FINE Drinking – A Bar, Cocktail & Lifestyle Magazine Hailing from Athens!

fine-drinking-1

This is like a candy-bag for spirited grown ups!

Do you want to know about FINE drinking and lifestyles? there´s a new bar magazine coming out of Athens, it´s called Fine Drinking and it takes you on a very interesting journey in the spirited world…

When I got these magazines I was pleasantly surprised….the mag is like a book! it´s really thick and the quality is superb both in the design, layout and content. The layout I think very well reflects the playful style of where it comes from….it´s very much “Baba au Rum“! It`s a quarterly printed edition about cocktail and bar culture as well as travelling. There´s also other reviews made of this fine magazine, for example on “Adventures of the Barstalker” which is a very fun and informative blog to read!

Fine Drinking is also a coffee table publication with high-end aestetics and timeless texts in both english and greek, a magazine that reserach and present an exciting international bar and drinking industry and culture and the type of publication you will want to save and keep. The brain behind it is Thanos Prunarus, a bartender since 18 years and the owner of the famous Baba au Rum bar in Athens and author of the bar and cocktail book “handcrafted”.

If you have been to Baba au Rum you will feel very familiar with the style of this magazine since it has the “Baba” look and feel to it despite the many different contributors from various places, because some places just happens to have that special feel about them that makes you feel at home right away and Baba au Rum is one of those places, it got some “magic” to it…and that is transformed also into this magazine in some way…maybe it´s the playful desgin…?

Or maybe because it`s informative, fun and entertaing as well as very varied because the topics talks about a lot of different things like the bar scenes in various places (like Oslo for example in an article writtten by Thanos Prunarus and Alexandra Barstalker) to “The mystery of cocktail bitters”and how to make Baba au Rum`s own Bergamot bitters (by Thanos) to “The Peruvain bark that conquered Europe” (by Francois Monti) and “From the West Indies to the World” (by Nikos Arvanitis) just to name a very few….

I also feel very honored to see my own article about the colorful history of the tiki drink Chief Lapu Lapu in issue no 2, as well as getting my contribution the “Mariner Daiquiri” for the Baba au Rum`s International Daiquiri Challenge 2016 among the ten finalists, published in issue no 1.

So far there`s two issues published and you can find them in various places and bars and events in Europe – for example even the central train station here in Stockholm has it! but if you can`t find it you can write to fine@babaaurum.com and subscribe.

I myself not going to miss any issues of it! I also believe the Fine Drinking can become a collectors item with time….because it´s very original and beautiful! something to kick back with on the sofa with a daiquiri in hand…or bring along on a trip maybe? and it sure does has it place on your coffee table or bar!

Because FINE Drinking is….

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Thick….

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Beautiful….and classy

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Interesting….

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Rummy….

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Playful!

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Inspirational….

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Tikified….

historical

Historical…and fascinating….

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Educational…

classic

Classic!

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Abstract….

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Cocktails….

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And more cocktails!!

Update – no 3 is out now!

Subscribe – fine@babaaurum.com

One more left to complete the title – FINE  🙂

Welcome to Baba au Rum….

Baba au Rum bar 2

Some places just happens to have that special feel about them that makes you feel at home right away and Baba au Rum in Athens is one of those places. This world famous rum bar is not just a must go to bar while in Athens – it´s a reason to go to Athens! and trust me they will pamper you with lots of love, an array of amazing cocktails, tiki drinks, rums and other spirits!

One of the first things you most likely do when you arrive at a bar is checking out the menu and the cocktail and spirits menu of Baba is quite special….it comes in the form of a very cool designed book which has been awarded twice at the Athens bar show. The menu was designed by Kostas Theocharis and has been presented at the Milan Expo Exhibition and also in bars in Paris and Nikosia where it received great reviews.

The menu book is presented both in greek and english and it´s a simple cool, playful design!

Baba collage

Baba au Rum was founded in 2009 by Thanos Prunarus who has been a bartender since 1999 and this bar has greatly influenced the bar and cocktail scene and the bar which was awarded one of the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2013 — always at the top lists worldwide. Baba Au Rum is often awarded the Best Bar in Greece and Thanos is considered as a main influencer in his country.

And once again Baba has been included for one more year at World’s Best Bar Sellection!

worlds best bar selection logo

Thanos travels around the world to discover rum, visiting and participating in rum festivals the world over, including judging at the world final of the Havana Club Grand Prix in Cuba which he recently did. Thanos also publishes an International Cocktail and Travel magazine called FINE DRINKING.

I could not have written it any better so I link you to this very good and in depth article about Thanos! and here is a cool video from Baba au Rum!

Thanos 2

Baba au Rum is, despite the name and being a rum bar, a place where you can just sit back, feel at home and drink anything you want, it doesn´t have to be rum… And regardless of what spirits are used – the cocktails are immaculate wonders of liquid art that is a joy to behold and imbibe – but this place is a lot more than just the drinks….it`s a whole experience and the fact that people travel from all over the world to come here speaks for itself.

I for my part love it! I like when you come to a bar with super friendly bartenders, unpretentious relaxed atmosphere, interesting and beautiful interior, amazing drinks, good music and super comfy bar stools! – Baba got it all. If you get a chance or happens to visit Athens, do yourself a favor and go and spend time at Baba!

One thing that striked me on my visit was their amazing warm hospitality….they went out of their way to make me feel part of their family, never will I forget that! thank you everyone at Baba! My drinks which were consistently good, were made by the amazing bartenders Ellias Stergiopoulos, Phaedon Papakonstantinou and Nikos Gartzolakis – paying attention to the smallest details – you guys rock!!

So when you sit down…which drink to start with is not that easy because there´s a lot of great drinks to choose from the menu. One that I really liked a lot ( but I liked everything I tried) was their beautiful namesake drink, the Baba au Rum cocktail – a sweet and savory umami daiquiri with both sweet and botanical notes, and it´s a beauty….

Baba au Rum Cocktail

The taste is fresh, sweet and savory at the same time, smooth like silk and incredibly refreshing. I leave you here my readers to enjoy a bunch of pictures from Baba, because you know they speak louder than my words…some of these pics are mine and some are courtesy of Baba.

Menu collage 2

Baba drink 1

This…is liquid perfection!

Baba au Rum cocktail made by Phaedon

Baba au Rum cocktail made by Phaedon Papakonstantinous.

RumFire Daiquiri

RumFire Daiquiri…to finish the night!

Baba au Rum bar

They make the work look so easy….but don`t be fooled, they work really hard!

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Baba menu book

 

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What a beauty…

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And here we got playful tiki…

Spicy Baba no 7

And the “Lulu White” tiki mug!

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If you don`t get thirsty when you see these kind of cocktails…..

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Baba drink 5

 

Guadeloupe Tiki Punch

Guadeloupe Tiki Punch! served in one of Baba`s own cool tiki mugs.

menu demerara

Yeah….they got some really good rums…

Baba bar carousel

An interesting and fun detail is the lit up mini carousel….so playful and fun!

And finally, yours truly with Nikos Arvanitis ( Rum Traveller in the Caribbean and writer of the upcoming “From the West Indies to the World” and bartender at the lovely bar Kolokotroni 9 (you should go there! and while you explore the bars close to Baba, go and try some fine rhum agricoles and cocktails at Rehab too! – another great bar) drinking and talking rum! the International Rum Family is really a wonderful thing! When “From the West Indies to the World” is ready I`ll post about it on this website.

The adress to Baba is Kleitiou 6, 10560 Athens, Greece, +30 21 1710 9140, info@babaaurum.com

me and Nikos rum fun

Cheers to rum and good friendship!

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Tiki Drink Wizard and Fire Artist at Tacoma Cabana – Meet Jason Alexander!

Jason A

“It was me, Beachbum Remixed and the Beachcomber.

That’s how it started”

If you`re on Facebook in the Rum and Tiki crowd or if you are in Tacoma up in Seattle you might not been able to miss that there´s a real tiki drink, rum afficionado and fire wizard residing at the Tacoma Cabana inventing the most amazing flaming tiki drinks with a great rum selection on hand – his name is Jason Alexander.

I count myself lucky to be one of his friends because not only is he a great guy but the inspiration he throws around is affectuos and his drinks and especially the flaming ones are a feast for the eye and mouth (but i have yet to go all the way to Seattle and try them in person) we been talking drink recipes for quite a while and he really have developed a style of his own.

When i saw all his amazing concoctions with mouth watering descriptions and fantastic photographs both on instagram and facebook i got curious, what is his story? how did he start with all of this ending up owning his own tiki bar? How about this obsession with strong rums and fire?

So i went and asked him a couple questions:

Orchid small  Tell me, how did you get into tiki and tiki drinks, how did it all start?

I got into tiki and the drinks when I first went to the Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge in Kona, Hawaii. After having artificially flavored sugar sludge Mai Tai’s and not knowing the history of the drink, my life was transformed that day that I stepped inside that little tiki heaven. I’ll never forget that first Mai Tai and Zombie. These were legit drinks and I had to know the story.

Orchid small  What are the greatest influences in tiki that have affected you the most?

My influences for tiki is pretty dynamic. I can find inspiration almost anywhere. That being said, I enjoy Donn the Beachcombers drinks the best. I like his style and the way he went about creating a drink. He always tinkered with his recipes and I’ve developed that habit too.

I’m almost always never satisfied with some of my recipes.They can always be better or built in a different manner. I admire the way Donn blended various styles of rum together to create a unique drink. I honestly never knew about these other guys doing tiki bars. I had never heard of any of them before this. It was me, Beachbum Remixed and the Beachcomber. That’s how it started.

Orchid small  You are obviously obsessed with fire….and are quite the fire artist with flaming tiki drinks, how did that happen?

A IMMOLATION!!!! — at Tacoma Cabana.

I’ve always been a little bit of a pyromaniac my whole life. I can sit and watch and play with a proper fire for hours. My obsession with lighting drinks on fire started shortly after the cabana opened. I could make a decent drink, but my garnishes left something to be desired.

I thought what could I do that nobody else that I knew of was doing as far as garnishes went. Fire was the immediate answer. So I set out on a mission. Did a little research and some trial and error until you see what you have now.

I wanted big flames and sparks. I wanted guests to feel slightly afraid for a moment until they had a sip of their drink and it immediately took them back to paradise. Most of the ridiculous fire rigs just come to me. I don’t know how or why, but they just do.

A - Three dots and a dash - Jason edition

Three dots and a dash….

I try and match them to a drink or a drink to the garnish. Just depends. I also won’t garnish a drink until the drink is solid or I won’t make the drink until the garnish is ready. You get it all or nothing. I’m only going to give you my best. Always. I think everybody on Instagram helped push me to develop bigger fire rigs too.

I got a lot of great response from it and I wanted to see how much I could push the envelope. I make the rigs for my guests too. Most of the drinks you see on my feed or not regular menu items.

So you never know what you’re gonna get when you walk in the door. Some stuff is super labor intensive to make so, depending how much extra prep time I have will dictate what I can make that day.

Orchid small  Where is most of your drink inspiration coming from and what is your mission?

Most of my drink inspiration comes from the life I’ve lived and the non tiki things around me. HP Lovecraft has been a huge motivator for me. I like to think that tiki could have a dark side. Music has been a factor in what I create too. Bands like Nile and Devildriver have had a hand in helping theme out drink for me. For example my Necromancer of Fiji was inspired by the Nile song The Essential Salts.

There was an old thrash band in the 90’s that I used to listen to called Sacred Reich. Their song Surf Nicaragua came on the radio as I was driving to work and I wondered to myself what it might be like to Surf Nicaragua and what that drink would taste like. So I made one.

My time as a US Marine as influenced some drinks as well like my Golden Shellback, Drunken Helmsman and Sea Grave. A Golden Shellback is a person who has crossed the international dateline and there equator at their point of intersection. I happen to be a golden shellback and always wanted to make a drink that tasted like that.

My mission is to make and remake tiki drinks. Some of the old ones needed a breath of fresh air. Some are way too sweet, way too tart or just very one dimensional.

I like to take an old recipe and rework it a little bit while still staying true to the drink. From that comes my original creations which I would like to take to the darker more sinister side of tiki that doesn’t quite exist yet. We’ll see how that goes.

Orchid small  You use almost only rum at your bar, why? and which rums do you prefer the most?

A - Tacoma rums

When I opened the cabana I knew that I wanted to put a wall of rum up because most people who go to Hawaii expect rum over there and there is very little. At least on the Big Island which was 99.9% of my exposure. Keep in mind that this was before I had any idea of tiki bar history. I wanted my place to be very rum centric while trying to give rum and tiki drinks a good name again.

I feel like you can go to any bar and see a good, diverse selection of liquors except rum. There is always the usual suspects of Captain Morgan, Bacardi and Malibu, but there never was anything beyond that at most places here. I wanted to overcompensate for that by carry a vast array of rum while only carrying two of everything else. I do have a decent liqueur collection because that goes without saying.

Basically in use the rums that are gonna make my drinks taste the way I want them to and make them taste the best. Currently in my well and what In use to make the majority of the drinks on the menu is: Plantation Overproof, Original Dark, 5 year and 3 Star rounded out with Coruba Dark, Bacardi 8 and El Dorado 5 year.

I probably over use the Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana combination as well as Guyana and Trinidad pairing, but they all work so well together. I also use and abuse any rum that speaks to me like Lost Spirits and anything over proof. I should probably use more agricole. I hardly use any of it for some reason.

Orchid small  Tiki can be a lot of things to different people, what does it mean for you?

Tiki means to me…to have fun. Not take things so seriously. Let loose. Live in the moment. For me tiki is play time. I get to help fulfill peoples fantasies of escapism for awhile. I get to facilitate all these drinks for tiki people that they always hear about, but are not able to always make at home or have the ability to. I get to be that guy for the tiki crowd and it is a tremendous honor.

Orchid small  The best tiki bars you have been to are?

The best tiki bars I’ve been to….every tiki bar I’ve been to and will go to is the best. I can always find something I like about a place. It’s not always about how cool and inventive the drinks are or how legitimate the decorations are and how much money you dumped into the place to make it hip and trendy.

It’s how you’re treated when you walk through the door. The best tiki bar could be the one that can only serve me a rum and coke while having the only thing tiki about the place being the bartender wearing an aloha shirt, but they made me feel like I was in the right place and that is what makes a bar the best.

Feeling welcome.

Orchid small  How do you see the future for tiki culture and tiki drinks?

I see the future of tiki expanding rapidly. Most bars nowadays have a tiki night. I think tiki drinks are the perfect drink to bridge the gap between your sports bar/chain restaurant bar and the hardcore cocktail bars. I think tiki drinks, if done right, can appeal to a lot of different people.

Orchid small  If you can pick one drink to try to convert somebody into tiki drinks, which one would it be?

If had to pick one drink to convert people over to tiki drinks, which one would that be? I don’t think I could pick just one. If I had to, I’d pick the Zombie without a doubt. To me that is everything that tiki is. Strong, flavorful, complex, not one flavor dominates but some how they all come together has one harmonious intoxicating note. But not everybody likes a Zombie and it can quickly turn people off from the whole experience.

You have to quickly read an inexperienced quest and get them into a tiki drink that suited to them so that they won’t think that all tiki drinks are too strong or too sour or too sweet or just too odd. There is a perfect tiki drink for most people. You just have to take a second and try and make that match. Luckily, most people will give you a second chance.

Orchid small  And what would you serve somebody who has had them all and is looking for something new and different?

If I had to serve a tiki professional something new that they’ve never had before, I think I’d serve them one of my originals like the Golden Shellback or the Drunken Helmsman. Or maybe one of the classics that I’ve tweaked a little bit. You may have had a shrunken skull before, but you haven’t had my shrunken skull yet. Seriously, you need to try my shrunken skull.

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Thank you Jason!

And to show off a few of his amazing drinks –  here are some pictures and recipes by Jason to stir your appetite and if you can, head over to Tacoma Cabana and have one or a few of these incredible drinks!

A warning though…if you keep scrolling there´s a chance you gonna get VERY VERY thirsty! the rest of this post is nothing but a BIG dose of tiki drink p*rn!

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There is a perfect tiki drink for most people!

A Jasons Spiritcutter 2

The Tiki drinks are calling….

A Aerial Tiki Fire!

Luau Scorpion Bowl…one that stings!

A - Golden Shellback

Golden Shellback

1 1/2oz pineapple
3/4oz lemon
1/2oz orgeat
1/2oz Swedish Punsch
1/2oz Benedictine
1 1/2oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Style Rum

Looks so tasty! i`m sure sure the moai in the aquarium agree 🙂 and the awesome tiki mug is created by Rob Hawes aka “Tiki Rob” who owns Maui Tiki Tours and makes awesome tiki mugs on Maui!

Krakatoa

Krakatoa

Jason`s take on the Krakatoa drink from Remixed page 58. So,” We’ll depart Sumatra on board PanCannibal Airways and take a trip to KILAUEA!!!

Bitters, Dons mix, passion fruit juice, lemon juice with coffee liqueur, amaro, falernum, apricot liqueur and then further fortified with Jamaica, demerara and overproof rums. Don’t forget the float of cold Kona coffee. See you on top of the volcano!!!!

A - Shrunken Skull 2         

“You may have had a shrunken skull before, but you haven’t had my shrunken skull yet. Seriously, you need to try my shrunken skull”     

Shrunken Skull

2 dashes Horror In Clay Die Fiendishly Tropical Bitters
1/4oz Allspice Dram
1/4oz Falernum
3/4oz lime
3/4oz grenadine
1oz Plantation Original Dark
1oz El Dorado 5yr

A - Braddah Kimo's Big Island Pahoehoe for 2

Braddah Kimo’s Big Island Pahoehoe for 2!

A Fogcutter variation by Jason

A Cabana Fogcutter…with Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum.

A - Rum Barrels

Here´s a whole load of Cabana Rum Barrels! aren`t they pretty?

A - Rum Barrel Tacoma Cabana

Cabana Rum Barrel! Four juices including lilikoi, special blend of barrel spices and a meticulous blend of Jamaica, demerara, Barbados and Trinidad rums.

It’s the perfect combination of ingredients that isn’t too sweet, not too sour with just enough spices for added depth and the right amount of rum to kick you in the ass!

A - Rum Bowl for Two

And a Flaming Rum Bowl for two…

“If it’s not on fire and Overproof, then why are you drinking it?” 🙂

A - Necromancer of Fiji

The Necromancer of Fiji….

Black salt, black strap bitters, Donns Mix, lime, lemon, lilikioi, falernum, orgeat, Swedish Punsch, Campari, grenadine and a blasphemous blend of rum sure to make a Zombie crawl back into its grave!

(serves 2)

Pinch of black lava salt
4 dashes black strap bitters
12 drops absinthe
1oz Donns mix
1oz lime
1oz lemon
1oz passion fruit juice
1/4oz orgeat
1/4oz falernum
1/2oz grenadine
1/2oz campari
1/2oz Swedish Punsch
1 1/2oz Lemon Hart 151
1 1/2oz Plantation Overproof
1oz Plantation 3 Star

Flash blend for 5 seconds with two cups ice

A - Tacoma cabana 6

Pearl Diver`s Punch Bowl for Two…

A - Pearl Diver`s punch

Pearl Divers Punch Bowl! Lime, orange, pearl mix, falernum and rums.

A - Stiggins Jungle Fancy!

Stiggin’s Jungle Fancy with lime, lilikoi, Campari, falernum bitters and Plantation rums Stiggin’s Fancy Pineapple Rum. “You can take the bird out of the jungle…”

A - WAR BIRD!!!!

“War Bird” – Just look at that garnish….

Inspired by Cocktailwonk ‘s post “The Jungle Bird Goes to War” (where you can see the the original recipe)  Jason made this take on the Jungle Bird that Cocktailwonk had dubbed WAR BIRD!!!! – lime, lilikoi, campari, pineapple and Lost Spirits Distillery Polynesian Inspired Rum.

I`m thirsty….and if you are not thirsty by now you might just stop reading my blog…. 🙂

A - pieces of eight

Pieces of Eight…with eight pieces of pineapple hearts…brilliant!

A - Grass Skirt Daiquiri

Jason`s interpretation of Moderntiki ‘s Grass Skirt Daiquiri complete with Hula Girl!

Dash of angostura
Dash Luxardo
1/4oz Spices No. 2
1/4oz cinnamon syrup
1/2oz falernum
1/2oz lime

A - Drunken Missionary

He even made his take on my “Drunken Missionary” which was in my review of the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum and his looks soooo much nicer! that purple orchid with that deep sea green….wooow!

Drunken Missionary

0.5 oz fresh lime
0.5 oz honey syrup ( add liquid honey to simple syrup, warm it up a bit, stir and set aside to cool)
0.5 peach liqueur
1 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum
1.5 oz pineapple-coconut juice
Crushed ice
Nutmeg
Fresh mint

Muddle mint with lime juice and honey syrup, add the rest of ingredients and shake it ice cubes until the shaker frosts on the outside, then strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with a fresh and spanked mint sprig or two, a couple speared maraschino cherries and lime triangles and grate some nutmeg on top and enjoy!

A - Drunken Helmsman

Drunken Helmsman

– 1 oz lime, 1/2 oz maple, 1/2 oz falernum, 1/2 oz Amaro Meletti, 1 1/2 oz Plantation Overproof….

A Arkham Aku Lapu

The Arkham Lapu Lapu…looks mystic….like it has some superpowers…or maybe it is YOU that will get some mystic superpowers when you drink this?

A - Ed Hamilton Ministry of Rum ZOMBIE PREACHER

Ed Hamilton Ministry of Rum ZOMBIE PREACHER! can i have one of these please?

A - The Blackest Black Times Infinity Daiquiri.

The Blackest Black Times Infinity Daiquiri…Lemon Hart 151, Mauby Liqueur and just a small squeeze of lime. A drink that was made on Black Friday.

A - Coconaut Re-Entry2

Coconaut Re-Entry, looks delish doesn`t it?

A - Demerara Dry Float

Demerara Dry Float, served up.

A - Shrunken Zombie Fugu

A Shrunken Zobie Fugu, served on a plate like a dish…

 A - Tacoma Rum Barrels

Lovely Tacoma Rum Barrels! i think i could have them all!

A - Mug by Scott Taylor

Da’ Beachcomber tiki mug created by Scott Taylor aka on Instagram as Tikipop! he lives on Maui and makes outerwordly tiki mugs, well worth checking out! such attention to detail and craftmanship….

Da’ Beachcomber looks happy 🙂

A - Guyana Zombie jasons version of my drink

Jason`s beautiful version of my Guyana Zombie!

A -  Mr Bali Hai

Mr Bali Hai….as cool as ever, comes loaded with fire and goodness!

A - Scott Taylor shot glass

Moai flask by Van Tiki and tiki shot glass by Scott Taylor.

A - Zombie Old Fashioned

A Zombie Old Fashioned…with Horror Infused Fiendishly Tropical Bitters!

A - Pahoehoe bowl with extra fire!

Pahoehoe Bowl with Extra Fire!

A - The Hawaiian 504 from L29

“A hint of danger always pushes a beverage from great to excellent” – VanTiki

(check out Van Tiki`s website and Facebook page)

“Yes, I really do serve the drinks I post to my guests. All you have to do is ask or maybe you just might get surprised”

“I love Zombies!!!! Woooooooooo!!!!

“It doesn’t matter how much fire is on top of the drink if it doesn’t taste good”

“Mostly, I’m thankful for the support from the tiki community, whether it be people drinking the drinks or making the drinks. It’s a pretty amazing crowd to be in”

Jason Alexander

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Follow Jason aka tikicommando on Instagram.

All pictures on this post courtesy of Jason Alexander.

TOTC 2014 – Dynamic Duos, Tastings, Food and Fun!

JEFFBERRY

Daniele Dalla Pola and Jeff Berry having great fun, Picture Laura Godel

This last post is a picture parade of a FEW of the tastings, parties, dinners and the rest of all the fun that took place on this years Tales of the Cocktail. Sure I missed several events I would have wanted to attend to but it’s impossible to do it all, there’s so much that’s is happening!

One of the must do things was the “Dynamic Duos” – two of the worlds best bartenders working in pairs at the best bars in the city mixing cocktails with the sponsoring brand! there were several Dynamic Duos happening in places like Kingfish, Bellocq, Cure, Cane and Table, SoBou…and we went to two events, the first one was at Kingfish where Chris Mc Millan and Dale deGroff mixed cocktails with Laird’s Applejack, the oldest native distilled spirit in the US. I like Kingfish and when these two gentlemen are at the bar it’s a win win and a guarantee for good fun and great cocktails.

Like the Tales description says, few people have done more to elevate the art of American mixology than Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail. Credited with kickstarting the bartending revolution, he’s inspired countless mixologists across the country.

And Chris McMillian, is a fourth generation bartender whose combination of dedicated craftsmanship and passionate storytelling has made him a living legend in New Orleans!

Dynamic Duos Kingfish collage

Two legends, Chris McMillan and Dale deGroff

After Kingfish we continued to the next event, Jeff Berry and Nick Detrich mixing up drinks with Plantation rum at the Cane and Table! we decided to get there early but it was already packed when we got there….lucky for us some people left 3 chairs at the bar to us and so we got premium seating!

After quickly making a name for himself in the New Orleans cocktail scene at Cure and Bellocq, Nick Detrich opened Cane&Table, a sophisticated tiki restaurant devoted to exploring New Orleans position in the development of rum. Who better to join him at Tales of the Cocktail’s Dynamic Duos than Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, author of the definitive works on tropical drinks and culture?

It turned out to become a fantastic evening with ALL the rum and tiki people plus many others with good cocktails made with Plantation rum, which had a strong presence at this years Tales, just like previous years.

And with Jeff Berry at the bar it’s a guaranteed success! there is no doubt in my mind that his upcoming bar Latitude 29 will be one of THE bars to go in this town, personally I can’t wait to the next year when I will finally hopefully be able to get there.

Dynamic Duos Cane and Table collage

Pictures Laura Godel

Cane and Table also had a kickass pop-up pool party at the Monteleone rooftop:

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party collage

This is what did it for me….these mouthwatering grilled gulf shrimp skewers and the DIP SAUCE! the dip sauce was to “die for” and yet so simple, a mix of Crystal Sauce (the best Louisiana hot sauce in my opinion) and fresh squeezed lime juice served in baked bell peppers….the way the sauce tasted I think it was baked for a little while inside the bell peppers….this was soooooo GOOOD!!!

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party 4 2

Delicious strawberry sticks in mango sauce……you get pampered at the Tales!

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party 5 2

Cheers! and hope to be back at Tales again the next year!!

And here’s a picture parade:

Tales toast collage

The official Tales toast at the steps of Monteleone to kick off Tales.

Mandarin Napoleon 1 pic2

Delicious drinks by Mandarin Napoleon using my favorite soft drink (together with Ting) Sanpellegrino.

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Refreshing!! especially in the summer heat of New Orleans which btw I must say was unusally “cool” this year….nevertheless, the cold drinks really did their job! and who doesn’t like fresh and fruity drinks in the summer?

Mandarin Napoleon presented the 2nd Annual Imperial Battle of the Sexes, at the Napoleon House, where eight of the best male and female bartenders from around the country paired against each other to create their very own signature Mandarine Napoléon cocktail and, guests voted for the best. Each bartender had their own station to serve their signature cocktails, while strategically pleading for votes.

The teams also had to face off in challenges that tested their knowledge, creativity and skill. This portion of the competition was judged by an expert panel, including brand owner Marc de Kuyper. Hosted by John Lermayer , while Alex Straus and Mathias Simonis from The Bon Vivants were team captains.

So which team won? it was the male team this time….

 Bayou rum and gator 2

Bayou Rum had a alligator themed tasting room, presenting their new rum for the summer, Bayou Satsuma along with their spiced and silver rum that they launched at the Tales last year, serving cocktails with these three expressions. They even brought a live gator baby in there..

I like Bayou rum, it’s a comfort rum to me! and they served a tasty cocktail called “Down the Bayou”, with Bayou Spiced, Blackberry Sage Syrup by Locally Preserved, orange juice, pineapple juice, ginger ale, full recipe is on their webpage.

Samogon is a 90 proof Russian Spirit never commercially bottled before, until this years Tales! and in their tasting room we got to use a new tool for opening fresh coconuts and everyone got to open their own nut, funny, and the tool along with a huge hammer made it easy. Fresh coconut water is so tasty!  I think this one was a hit!

Samogon and Coconut

And at last, I wanna recommend a few places you can go to when you’ re in New Orleans for the Tales or other things, these are places I have greatly enjoyed over the years and this year because when I like a place, I keep coming back!

Arnaud’s French 75, get your well crafted cocktails by Chris Hannah and team! step into a world of it’s own right there on 813 Bienville street, the bar is adjacent to Arnaud’s main dining room and one of GQ’s top 25 bars in the US. Being there is a true delight!

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SoBou – A Spirited Restaurant South of Bourbon! awesome Louisiana-centric and street food inspired restaurant with a beverage focus. Great cocktails by Abigail! don’t miss this place please! 310 Chartres Street.

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Mai Tai at SoBou with Appleton rum and Cruzan Blackstrap float, Shrimp and Tasso Pinchos with Glazed Pineapple.

KingFish – This is where Chris McMillan resides….enough said, just go there and have a great cocktail or two and chat with one of the legends in New Orleans! they also got great food….just a step away from SoBou – 337 Chartres St

The Carousel Bar – is a MUST! the slowly rotating bar is an experience! and the place you always find yourself at during the Tales. I had a great Rum Alexander this year made with the local Rougaroux dark rum! it was awesome. But their signature cocktail is the Vieux Carre’. The Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge is the only revolving bar in New Orleans, Louisiana. The bar is inside the Hotel Monteleone on 214 Royal St.

Cane and Table – GREAT place! cocktails, tiki drinks, RUM and food! 1113 Decatur St.

Bourbon “O” Bar – 730 Bourbon St – go here for a treatment by Cheryl Charming and her staff of great bartenders! I will never forget the Bananas Foster snowcone cocktail I had there last year! and go and have a Pimm’s Cup made by Lynn Burgett, he makes the best Pimm’s Cup in town! perfectly balanced, nice garnish and sooo refreshing! this bar is right on Bourbon yet a world away….

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Fabulous Pimm’s Cup….

The Rum House – a Caribbean taqueria and a great place for rum geeks because they do have an extensive rum list where you can find real rare treasures like Silver Seal Caroni and Samaroli demerara rums! and their fried oyster taco is a delight! find the Rum House at 3128 Magazine street.

Commander’s Palace – needs no presentation, let me just say, if you want a whole experience including fantastic food and impeccable service, there is Commander’s. Don’t miss their Shrimp Henican whatever you do….wild Louisana white shrimp stuffed with spicy Cajun tasso tossed in Crystal sauce with pickled okra and five pepper jelly!

That’s a few places but there are many more, cannot add them all I wrote about many of them in previous years, but go to for example, Cure, Bar Tonique, Coop’s, Parkway (for Poboys) just google them…I’m done, see y’all next year at the Tales!

Rumhouse collage

Real treasures at the Rum House……

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Commander’s Shrimp and Tasso Henican is unbelievable…..! wild Louisana white shrimp stuffed with spicy Cajun tasso tossed in Crystal sauce with pickled okra and five pepper jelly! on the right, a little refreshment, Aqua Fresca. (Macerated pineapple and lime juices with a pinch of sugarcane…served with fresh mint)

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This years TOTC tee from Fleurtygirl! Storm the Quarter!!

A VISIT TO TIKI ROOM

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Elias and me in front of the beautiful bar

Tiki Room is the only Tikibar in Stockholm and its often my bar to go since a couple years back but i wasn`t there from the beginning. This bar dates back to year 2002 but it really started as a Tiki club concept already in 1995. Before that the Tiki pop culture was an unknown thing in Sweden.

So it started as a little club in 1995, and became more or less a mobile Tiki bar where much exotica was played changing locations around the city until Tiki Room finally was installed in the basement of Mellow Bar and Restaurant in 2002.

Much of the interior comes from Oceanic Arts in California. The menu is hand painted and the drinks are a mix of old Don the Beachcomber`s , Trader Vic´s, Beachbum Berry´s and their own original drinks.

The interior decorations are real and so are the drinks – as it should be – you won´t get a fake Mai Tai here.

The reason why i like this bar is much because it feels like “home” being there, its a place to relax and have a good drink, and it s a good idea to get there early when the bartenders still have time to chat with you, it can get pretty crowded later in the evening.

Yes, they really do the Mai Tai right, but there`s of course more than the Mai Tai – and here`s a cocktail that is refreshing and tasty, created by Elias Malmberg.

AROHA TEA PUNCH

aroha-tea-punch

1.5 oz Bourbon
0.75 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz pineapple juice
0.25 oz rock candy syrup, or make a rich simple, 2:1
0.75 oz Vanilla infused Rooibos Tea syrup

Shake and strain into a highball with ice (i choosed crushed) and garnsih with fruits and mint.

Roibos Vaniila Infused Tea Syrup

8 tsp dry Rooibos tea
1.75 cup Hot water
2 vanilla beans

Sugar to fill a i litre bottle and add 2 split vanilla beans. Let sit for a little while, shake to dissolve the sugar more evenly and  taste your way.

Thee´s a lot of sweetness in this drink but the one oz of fresh lemon juice balances it out very well.

Since i now got this Rooibos vanilla tea syrup to play with i decided to make a twist of Aroha Tea Punch, only because i wanted to taste this syrup with rum as well – so i went for an aged rhum agricole and Smith & Cross.

Then i remembered the hibiscus tincture i have on my shelf…haven´t used it for a while since its not exactly one of those things you use too often…but when you do – its a killer!

I totally hold Martin Cate (Smuggler`s Cove) responsable for me having a hibiscus tincture on my shelf – he used it in one of the drinks at the Tiki themed spirited dinner last year at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans at GW Fins (oh what a restaurant) in the Menehune Gonzalesz cocktail and that inspired me to make some and try it out.

Its ridiculously esay to make – take an ounce of dried hibiscus flowers nd steep in about 5 ounces of alcohol (vodka or overproof white rum) for a couple of days, then strain and bottle.

What you do with it? you add for example a few dashes on top of the ice….makes the drink look like a drink fit for Lestat – well..assuming the tincture was blood of course…luckily its not.

But we are not in the vampire movies now, this is Tiki so let`s swizzle!

ALOHA TEA PUNCH

aloha-tea-punch

1.5 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum
0.5 oz aged rhum agricole (Clemént Vieux)
0.25 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz pineapple juice
0.25 oz sugarcane syrup
0.75 oz Vanilla infused Rooibos Tea syrup

Add ingredients (except hibiscus tincture) in a tall glass or tiki mug half filled with crushed ice and swizzle until the glass gets frosty, add more crushed ice to fill and add a few drops of hibiscus tincture on top of the ice and garnish with fresh mint and a speared pineapple chunk and brandied cherry.

tikiroom-blowfish

Every Tiki bar needs a blow fish…

You find Tiki Room at Mellow / Tiki Rom · Birkagatan 10 · Stockholm · Tel +46 (0)8-33 15 55

Website

MARTIN CATE OPENS NEW RUM BAR

SMUGGLER’S COVE COMING FALL 2009 TO SAN FRANCISCO

smugglerscove

This is some really great news! now i have no excuses anymore for not visiting the US more often…actually i never made it to Forbidden Island yet – let´s hope i make it to Smuggler´s Cove soon enough!

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – This fall, San Francisco will become home to Smuggler’s Cove, a new bar designed to celebrate the incredible diversity and versatility of the world’s most exciting spirit: Rum.

Smuggler’s Cove offers a whole new approach to rum by featuring a vast array of traditional Caribbean drinks, classic libations of Prohibition-Era Havana, and famous exotic cocktails from legendary tiki bars- all under one roof.

In addition, Smuggler’s Cove will offer an unparalleled selection of rare and premium rums from around the world carefully selected for enjoying on their own or skillfully blended into cocktails.  For over a decade, owner and creator Martin Cate has been passionate about rum & tropical cocktails.

He was the co-creator, designer and chief mixologist for Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge in Alameda, CA.  He has judged in international rum competitions, met with over a dozen rum distillers in five countries, and lectured at Bourbon and Branch’s Beverage Academy, Tales of the Cocktail, and Tiki Oasis.  “I am very excited to help showcase this wonderfully varied spirit both on its own and in delicious cocktails.

A great rum drink can be simple and elegant, or complex and dynamic, but it must always be balanced, approachable, and just a pleasure to drink,” says Martin Cate. “Too often, people associate rum with syrupy and artificial drinks and we’re here to change that.”

Martin has traveled the world to learn the rich history and explore the traditional spices and regional ingredients of the world’s rum producing countries in order to feature them in the cocktails of Smuggler’s Cove.

As an award-winning mixologist and member of the United States Bartenders Guild for the last four years, Martin is committed to using only the best quality spirits, fresh-squeezed juices, and housemade ingredients.

But while Martin is serious about the drinks, he knows that people are looking for a memorable and fun experience as well.  “Smuggler’s Cove will be more than just a tiki bar, but it will feature the kind of dramatic, mysterious, and escapist atmosphere that makes a tiki bar so special- and makes rum taste better!”

Smuggler’s Cove will include waterfalls, vintage nautical décor and rum memorabilia, and relics from some of San Francisco’s most famous historic watering holes.

Smuggler’s Cove will open November 2009 in San Francisco, CA.

For more information, please visit http://www.smugglerscovesf.com/ and sign up on our mailing list to get all the latest news.

About Martin Cate: http://www.martincate.com/press.php

Contact Martin Cate at info@smugglerscovesf.com or 415-999-7929