Tiki Month 2016 – Mount Pegu Erupts, The Guyana Zombie and Colada Noir…

Mount Pegu Erupts 2

So here`s Tiki month again! you know february is tiki month right? at least it is on the Pegu blog which every february since 8 years, turns into a tiki blog for one month. And I always follow suit even though every month is tiki month for me 🙂

The other day I read his first post where he talks about the tiki-transformation of his basement bar where he have installed a freakin`VOLCANO! it erupts too….you can see it here in this video, I think this volcano is brilliant! and he built it himself. That`s pretty freakin`cool isn`t it?

So since we are in the tiki month that requires me to post up something…and I have a drink that seems to keep living on despite it was back in 2009 I made it for the Mixoloseum TDN (Thursday Drink Night) when the theme was Zombie, so I posted it and then forgot about it, until years later I heard it was served at the former PKNY in New York.

Then a couple years after that it was found in the book the “Zombie Horde” by the Professor Cocktail (David J Montgomery) a whole book dedicated ONLY to the Zombie drink with no less than 86 different Zombie and Zombie style recipes included, spanning from Don the Beachcombers 1934 Zombie Punch and over the years to more modern takes in 2013.

Now in 2016 a new version of it has emerged…a fabulous take on this drink elevating it to new levels of booze heights – or rather 2 new versions has emerged, because there´s also a version of the 2016 which transforms the focus from coconut to banana…

Yeah we are geeks here…

This is obviously a drink you can have fun and tinker with a lot! it`s not a traditional Zombie per se, not really, because ther isn`t much it has in common with say the 1934 Zombie Punch but it´s  more a “Zombie-like” drink and the name “Guyana Zombie” due to the demerara rum content has stuck with it.

The 2016 version is made by none other than Tacoma Cabanas tiki master and fire wizard, Jason Alexander and he has invented a fantastic thing called “Spiced Coconut Honey” which is crazy good! so what i`m gonna do for this tiki month is posting up these drinks including pics of Jason`s earlier takes on this drink which he made at the Tacoma because I think they look beautiful.

Then there´s another drink worth a mention, Jason`s Colada Noir…

Guyana Zombie (my origial version from 2009)


2 oz demerara rum
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz honey-mix
1 tsp cream of coconut
0.5 oz fresh lime
A decent float of 151 demerara

Serve in goblet or other glass (or tiki mug) with crushed ice.

Blend with crushed ice at high speed for 5 sek. Pour into goblet with more crushed ice. Garnish with a little pinch of sprinkled demerara sugar, lime wedge and brandied cherry.

It`s boozy and full flavored in that kinda way that makes you feel satisfied but you still want more…

Next up is Jason`s brilliantly updated version, and now the cream of coconut and honey-mix has given way to “spiced coconut honey” and a dash of falernum makes it`s way with some extra zest:

2016 Guyana Zombie

Guyana Zombie 2016 Jasons

A dash or two of Angostura bitters
3/4 oz lime
3/4 oz pineapple
1 oz Spiced Coconut Honey*
1/4 oz falernum
2 oz demerara rum
1 oz float of demerara 151

*Spiced Coconut Honey
9 oz Cream of Coconut (Lopez or Real)
9 oz Honey (not syrup!)
6 oz cinnamon syrup
3 oz Spices #2 (equal parts vanilla syrup and allspice liqueur)

Blend at high speed 5 sek or shake with ice, Pour into a snifter or fancy tiki glass or mug.

It´s a very tasty drink, no doubt!

I also made a version of this with banana syrup switching the flavor focus from coconut to banana. It turned out great! coconut, banana and pineapple they go very well together….

Guyana Banana Zombie

Guyana Banana Zombie

Served in one of Wim Thieleman`s fantastic tiki mugs the Marquesan Coconut!

A dash or two of Angostura bitters
3/4 oz lime
3/4 oz pineapple
1 oz Banana syrup
1/4 oz falernum
2 oz Hamilton Guyana
1 oz float of Cruzan Blackstrap

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass or tiki mug filled with crushed ice and garnsih with a piece of pineapple and tropical orchid.

And here is two of Jason`s takes on the original Guyana Zombie, made at Tacoma where this drink was very appreciated and no wonder when not only does it taste good, he makes them so pretty!

Guyana Zombie at Tacoma 2

Guyana Zombie orig version by Jason

Colada Noir

Also at Tacoma Cabana, Jason created a stunning version of the Pina Colada calling it Colada Noir…it´s the darker side of the normally so innocent Pina Colada…

Colada Noir by Jason

Dash angostura
1/2 oz lime
3/4 oz Cream of Coconut
3/4 oz Swedish Punsch
2 oz Pineapple juice
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria (or Smith and Cross rum)

Shake with ice and strain into a tiki glass – and you may set it on fire too!

Which Jason did….and here´s a video in slow motion when Jason makes the flames filmed by Matt Pietrek aka Cocktailwonk. I`m totally mezmerized by this video…..it´s something hypnotic over fire filmed in slow motion and where the sound is like it´s coming from some mystic underworld…

And finally…I made a version of the Colada Noir but using banana syrup because I wanted to see how it tasted, i`m in love with banana syrup! I nowadays find myself “bananaize” a lot of drinks…good drinks to use banana syrup in are the Coladas, Boo Loo, Coconauts and drinks with citrus and tropical fruit juices as well as tiki drinks containing coffee which I shall post about soon.

Colada Noir Banane

Colada Noir #2

0.5 oz lime juice
0.75 oz Cream of Coconut
0.5 oz strong Kona coffee (or Blue Mountain (Jamaica) or Community Coffee (New Orleans) brewed then cooled.
0.5 oz banana syrup
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria (or Smith and Cross rum)
2 oz Pineapple juice

Blend in blender at high speed 5 sec with 1 cup crushed ice and pour into a snifter.

Fill up with more crushed ice if needed and garnish with a pineapple leaf and tropical orchid.

You can shake it too of course, but it gets more froothy with a blender.

Stay Tropical!

Monstera and orchid

Disclaimer – I may be the brand ambassador for Rational Spirits but this specific post is a post for the Tiki month as A Mountain of Crushed Ice.

Tiki Bars – Latitude 29

Latitude 19

And so finally I got to go the Latitude 29! I´ve been waiting since they opened with great anticipation and (high) expectancy…..well…I try to not have too high expectations whatever it is, better to have an open mind, but with this one i`s a bit different….because this is the BUM`s place….this is the man who uncoded all the secret codes and brought us all these lost drink recipes and who wrote no less than six stellar books on the subject if you count in Taboo Table.

His books have been my to go tiki drink (and history) books for years and so now he and his wife Annene Kay aka Mrs Bum opens a real tiki bar in my favorite city New Orleans!

And I wasn`t there when they opened….and had to wait all the way until this year´s Tales before I could finally go and see it  – and in the meantime I`ve been drooling over all the food and drink pictures (can you say Tahitian Steak Frites?) and the drinks…..oh the drinks….

I`ve seen so many beautiful pictures of these drinks that I didn`t know what to start with….but I ended up ordering a Pontchartrain Pearl Diver as my first drink – in the NEW Pearl Diver`s glass! 🙂

The Pearl Diver`s glass, the Swizzle cup and the skull barspoons are all new for this summer in collaboration with Jeff Berry and Cocktail Kingdom and they were sold at the Tales but are also available online. The vintage Pearl Diver`s Punch glass is more or less impossible to find anymore so I`m really happy they are re-making them and same for the cool swizzle cup! I hope to see more re-making of these type of vintage tiki drink glasses….

And not only are the glasses really cool they come in beautiful vintage looking packages too!

Latitude29 Pearl Diver 3

The Pontchartrain Pearl Diver was good…..very very good – well balanced and oh so tasty! I didn`t try so very many drinks during the Tales because it was so incredibly busy….and so was I…so I decided to wait until after Tales and THEN go there for some serious drink tasting!

So last friday I went there early and I sat there and happily indulged Tahitian Steak Frites with luscious Coconut Butter and later a Mahi Mahi Bahn Mi accompanied by a whole array of drinks until in the evening, I actually spent a whole “working day” in the place!

And I had a nice chat with the Bum, about rums and rums and rums…and of course, tiki drinks. I was indeed a very good day….The place is so cool and relaxed, beautifully decorated and the music is great! with everything from real good and cool old style Jamaican reggae to surf music! and the co-bar manager Steven Yamada and his staff are very attentive, friendly and nice.

It`s really a place to go not only for the great drinks and food but also to escape from the world outside and it doesn`t matter if there´s big windows to the outside world…..because this is New Orleans! and the view from the beautiful arched windows is nothing but beautiful….over the pool and the tropical plants in the courtyard of Bienville House Hotel.

This used to be housing the former Iris restaurant, I went there in 2009 with all the Tales bloggers and now I cannot recognize the restaurant and bar anymore, it´s a total different world! quite the transformation….the only things that looks the same is the courtyard and the hotel lobby.

Take a look:

2009-2015 2

Back in 2009…Alan Walther tends the bar at Iris…..and he did serve some amazing cocktails! he later moved on to Loa, this was long before the Iris became what it is today – a true tiki haven!


The Tales Blogger Dinner in 2009 in the former Iris restaurant, the same view today of the beautiful courtyard and pool but the dining room has dramatically changed…..

Bienville House Hotel Courtyard

This is such a tranquil and peaceful place….if staying at this hotel you get both all this plus the Latitude29 in one place…..

Pool view through window

Eat Drink and be Merry!

drinks collage

Hurricane, Kea Colada and Royal Hawaiian Cocktail.

The food menu has something for everyone! executive Chef Chris Shortall and his staff creates their own take on modern Tiki Cuisine which is playful and tasty and there`s something for everyone including options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free guests.

First thing I opted for was the Tahitian Steak Frites which I`ve been dreaming about since they opened…..

The Tahitian Steak Frites are tender, luscious and juicy (I ordered mine medium-rare) served with hot crispy thin fries and a tasty dipping sauce plus a dollop of coconut butter on top! the Bum told me that in Tahiti they add coconut to the cow´s diet and therefore everything the cows are producing have a touch of coconut flavor…heavenly….and so they wanted to re-create that idea here with the coconut butter.

I LOVE it!

Steak frites collage

I`m not joking, I think I could eat this almost every day….the meat is so tender and melts in your mouth together with that lovely coconut butter….

The Mahi Mahi Bahn Mi is wild caught Mahi poached in coconut oil, jalapeño, sriracha, and shallot….and at a Chef`s Challenge before the Tales I tried the ribs which are very tasty too….and not to forget the crispy green beans!

Another nice dish is the Shrimps in Blanket, the gulf shrimps here really are something special. They are big and juicy….and have more shrimp flavor than shrimps I`ve tasted anywhere else.

Latitude shrimps in blankets

Shrimps in Blanket

Latitude 29 Sahimi beans

These green beans were amazing…..

An array of seductive tropical tiki drinks…..

Latitude 4

When you enter a tiki bar you want to be seduced….you want to forget the daily struggles and take a “trip to the South Seas” with exotic tropical drinks! (inspired by drinks in the Caribbean….) 🙂

So I started with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver….it`s such a good drink!…..balanced, fruity and rummy! The Pearl Diver is a mix of honey-butter-spice mix blended with passion fruit, lime and Jamaica rum. The butter adds a wonderful slightly viscous mouth-feel, if you didn`t know it was butter in the mix you wouldn`t know what it was but you would know there was something there….

After the Pearl Diver I had the namesake drink of this bar – the Latitude 29…..it comes in a tall glass wrapped in banana leaf for that real tropical feel – and you get that cool gorgeous swizzle stick! – made after the wall art by Bosko! The drink is made with eight-year Demerara rum, passion fruit purée, house made Madagascar vanilla syrup, orange, pineapple and lemon.

They are both gorgeous in their presentations with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver in the new re-made super cool Pearl Diver`s glass.

Latitude29 collage

The Latitude 29

The Rum Barrel is according to the menu a communal drink but it says “For 2 to share, or 1 thirsty pirate to hoard. A kill-devil’s brew of 3 rums, 4 juices, multiple herbs, spices and sweeteners …” – so apparently I`m a “thirsty pirate” since I had no problem drinking it all by myself….

It sure makes you feel like a rummy pirate! 😀

It`s presentation is BEAUTIFUL! and fun! see the picture….they really take time to garnish up these beauties….and the drink itself is strong and rummy/fruity/spicy. One of my favorites!

Latitude 7

Rum Barrel, complete with pineapple peel, cherries, orchid, swinging monkeys and umbrella! superfun garnish 🙂

And so is the Coffee Bongo…..also incredibly nicely garnished….with a pineapple leaf cut out to look like a palm tree frond…..topped with two coffee beans….stunning! the drink is also strong/spicy and rummy with lots of character and if you like coffee and pineapple together, you find it here.

Latitude 23

Every drink is not rum though….there´s a drink called “Outcast of the Islands” which was amazingly tasty and is a mix of London gin and Persian lime…with cinnamon, ginger, almond and anise, heavenly….

And it LOOKS heavenly too! it comes served with an ice shell…..how cool is that? and the Navy Grog comes with the iconic ice cone which is made with the Bum`s ice cone device sold by Cocktail Kingdom (as well as the Pearl Diver`s glasses, the swizzle cup and the skull bar spoons)

And there are drinks with bourbon, brandy, tequila, beer and vodka….but I haven`t tried them all yet….there`s something for everyone in the drink menu too. Me, I tend to mostly stick to the rums….

Ice cone shell drinks

Outcast of the Islands and the iconic Navy Grog

The Professor Remsberg`s Punch is a very interesting drink and very tasty too, the drink contains “Fine old Guadeloupe rum, gently stirred with lime and a Caribbean spiced syrup discovered over 30 years ago in San Juan by the Professor himself”…….I wonder what is in that syrup? If you didn`t know, Stephen Remsberg is the world´s biggest rum collector.

Latitude 21

Professor Remsberg`s Punch

All the drinks at Latitude 29 are good and well balanced, from the (real, no chemical-mix) Hurricane, Mai Tai, TOTC Swizzle, Nui Nui, Kea Colada, Royal Hawaiian Cocktail, Lapu Lapu, Hawaii 504, Missionary`s Downfall and the Paniolo….which is Kentucky bourbon and Hawaiian macadamia nut liqueur shaken with lime, house made cranberry syrup and a dash of molé bitters.

It`s evident to me that they pay as much attention to the garnishes as the drinks themselves because some of these drinks ar off the charts when it comes to beautiful presentations! you get a little work of art in your hand!

And the drink names alone takes you on a exotic journey…..a lot of them created back in the heydays of tiki.

Tasty, exotic and beautiful.

Hawaii 504

The Hawaii 504

You know, you need to go there and just try all these heavenly things! btw….between 3 and 6 pm every day it´s Happy Hour with a special menu….where among the drinks you`ll find the Banana Banshee and the Royal Hawaiian Cocktail….both perfect to cool you down when it´s hot outside which is a guaranteed thing in New Orleans during the summer.

And the best thing of all….you get the Steak Frites for half the price! what is there not to love?

The Banana Banshee is a frozen cocktail with Jamaican rum, lime, coconut milk and coconut cream, fresh banana and aztec bitters and topped with grated chocolate!

Lat29 Banana Banshee 2

Banana Banshee

I also ordered a few off-menu drinks with the help of Jeff Berry`s Total Tiki app, such a handy thing to have! and they were delivered top notch! I think Steve outdid himself with the Coconaut….coming beautifully garnished with a Cruzan Blackstrap float on the side. It tasted absolutely heavenly…..it was a mix of Hamilton 151 Demerara, El Dorado 5, for the rums plus that lovely float of blackstrap to pour yourself 🙂

Coconaut collage

This Coconaut was incredible!

The Zombie was spicy and nice just as I expected, and just about right with the strength, and the Kamehameha Rum Punch did live up to it´s name…..

Kamehameha and zombie

Kamehameha Rum Punch and the Zombie…..

This interesting drink recipe is from Sippin`Safari and originates from the Hotel King Kamehameha in Kona, Hawaii, as the origin of the drink around 1960.

So who was King Kamehameha you might ask?  Kamehameha – also known as Kamehameha the Great was the head of a dynasty ruling the Hawaiian islands for more than a century. The name Kamehameha (pronounced kuh-may-ha-may-ha) means “the one set apart.” He conquered the Hawaiian islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawai`i in 1810.

This drink is actually named after the Hotel King Kamehameha in Kona, Hawaii who took the name after the great Hawaiian King – Kamehameha.

Every year on Kamehameha Day (June 11, a state holiday in Hawai’i), National Statuary Hall is the scene of a ceremony in honor of the king and the statue of Kamehameha the Great is draped with lovely (and loooong) leis of fragrant flowers from Hawai’i. The Festival continues to pay tribute to Kamehameha and acts to preserve and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture.

Communal Drinks

And as every tiki bar should, there:s also a couple of different communal drinks on the menu, the newest one is a monster drink called the “Plantocracy Punch” for 6-8 people but we were only three so we tried the Lapu Lapu which uses a recipe which according to the menu is a Don The Beachcomber’s “lost” unpublished 1964 recipe, recently discovered by the Bum and presented here for the first time in over 40 years.

And of course it`s appropriately garnished with little mermaids taking a rummy ice bath…..

Lapu Lapu collage

Fruity, spicy, rummy Lapu Lapu and little mermaids swimming in the bowl….

Latitude 16


Samaroli rums collage

While sitting in the bar I spotted two Samaroli rum bottles….and so of course I ordered a sample of each….and with the rum samples you get a small shot glass with water and a dropper, neat.

One was the 13 year old Guadeloupe 1998 Rhum Agricole and the other 1988 Demerara Dark Rum. The Guadeloupe is spicy and a touch smokey, with a strong character but at the same time, not too aggressive, it´s fruity, peppery, balanced and picky but also smooth.

A few drops of water brings out a whole array of tropical fruits flavors! this rum is incredible. I REALLY liked it!

The 23 year old 1988 Demerara rum had flavors of wood, macerated tropical fruits, apricot, vanilla, banana peel, mango and something else I couldn`t define…..but here a few drops of water didn`t bring out much change….still very woody, strong and fruity. Also a very good rum! Both of these rums are distilled in the Caribbean and then matured in Scotland.

They are not cheap but they are unique rums and they give you something to remember.

Then I saw a curiosity on the menu….it had a sort of mellow toasty coconut flavor…interesting….and I think it also could be used as ingredient in some of the drinks maybe? how about a Toasted Coconut Daiquiri?

Toasted coconut collage

The Interior Decor…..

TD art

Here is top crafts….the first thing you notice is of course the big centerpiece which now is in the same spot as the huge mirror was when it was the bar at Iris. The centerpiece is a huge carving of the Pacific Islands in a map in the forms of small tikis made by Daniel Gallardo aka Tiki Tiablo, and it`s a stunning work of art!!

Here is a collage of close-ups of the “Islands” in the map and there´s a nod to New Orleans too….do you see the fleur de lis on top?

TD map collage

Bosko Hrnjak did all the new (non-vintage) light fixtures and all of the new (non-vintage) tiki carvings, wall panels, etc, over 50 of them in total. And Dave “Basement Kahuna” Wolfe did 8 Easter Island carvings on the hut wall-dividers.

It`s all beautiful….

wall art collage

lamps collage

Another (practical) thing I greatly appreciate are the power outlets with USB ports located on each side of the tables, I wish more bars had that, it should be standard everywhere.

Tiki glasses, Barspoons and Orgeat

Latitude 11

All tikiphiles already knows about the Pearl Diver`s glass, the swizze cup and the cool skull bar spoons which you can find at the Cocktail Kingdom which I mentioned above….but a new thing is the Latitude29 orgeat which comes in a heavy round glass bottle and is sold in the bar.

I haven`t tried the orgeat yet even though I bought a couple of bottles (USD 15 each) but i`m out travellling so that will have to wait.

So to sum it all up, what I was looking for was how the food and the drinks tasted and were presented and if there´s consistency….(and yes I have returned) and how the decor and the feel of the place was, what music did they play and how loud? is it possible to have a conversation or do you have to scream? and how I was treated as a guest.

Personally I have nothing to complain about, the food and drinks are top class, the decor tasteful and genuinely tiki, it`s a laid back and relaxed feel, the staff attentive, professional and very sweet and so I`ll keep coming back, this is now my primarily watering hole in New Orleans :-).

That said there´s a lot of very good bars here, I just happen to really really like well made tiki drinks and in the relaxed vibe and environment of a real good tiki bar, there I feel the most at home.

Samaroli Rums and Pearl Diver at latitude 29


Interior pole


Bum sign

Zombie Challenge 2015!

zombie challenge 2015 logo

If the Bum had not cracked the code of the 1934 Zombie we would not have known it……

……and WHO can resist a Zombie? ………not me……….. 🙂

So here we go again with the next tiki drink challenge, the one and only, the Zombie! oh how I love that drink! and not only does it taste fabulous, it was this very drink that started the tiki craze and put Don the Beachcomber on the map! But tiki is so much more than just the drinks – which are just one piece of the puzzle that makes up the colorful and exotic “Tiki fabric” – but a very important one! and the Zombie is one of the most important of the drinks.

The Zombie is so popular that there´s even a whole book dedicated to just the Zombie, it´s history and what must be the worlds biggest collection of Zombie recipes! and in Sippin`Safari there`s a whole chapter about it´s history and how the Bum cracked the code. Because the original recipe was written in code. There´s tons of Zombie recipes out there, some good, some worse….but the best in my opinion is the original, the 1934 Zombie Punch by Donn Beach, which btw he kept tinkering with his whole life.

If you don`t know already, the Tiki drink challenges are taking place on Instagram where you post up a picture of the drink in question whether you make your own or order one at a bar! and feel free to play around! you can find all the submitted Zombies on the hashtag #zombiechallenge2015 and make sure to follow @el_nova_1 for updates.

Here`s a few recipes:

Zombie recipes collage

For my submissions I first picked the recipe from the 1950s at the Luau Room at Hotel Del Coronado and used rums that i had on hand:

Zombie Coronado

1 oz fresh lemon juice

2 oz passion fruit juice

2 dashes orgeat syrup

1.5 oz Boston Rum (whatever that is? I replaced it with Denzien Merchant`s Reserve)

0.75 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (here I used Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum)

0.75 oz Martinique Rum

1 dash 151 Demerara rum (float)

1 dash Pernod (I used Herbsaint)

Shake everything except the 151 demerara with ice cubes and pour into tall glass. Float 151 demerara on top and garnish with 1/2 slice pineapple, orange slice, cocktail cherry, pineapple leaf and mint.

Let the Zombie take over…..

Saving my favorite Zombie recipe for last, the 1934 Zombie Punch by Don the Beachcomber, it´s originally served in a chimney glass but since I used that for the first drink I decided to use one of the cool mugs I have that are made by Wild Thing Creations.

Now, the 1934 Zombie Punch…..this IS a drink!

Zombie Punch

Served in a cool mug made by Wayne Hoareau, owner of Wild Thing Creations……..! recipe for the 1934 Zombie Punch below:

Zombie recipe

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.

Orchid small

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!

Orchid small

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!



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
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

 Orchid small







Follow Jason aka tikicommando on Instagram.

All pictures on this post courtesy of Jason Alexander.

Tiki Oasis 2014 – Beat Tiki!

Tiki Oasis by Mark

Rum, Fun and Tiki!

And so i went to the Tiki Oasis in San Diego, it was my first trip there and as a lover of all things tiki it was of course a blast! i headed over from New Orleans and went on a road trip with Mark Holt and Bryan & Joanne from the Lost Spirits Rum.

Tiki Oasis is probably the biggest tiki event in the world and is essentially one giant rum/tiki and booze party! – filled with elaborately “garnished” people because not only the tiki drinks are garnished but the people also 🙂

Hawaiian shirts, tropical muu muus and dresses, hats and fezzes. There were vintage cat’s eye glasses, beehive hair, coconut purses, flower leis and pineapple tiaras.

Held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego, this is a annual weekender event, starting on the thursday at the Bali Hai Restaurant and then friday to sunday at the Crowne Plaza.

I liked the hotel, it has beautiful surroundings and the food and service was great and reasonably priced and it had a very tropical tiki-ish vibe.

During the day there´s a whole lot of activities, a lot of them around the pool and stage area with live bands, contests, marketplaces, hula courses, arts and crafts, book signings, symposiums, fashion shows, Miss Tiki Oasis, burlesque dancers, surf guitar classes and the list goes on, there was a LOT to do! and the marketplace is really fun! so filled with fantastic creations of all sorts.

I was especially happy about that you could get fresh flower leis, which is something i been dreaming about for years!!

Tiki Oasis 13 included:

One Miss Tiki Oasis
One helicopter fly-over
A booksigning
Two locations
Three hotels
15 seminars
16 Disc Jockeys
18 Burlesque stars
19 bands
25 artists in art show
30+ Cars in car show
42 Dancers
100 vendors
450+ hotel rooms
3000 attendees

At night, there was live music and entertainment on the stage and then there was the room parties…

At least 10 parties going on at the same time in rooms and suites which all had their own themes from “Hula Hut” to “Tiki Hell” – the latter an “anti-tiki” type of thing…and all about all having fun, which we had indeed…that room was crazy fun! and i laughed when i saw the man sized paper figure of Ron Jeremy beside the stage..

The rooms and parties had some funny names too or how about “Booze and Brews Blowout Room” or “Jane Bond – The Spy Who Loved Tiki Party Room” or “Munster Monster Mash Party” or “RUM-ble in the Jungle Room”?

TH Ron Jeremy 2

Ron Jeremy is watching you…

And so judging the room parties and the cocktails you`re supposed to pick the best cocktail, the best room and suite parties and the best room and suite decors. The cocktail i had no problem in the world to pick…Kahuna Kevin´s Headless Zombie in the Pixie’s Hula Hut swept them all…some came closer than others but none close enough…but the rest was a little bit more tricky because there were many rooms and suites that was great!

I was happy to see that his cocktail also won and you can find the recipe for the Headless Zombie in Kahuna Kevin`s first book “Why is the Rum Gone?”, you can find it here.

Best Cocktail

Picture by Kahuna Kevin

So the result of the contest after all the judges cast their votes is this:

Best Cocktail – Pixie’s Hula Hut
Best Decorated Suite – Deadhead Rum
Best Decorated Room – Ballast Point
Best Suite Party – Casba’sh Molikai’s Room
Best Room Party – Temptress Fashion


I made it to only two symposiums this time…but they were good!

The Bitter Side of Tiki – with Ram Udwin and sponsored by Ballast Point 

serrano cocktail spice 2

Bitters and tinctures aid home and professional bartenders in bringing balance and zest to their cocktails – adding perhaps the perfect final element to a well-crafted tiki libation. In this class, you will get an introduction to cocktail bitters, their history and how they are made. The class will culminate with a discussion on the how and why of using bitters in creating complex and delicious tiki drinks.

Ram Udwin is a bitters maker, a booze blogger and a cocktail man, dedicated to the study and better enjoyment of spirited libations.

I have been a fan of Ram Udwin`s Serrano Cocktail Spice since he made them and i looked forward to his symposium on bitters in tiki drinks. He took us through the history, purpose and use of bitters in general, how they were used as medicine at first and then how they added spice and character to cocktails and also became the backbone to many tiki drinks.

He brought his grapefruit bitters and serrano cocktail spice to try plus his new soon upcoming passionfruit bitters which i really like a lot. If you wanna read more on his cocktail spice and bitters and maybe purchase them too here´s where to go.

The serrano cocktail spice is really amazing, a few drops of it can change a cocktail entirely adding a lively vibrant kick and I love it, especially in cocktails with citrus juices like lime and grapefruit and it’s fantastic in tequila and rum drinks.

Here is Boy Drinks World website.

Rum Revolution!

Rum rev coll

No rum related event without Martin Cate right? from New Orleans, Stockholm, London and San Diego…i see Martin everywhere and his seminars/symposiums are ALWAYS great and have a high entertaining factor.

When you sit down at one of his symposiums you just KNOW it gonna be a good time and great learning and no matter how much you know about rums….there is always more to learn.

Tiki Symposium

Can you spy yourself in this picture? (i see me, Joanne and Bryan 🙂 thanks Baby-Doe von Stroheim for this magnificient picture of the crowd at Martin`s Rum Revolution symposium!

The rums featured that we tasted were these: Angostura No. 1, Denizen Merchant Reserve, Privateer Rum, Penny Blue XO, Owney`s NYC Rum, Rhum Clement Select Barrel, Real Mc Coy 5 yo and Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum.

Co-Sponsored by Lost Spirits, Owney’s, The Real McCoy, Penny Blue and Rhum Clement.

Martin took us through the tasting and the rums, the history of McCoy, the theory about the Martinique rum part in Trader Vic`s Mai Tai being molasses based rum rather than agricole based as believed before in an entertaining symposium.

This was my first experience of a great Tiki Oasis! and i met quite a few other first timers too! plus others that i have known from before. BIG Mahalo to Otto and Baby doe, and EVERY ONE who made this event happening, it was a blast!

Countdown to TO 15 is starting…

Here is a picture parade of the Tiki Oasis and from our road trip:

TO pool area


The Crowne Plaza and the pool area, full with music, people, food, drinks and vendors…we loved to sit down there at night for a while with a cocktail after the room crawls.

Room crawl by Crystal

 Room Crawl in the Hula Hut, picture by Crystal Lee

TH by Mark

Tiki Hell Room Party, picture by Mark Holt, this room party was WILD!!

Kahuna Kevins Headless Zombie Flyer

The Headless Zombie, picture by Kahuna Kevin

Lei collage 1

Beautiful lovely fresh flower leis…it´s a special feeling wearing one.

Lei collage 2

I bought a ti-leaf lei and took it home…because they can be dried and last forever..so it now adorns my home tiki bar. The fresh lei i also got i brought with me back to New Orleans and gave to a good friend 🙂

TO Market

I should of bought one of those hibiscus signs, they are beautiful..

I also met my friends Scott Taylor and Rob Hawes for the first time, i have been buying mugs from them before and i just love their beautiful intricate and detailed tiki mugs! Scott have a shop on Maui called Beachbumz and Rob operates Maui Tiki Tours.

They shared booth with Christine Benjamin and Woody Miller who makes awesome tiki art and Jason Shelfow who makes the beautiful tiki lamps. Later i heard their booth won the prize for best vendor booth, congrats!

BOOTH collage

All these mugs…waiting to be filled with goodness and rum…


And look at those beautiful paintings..you gotta come here the next year y`all…so much fun! so much to see! 


People really had a good time!

Garnished people

What did i say about beautifully garnished people? see it there! 

TO Crowne Plaza

When the sky look like this and the air is warm you want a tiki drink….by the pool…and that we had, sometimes life is really good…

Yes, Tiki Oasis was a blast! i can warmly recommend anyone who loves rums, fun and tiki to go there next year!


And here are a few pics from our 3 day road trip which started at Mark Holt`s amazing tiki house…then went to LA and a whole bunch of bars…to finally end up in San Diego.

Marks house coll 1

This is a pretty cool pool area me thinks…

Marks house coll 2

The pirate guards the outdoor tiki bar…

Marks house coll 3

There`s a LOT to see in this house…the bitters and stuff hanging upside down on magnets is a brilliant invention by our friend Cheryl Charming used in the Bourbon O Bar in New Orleans.

Marks house coll 4

See that bowl? that bowl is not just any bowl…it`s the worlds second most powerful volcano bowl, the one Martin Cate used at Tiki Oasis in 2009, and it was in there that he first created and served one of Smuggler’s Cove’s most popular drinks: The Top Notch Volcano! Only rivaled by the bigger bowl he used for the 2010 Oasis Seminar…

And from Mark`s house we embarked on the road trip to Tiki Oasis after a very late rum party involving plenty of great rums, barrel aged negronis and JWray`s under the stars in the outdoor jacuzzi, and first stop was LA where two days of bar hopping awaited.

Tiki Ti coll 1

And one of the stop by bars was of course Tiki Ti...where else?

Nui Nui at Tiki Ti

 The lovely Nui Nui, picture by Mark Holt

Nui Nui made with Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum at Tiki Ti

And another Nui Nui…with Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum! made after suggestion by our friend Matt over at Cocktailwonk, if you haven`t checked out that outstanding blog you need to do it! pic by Mark Holt

Tiki Ti coll 2

I love this place! it has such a homely feeling, and since this was the first time i got there i just had to start with a Ray`s Mistake, which i been reading so much about for so long! it was good…and even better was the Nui Nuis, 151 swizzle and Rum Barrel. I need to go back for more drinks, i haven`t tried enough!!!!!

Rum Barrel Tiki Ti

A taaasty Rum Barrel, pic by Mark Holt

We also passed by Cliff`s Edge to have cocktails made by Matthew Biancaniello who creates his outer wordly farm fresh cocktails every Wednesday through June, July and August with his Pop-Up Bar on the patio.

I dunno how to praise his creations enough…what can i say? i think they are the best cocktails in ever had, as far as cocktails go, i´m not comparing with tiki drinks here because they are a different thing.

Cliffs Edge pop up

Cocktails by Matt Biancaniello…artworks…and out of this world.

Arugula gimlet, grapefruit mint cocktail, ant beer cocktail, (yes ants!) etc don`t ask what was in all of these…one had bergamot infused 123 Tequila Blanco, yellow nectarine, home made ant beer and flowering oregano.. The passionfruit one had foraged white fir infused calisaya, passionfruit and Italian cayenne and was totally amazing…but they all were, every single one of them.

The thick but light airy foam you see on the cocktail on the upper right was just amazing…like a caress on your lips covering a cool somewhat mellow and incredible experience of a cocktail…wooow

Cliffs Edge pop up2

If i was anywhere near Cliff`s Edge until end of august i would not miss this for anything…you heard me?! just go there…

Cliffs Edge

The beautiful patio at Cliff`s edge, pic by Mark Holt

Another great bar and restaurant we stopped by was Rivera, finally i could get to try the Barbacoa!! and that legendary cocktail was AMAZING….it contains mezcal, chipotle, ginger, lime and beef jerky. I also very much liked “Constantino`s Revenge” with Diplomatico reserva exclusiva, pineapple, fresh lemon and angostura.

Barbacoa at Rivera

The lovely Barbacoa, pic by Mark Holt

We also went to Honeycut where i asked for a Mai Tai with demerara rum which they perfectly made…and then to Cana Rumbar, where i had a rum filled coconut followed by another Mai Tai with Appleton White and a Cruzan Black Strap float. It`s an unusual rum combo for a Mai Tai i know…but i have had it in New Orleans at SoBou and it´s very tasty!

Cana Mai Tai with blackstrap

Mai Tai with Cruzan Black Strap float over Appleton White rum…

cana collage

At the Spare Room there was a tiki drink pop up by Paul McGee from Three Dots and a Dash  in Chicago with the bars namesake drink of course on the menu plus Pieces of Eight, Poipu Beach Boogie Board, Bunny`s Banana Daiquiri and then the lovely tasty Painkiller. Great drinks and fun evening of Tiki!

Spare Room pop up menu

The Spare Room is situated on the mezzanine level of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and while you`re there you might as well look down on the street right outside because that´s where all the stars of the Hollywood stars are in a long row.

Here´s a link to Three Dots and a Dash website, their cocktail menu looks great!! and if i ever have my ways through Chicago…i know where to go.

Three dots and a dash pop up collage

They were all tasty…and beautiful.

Another interesting bar….the Noble Experiment with it´s “Paris catacomb” like wall of bronze skulls…inside the Neighbourhood restaurant (which btw have great food!) hidden speakeasy behind a stack of false kegs by the restroom…and their Laphroaig tiki style drink is just amazing!

Noble Experiment.jpg

Wall of skulls, blinking eyes in a deer painting and a timeless chandelier…dark and intimate, a place for craft cocktails and conversation.

In between Los Angeles and San Diego we passed Trader Sam`s…which i think was a funny and goofy place…you cannot but smile when they start to do the krakatoa show and the “rain” is water they spray on us…and i enjoyed both the food and the drinks a lot! Trader Sam`s Enchanted Tiki Bar is located at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.

Trader Sams Uh Oa bowl

Trader Sam`s Uh Oa Bowl…great pic, by Bryan Davis (Lost Spirits Distillery)

Trader Sams coll 1

The Shrunken Zombie Head and the Uh Oa Bowl ready to be set on fire.

Trader Sams coll 2

Krakatoa is soon ready to erupt…you better go and grab a drink!!

I think that was all….we went to more bars than these but i cannot add them all…i hope to do this again next year!


These babies were with us everywhere we went…

Marks House hula girl

Hula girl….

Lei and LS rum

Aloha! and until next year…okolemaluna!

Thanks to Mark Holt for letting me use his awesome picture of the pool area as cover photo for this post! i just wish my readers could also hear all the great music we know was in that pic as well….

Professor Cocktail`s Zombie Horde

Zombie book cover

A book entirely devoted to one of my favorite tiki drinks – the Zombie!!

For the first time ever (as far as i know) has an entire book been written about ONE tiki drink, the famous Zombie. That`s how much this drink fascinates…

Now the book does of course not contain only one Zombie recipe – it contains no less than 86 different recipes…..starting with my favorite the 1934 Zombie Punch – the original version. This was the one that started it all, as served at Don the Beachcomber’s famed Hollywood restaurant. This was the drink that made Don’s reputation and secured his place in cocktail history.

86 different Zombies? that could keep you busy and boozed out for a long time, especially seen to that the old saying “two at the most” was stated for a reason.

The author professor Cocktail about Jeff “Beachbum” Berry:

This book could not have been written without Jeff’s extraordinary efforts at resurrecting Don the Beachcomber’s Zombie. He truly is the Indiana Jones of Tiki Drink Archaeology.


Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink – by David J. Montgomery aka Professor Cocktail

zombie book - napkin

The book starts with a presentation of the Zombie which was the drink that launched a Tiki empire. Created in 1934 by a former bootlegger named Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt – better known to the world as Don the Beachcomber – the Zombie was a revelation.

“I originated and have served this ‘thing’ since 1934…Anyone that says otherwise is a liar!” —  Don the Beachcomber

A potent mix of different rums, fruit juices, and exotic spices, the Zombie was to become Don’s signature drink and, eventually, a key part of his success and that of his namesake restaurant.

Don’s genius was found in rum and the varying ways in which it could be combined with other ingredients. Not only was he the first bartender to invent Tiki drinks, he was among the first to use rum itself in a serious way.

Out of all of Don’s creations, the Zombie reigned supreme. It was the drink that everyone wanted to try. The book goes on telling us how reportedly the Zombie was invented – whether true or not – and goes on to telling us about how many years later our beloved Beachbum (Jeff Berry) managed to crack the code for Don the Beachcomber’s original Zombie.

And that`s why – thank you Jeff! – i have been able with many others, to enjoy this drink from it´s original recipe albeit with different rums than was used at the time.

After the introduction there´s a note about ingredients explaining what they are and where you can try to find them. The composition of the Zombie varied over the years depending on who was making it – but there are certain ingredients, however, that popped up most frequently and they are listed in the notes.

And then – on to the recipes, all 86 Zombies! and it`s not just the recipes, there´s stories, anecdotes and pictures – all written in an entertaining style.

zombie book don beach ca 1950 in Hawaii

Don Beach in Hawaii cirka 1950


In Zombie Horde, David J. Montgomery (aka Professor Cocktail) leads you on a journey through the history of the Zombie, starting with its humble beginnings in Hollywood, and following it as it evolved and spread over the decades.

Zombie Horde includes recipes from notable bartenders like Trader Vic, David Embury, Salvatore Calabrese, and Dale DeGroff, as well as the formulas for the Zombies served at famous Tiki joints like the Tonga Room in San Francisco, Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas, and the Luau Room in San Diego.

It also includes recent cocktails that were inspired by the Zombie, with offerings from Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove), Brian Miller (Death & Company), Allan Katz (Caña Rum Bar), Brian Dressel (Midnight Cowboy), and Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club).

I`d recommend this book to anyone who`s interested in tiki drinks and of course – the Zombie. With such a gold mine of Zombie recipes from the 1934 original Zombie Punch to Bar Agricole’s Cap Haitien Zombie you just can`t go wrong.

zombie book shrunken head mugs

Otto’s Shrunken Head mugs

About the Author

David J. Montgomery mixes his love of history and alcohol into one potent concoction through his work at ProfessorCocktail.com He is also a nationally renowned book critic and commentator on writing and the publishing industry. Mr. Montgomery is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has written for USA Today, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and other fine publications.

His short fiction has appeared both online and in print. A former Professor of History, he lives in the Washington, D.C. suburbs with his wife and two daughters.

The ebook will be available exclusively through Amazon (as well as various international versions of Amazon), and costs just $2.99 to download. There are no plans for a print edition at this time, although it’s possible that could change.

You don’t need a Kindle to read the book, though. You can also use the Kindle app that’s available for various platforms, including PC, Mac, various tablets (iPad, Android, etc.), and smartphones (iPhone, Android, etc.).

Obviously it has a lot of rum in it. So what’s not to like? Go get it!

And for your drinking pleasure, here´s two recipes:

The Undead Gentleman (2011 by Martin Cate)

Undead Gentleman

As served at the high-end Tiki and rum bar located in San Francisco, CA.
Martin Cate’s Note: Simplified slightly and served on the stem, for the sophisticated savage.


In a cocktail shaker:
1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice (white or pink)
1/2 oz. Falernum
1/2 oz. Cinnamon Syrup
1 oz. Lemon Hart 151 Rum
1 1/2 oz. Aged Jamaican Rum
1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rinsed with absinthe blanc. Garnish with a lime and grapefruit twist that have been twisted together.

And then i brought back my old Guyana Zombie which i made in 2009 for the TDN Zombie. It doesn`t contain more than two rums but one is overproof to give the drink that kick it needs. It`s not an authentic Zombie, more a drink that is Zombie inspired.

Guyana Zombie


2 oz demerara rum

1 oz pineapple juice

1 oz honey-mix ( equal parts honey and water, dilute the honey in warm water)

1 tsp cream of coconut ( Lopez or Coco Real)

0.5 oz fresh lime

A decent float of 151 demerara.

Serve in goblet with crushed ice. Sprinkle demerara sugar on top.

Blend with crushed ice at high speed for 5 sek. Pour into goblet with more crushed ice. Garnish with sprinkled demerara sugar, lime wedge and brandied cherry.

TOTC 2013 – Rise of the Zombie and European Rums


“The Zombie is not Lemonade”

This is the drink that made the tiki drinks famous! invented by Don the Beachcomber and so influential that people named their bars after it.

If you have had a well made zombie you know what i`m talking about…

This seminar held by Jeff Berry, Ian Burrell and Steve Remsberg took us through the history of this fine but “deadly” drink which is one of my favorite tiki drinks. The tiki folks that reads this blog knows it already but those of you who doesn`t know here´s a short recap of the history and the seminar:

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry spent ten years tracking down the original lost recipe for the Zombie cocktail.

Why?From the end of Prohibition to the dawn of Disco, the Zombie was the world’s most famous drink. It kick-started the whole Tiki craze, and put Don The Beachcomber’s Hollywood bar on the map.

Inventor Donn Beach kept his original 1934 recipe a closely guarded secret — and when the Jeff finally found it, the recipe was in code!

While sipping samples of vintage Zombie recipes, you’ll learn why this legendary drink was the toast of the Hollywood movie crowd, and hear the true-life detective story behind how the recipe’s secret code was cracked.

Don Beach greatest innovation was to mix several rums in the same drink, something that was new at the time and which he perfected. It´s not an easy thing to do and requires a damn good knowledge about rums – and we all know how well Don Beach knew his rums!

At the time nothing of the like had ever been tasted before and Don`s bars became the hangout for stars and celebrities. His bars became a huge success and the Zombie became the most famous drink in the tiki world.

Here´s the recipes of the two most famous Zombies the 1934 Zombie punch (my preferred Zombie) and the 1950 Zombie. As for rum substitutions for white and gold rums i`d recommend flavorful rums such as Plantation 3 stars, Cruzan, Flor de Cana and for dark rum equal parts of El Dorado 12 yo and Smith & Cross Jamaican rum to get closer to the original dagger rum flavor unless you got Kohala Bay rum.

Also i think using some of the privately bottled demerara rums (Silver Seal, Samaroli, OVD etc) sold in Europe would make nice Zombies…

Zombie Punch (1934)
(From Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Safari and Remixed)

3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz Don’s Mix
1/2 oz falernum
1 1/2 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
1 1/2 oz aged Jamaican rum
(such as Appleton Extra)
1 oz 151-proof Lemon Hart Demerara rum
(no substitution)
Dash Angostura bitters
6 drops (1/8 teaspoon) Pernod
1 teaspoon real pomegranate grenadine ( i use homemade hibiscus grenadine)
6 oz  (3/4 cup) crushed ice.

Put everything into a blender, saving ice for last. Blend at high speed for no more than 5 seconds. Pour into a chimney glass and add ice cubes to fill. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Zombie (1950)
(From Beachbum Berry’s Intoxica and Sippin’ Safari)

1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz passion fruit syrup
1 oz white Puerto Rican rum
1 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
1 oz 151-proof Lemon Hart Demerara rum
(no substitution)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 dash Angostura bitters

Dissolve sugar in lemon and/or lime juice. Shake everything well with crushed ice and pour into a tall glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.

This one was attributed to Don Beach by Louis Spievak in his 1950 book, Barbecue Chef.

And from the famous Zombie we move on with the topic rum…

European Rums Uncovered

European rums cups

“Rum is about Sharing”

Did you know that 9 out of 10 rum consumers do not realize that some of the best rums in the world are blended, aged and bottled in Europe? They may start in the America’s but are adopted, loved , nurtured and aged in the cooler climates of Europe.

Here is where we learnt about dual aging – the rapid intensity of tropical ageing paired with the slow maturation of cooler climates creates smooth and balanced rums.

And although the rums has their roots in the Caribbean the Europeans can be credited with it`s creation.

The seminar was held by Ian Burrell (Global Rum Ambassador) Richard Seal (Master distiller and ambassador for all the Rums, which is produced at the family owned Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados) Alexandre Gabriel (President and Owner, Cognac Ferrand) and R John Pellaton (Owner of Banks Rums)

And as always when Ian Burrell is around there is a good story or two and a lot of laughing.

Europ rums sem ian

We tasted 9 different rums and rum prizes were handed out to the first to answer random questions and Richard Seale made an interesting experiment where we tasted two different rums and were asked which one was preferred.

It turned out that the expensive one was the least preferred by the audience while the cheaper one which was aged only two years ( i could never have guessed that) tasted much more balanced due to certain additives in it – showing us the point of what can be done to manipulate rum.


Of the nine rums we tasted were Banks 7 Golden Aged Rum which s a blend of  23 rums from 7 countres – Barbados, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Java (Arrak) Panama and Trinidad – from both pot and column stills aged in bourbon barrels between 1-7 years.

I found it to be flavorful, with a “golden” profile, quite light but spicy, hints of fruits like apple and banana. Balancing 23 rums is obviously not an easy task but they have made it well.

Further we tasted Plantaton 3 Stars – my fav white rum and their excellent XO 20th anniversary rum which in the US has got a new bottling which i REALLY like! The XO is very well balanced, smooth with hints of toffee, vanilla, nutmeg, oak.

Then we also tasted Spanish rums from Dos Maderas which i have never done before. We tasted Dos Maderas 5+3 which is a blend of Guyana and Barbados rums aged 5 years first in the Caribbean and then 3 more years in casks that once held the Don Cortados 20 yo Old Palo Cortado Sherry. The overall flavor was dry and sweet.

Dos Maderas PX s rum 5+3 wich is aged for 2 years in Don Guido, a 20 year aged Pedro Ximenez sherry. It as sweet, thick with a pronounced sherry flavor.

Dos Maderas Luxus is rums from Barbados and Guyana aged 10 years n the Caribbean and then shipped to Spain to age 5 more years in casks that held Don Guido. The result is a deep intense rum with more wood, clear cherry, rich, deep with a sweet finish.

The dual ageing was an interesting topic and t´s always interesting to try new rums…

Every year at Tales i learn some things that gives me more in depth knowledge in the topics that interest me, and at the Tales there´s always something for everyone.

RUM Legends plant 20 yo