renamed Queen Amalia Avenue. Since then the National Garden, is open to the public from sunrise to sunset.

Baba au Rums iconic carousel…just love this one!

And my favorite bar in Athens, Baba au Rum.

Pretty much sums it up! Cafe”Just Made 33″ a great place for breakfast.

Hello Athens and thank you! I will be back!