It`s pandan time in my kitchen and this day I wanted something really tasty and refreshing in a summer-kinda-way to accompany my lunch with spicy chicken biryani. I was inspired by Emanuele Codispoti`s latest drink the Missionary`s Colada, that I also made and posted on this blog here. So I came up with this pandan flavored version of a Missionary`s Downfall – a very famous classic Tiki cocktail.
And it IS tasty!! incredibly refreshing, tangy, zesty and yummy, I wish I had made two…. but the recipe is there and now I want to share it with you my readers, so here it is. Pandan leaves is the leaves from a type of pandanus plant and is used extensively in Asian cuisine. These leaves are incredibly fragrant. Finding fresh pandan leaves can maybe be tricky in these times depending on where you live. Luckily for me Sweden has a lot of Thai shops and online too. Pandan leaves can also be frozen which is very useful. I have now both pandan and kaffir lime leaves in my freezer. The pandan syrup I made from fresh leaves though. It`s very easy, just make a simple syrup with a raw sugar and add some chopped pandan leaves into it and let it simmer for a minute. Then take it off the heat and let it sit for a while until you find the flavor and fragrance strong enough. I let mine sit for 30 minutes before straining and bottling.
1 oz/30 ml GunRoom 2Ports light rum
0.5 oz/15 ml Rhum JM XO
0.5 oz/15 ml RumFire overproof rum
1 oz/30 ml pandan syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml Alamea Peach Brandy Liqueur
0.5 oz/15 ml apricot cinnamon syrup
2 oz/60 ml fresh lime juice
2 oz/60 ml fresh pineapple chunks
10 mint leaves
1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice
Pulse blend at high speed for 10 seconds. Pour into a cocktail coupe or snifter and garnish with pandan leaves and a pandan rose. (how to make those you can learn on Youtube) Sprinkle a little bit of cardamom on top.
Cut up a handful of ripe apricots with a strong orange/reddish color, a “handful” depends on size and type of apricot. But you should end up with about 2 dl of cut up apricot pieces. Crush 1 large Ceylon cinnamon stick (not cassia.) Make a 2:1 simple syrup with light muscovado sugar and water. Add the apricot pieces and the crushed cinnamon stick. Heat it up on medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved and mash the apricot pieces with a fork. Bring to a very quick boil, then immediately take it off the heat. Set aside and leave for a few hours. Strain and bottle.
It just happens to be the International Pina Colada day so who am I to say no to a lush Colada drink? I decided to make a slight twist of the iconic classic and without further ado here is the recipe:
Hawaiian Coffee Colada
15 ml/0.5 oz cream of Coconut
15 ml/0.5 oz roasted orgeat
15 ml/0.5 oz Alamea Hawaiian Coffee liqueur
45 ml/1.5 oz fresh lime juice
60 ml/2 oz fresh pineapple juice
45 ml/1.5 oz Rhum JM XO
45 ml/1.5 oz Dr Bird Jamaican rum
Flashblend for 5 seconds with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice and pour into a frozen pineapple. Garnish with pineapple leaves.
Toast 60 ml/2 oz almond flakes in a dry pan or in the owen at 100C. Watch it carefully, and stir it a little because almond easily burn. But let them get some brown color. Crush them lightly and leave to cool on a plate.
Make a 2:1 simple syrup with light muscovado sugar and water. Add the toasted crushed almond flakes. Heat it up on medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved, let it simmer for a minute while stirring but do not boil. Set aside and leave for at least a few hours or overnight. Strain and bottle.
It`s time to talk about Tiki Lover`s rum again, I can`t believe it was eight (!) years ago that the first Tiki Lover`s rums was launched and I wrote about them. Where did the time go? scary! Anyway, I have noticed that people are talking about them on social media and since the last time they have also launched a pineapple rum, similar in style to the one from Plantation, the Stiggin`s Fancy. it`s similar but not quite the same, and the production methods, type of pineapple used and the flavor differ.
Curious as I am I did taste them both side by side and noticed the differences but also some similarities. My conclusion is that one of them might be better suited for one specific drink and the other for another. Overall, I find the Tiki Lover`s to be very strong on the pineapple flavor, which makes it maybe more suitable for strong Tiki cocktails, while the Stiggin`s Fancy is lighter in flavor, more complex and refined.
Not sure how exactly the Tiki Lover`s team make their pineapple rum, all I know is that they use natural extracts from pineapples from South America. I`m not sure if the pineapples are fresh or baked before added to the rum, the description says “The juice is extracted and some of its water content is reduced in order to not water down the rum.”
The rums used in the blend are aged and un-aged pot still rums from Hampden and Worthy Park, then 3 year old Barbados rum from Foursquare aged in former bourbon whiskey barrels (thumbs up for these rums!) and then some younger column still rums from Guyana and Trinidad and it`s a no-brainer which distilleries they must come from, namely DDL and Angostura.
In my opinion after I tried it in two Tiki cocktails – it`s a good start, but the pineapple flavor is strong and becomes a bit overpowering in the drinks and so you need to use it in small amounts. But it also depends on what you use with it. I haven`t tried it with a lot of different rums yet, it`s an ongoing process. But for what I used in these drinks, a small amount worked best and that`s when it did shine best, adding just enough of the flavor to stay balanced with the other ingredients.
The two drinks I made are these:
1 oz Appleton Rare Blend, Jamaican rum
0.5 oz Coruba Dark, Jamaican rum
0.25 oz Tiki Lovers Pineapple rum
0.5 oz Alamea Hawaiian Coffee liqueur
1.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz banana syrup
Add all ingredients to a blender and flash-blend for 5 seconds with 1 cup of crushed ice. Pour into a Tiki mug. Garnish with a mini pineapple and a flower.
To make banana syrup: Add 2:1 amount of sugar to water, I used a light brown muscovado sugar. Add to a pan and heat up and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then add one banana that you mash a bit with a fork, cook the syrup a little bit for about a minute on medium heat. Take off the heat and let sit for an hour, then strain and bottle. I used 1 banana for about 1 cup of syrup.
I had a taste tester to help me give feedback on the drinks and his reaction to this drink was that “it tastes very exotic, the drink has layers and layers of flavor coming up and there`s something there I cannot really put my finger on… yeah, it´s exotic.”
1.5 oz Clairin Sajous Haitian rhum
0.25 oz Tiki Lovers Pineapple rum
0.25 oz Green Chartreuse
0.5 oz Banana/Lemon Oleo Saccharum
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
Top with a little bit of Ting
Flash-blend with 1 cup crushed ice and pour into a double old fashioned glass. Top with a little bit of Ting (Jamaican grapefruit beverage) and garnish with pineapple chunks, lime slices and cinnamon dust on top.
For the Banana – Lemon Oleo Saccharum, there are plenty of recipes online. I used 1.5 oz superfine sugar per peeled lemon and banana. Cut the banana peels in smaller pieces.
My taste tester friend`s reaction to this drink was first a big smile on his face 🙂 then “yeah I like it, I like it a lot” – it reminds me of a vacation to a special place, when we used to be sitting at the beach at sunset.
Glassware: Kahiko, designed by Daniele Dalla Pola for Libbey.
Tiki Lover`s Rum also have made a booklet called “Tiki Lovers Rum Camp” together with some very talented people. The booklet contains information about their rums, then there´s 27 “rum rhapsodies” recipes, aka “Exotic/Tiki Cocktails” both classic and new, with GORGEOUS garnish works and photography!
The Tiki Lovers brand is created band produced y Stephan Berg and Alexander Hauck. As well as the layout and design of the book, together with Jochen Hirschfeld, who also did the art direction and gorgeous photography. The illustrations were made by Anthony Carpenter, Tanja Hirschfeld and Rudi Skukalek, and the Tiki charts were made by Sven Kirsten.
They also made a collaboration with Sven Kirsten who made a chart called the “Circle of Tiki” which is a guide showing which elements make a bar a Tiki bar, using the Tiki figure as its main element. Around this main element, are supporting ideas circling around the main focus, the Tiki. The supporting ideas are up to personal preference, some like the rockabilly stuff, while others like the monsters and etc. You need to see the chart to fully get this!
One thing though, when I say “it´s up to personal preference” I don`t mean that with Tiki, anything goes! it doesn`t. The circling elements need of course to have a connection to the Tiki culture and what those circling elements are is written in the chart.
There´s also a simplified version of the “The Evolution of Polynesian pop” chart which was first put into the Book of Tiki which was published in the year 2000.
The Tiki Camp booklet can be downloaded on Tiki Lovers website but the pdf version lacks the “Circle of Tiki” and the “The Evolution of Polynesian pop” charts. The Circle of Tiki can be found on the webpage though. The booklet was part of a Tiki Tour in California called The Californian “Van Hagen Punch” Tour visiting various Tiki bars during november. How I wish I could live in a country where things like that happens! but i`m really glad to have this Tiki booklet.
Two posts in one … the Nu Lounge Bar Tiki XMas Tribute to the Mai Kai party and a sumptuous tasty tropical rum dessert recipe.
I think it doesn`t matter when or where… we always need a decadent dessert every now and then to add some sweetness and spice to life … and when they are spiked with rum it´s even better!
Here`s a tropical tiki style dessert, using the amazing Alamea Spiced Rum and Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur created by Daniele Dalla Pola, owner of the Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna, which btw on december 18th threw THE party of the year, the Tiki Xmas Tribute to the Mai Kai at the bar with guest bartenders, seminars, tiki market, live tiki carving, Polynesian buffet, tiki drinks and show at the bar, plus a live rockabilly band, the Lucky Strike, playing all night, and a tattoo artist doing alamea tattoos and a very lovely aloha vibe all around the place for almost 12 hours straight! I have added a few pics and videos after the dessert.
I was actually supposed to make this dessert for the Polynesian buffet but then it turned out not practically possible so instead I present it here so you can make it at home and you should because it´s that good…
Aloha Coconut Ice Cream with Alamea Hawaiian Coffee & Spiced Rum Pineapple!
For 3 servings, you need:
1/2 pineapple cut in 2 quarters, one with leaves still attached.
1L coconut ice cream
¼ cup (1,25 dl) demerara sugar
2 oz (60ml) Alamea spiced rum
0.5 oz (15 ml) Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur
Tropical orchids for garnish.
Cut up the pineapple in 2 pieces and save one for garnish with the leaves still attached. Peel the other pieces and slice them in ½ inch slices (1.2 cm) and set aside.
Pour demerara sugar in a nonstick pan on high heat and make sure to coat the entire base with sugar and place the pineapple slices on top of the sugar in one layer filling the pan. Cook and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes or until caramelized.
Add Alamea spiced rum and Hawaiian coffee liqueur and cook for another 2 minutes or until it`s brownish and syrupy. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Place coconut ice cream on a serving plate, just a little bit ahead of time so it becomes a little bit soft. Garnish with the quartered pineapple and tropical orchids at the base of the ice cream. Pour the rum sauce on top.
This is a variation of a dessert I saw somewhere and turning it tiki style! it fits any tiki or tropical party or any other occasion or just no occasion at all, it`s simply delicious! and ridiculously easy to make. The only thing to pay attention to really, is to let the sauce cool down to room temp before pouring and to not take out the ice cream too early, but at the same time allow it to become just a little bit softened.
The Alamea exotic infusions are available at various places in Europe, and soon in the US and an online source is in the works. I will post more info when I know.
Nu Lounge Bar and the Tiki Xmas Tribute to the Mai Kai Party
Nu Lounge Bar is amazing, ecclectic and one of those tiki bars so full of things everywhere that you never get tired of looking. And the drinks … they are great, the menu fun and variable (and beautiful) the bartenders excellent and the aloha vibe is embracing you like a soft Hawaiian breeze…
There`s a restaurant there too and you can eat both outside and in the bar and Italian food does not suck … personally I`m a huge pasta lover but there`s so much more. But the last thing I had there the day after the party was an amazing lasagna al forno with a Nu Painkiller! not a bad combo.
Before the party we had a tasty fusilli pasta dish for lunch with a lovely tomato sauce served in a huge pot, very typically italian and with tiki drinks to wash it down of course … or was it rums shots? and during the party there was a Polynesian luau style buffet with all kind of tasty things. You can say that both the”food-me” and “drink-me” was very happy! but it was so much more than just food and drink, the ambiance was fantastic, the seminars interesting, the Lucky Strike band great, the tiki market beautiful with plenty of mugs from Maka Tiki (mostly)and wood carvings from Tiki Matt and Tiki Sam.
Here`s a few photos and videos of the fun, not the best of quality but hey I wasn`t there as a professional photographer … I was there to meet friends, party and visit the Nu Lounge Bar!
It´s a Zombie…
The topic of this party, Tribute to the Mai Kai.
Tiki Diablo Mai Kai Mug 2017. This mug is based on the Barney West tiki, one of the tikis in the Mai Kai garden. Amazing mug!
The tribute drinks.
The man behind the party … Daniele Dalla Pola, owner of the Nu Lounge Bar and Tiki King is on his throne, so the party can start!
But before that, our lunch…
And of course, espresso!
Then tiki drinks… this is Kama` Aina`, a mix of Plantation OFTD, tropical juices and spices.
Don the Beachcomber is watching over us.
And the rums…
Cool tiki mugs on the shelves in the bar.
From another era…
The King of fruits!
Seminars, here with Oriol Elias talking about tiki in his “Expanding the tiki flavors palette” and Clementine Guillot presenting Rhum Damoiseau. There was also a Masterclass called “Banks: il Rum di nuova generazione” by Daniele “James” Pons, sponsored by Bacardi, but I didn`t see it because it was in italian and I wouldn`t have understood much 🙂
After the seminars, the tiki market started. Mugs from Maka Tiki and wood carvings from Tiki Matt and Tiki Sam.
Mugs and decanters from Maka Tiki. http://makaproject.altervista.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/MakaTikiProject/ and http://www.makatiki.it/
Carvings by Matteo Cappellozza aka Tiki Matt, https://www.facebook.com/Tiki-Matt-1198157160275432/ and Instagram – @tiki_matt_
Moai by Tiki Matt and it`s mine… 🙂 (happy happy)
And tiki carving by Samuele de Vietro aka Tiki Sam, https://www.instagram.com/the_tiki_sam/?hl=en
I bought this cool little tiki while Oriol scored the one and only pineapple jigger…
Bad mobile pic… the pineapple jigger on the left side, how cool is that!?
More drinks! this one in a Re`al mug designed for Daniele Dalla Pola by Baï Tiki ( http://bybai1.wixsite.com/artbybai )
The Last Fang with edible cinnamon straw… I get really happy when I get these kinda drinks in my hand! rummy, fruity, spicy, rich and big! (by Oriol Elias)
And here´s the recipe.
And the man behind it, Oriol Elias, www.threeofstrong.com
And the oh so tasty Elixir Tropical…
Created by Maurizio la Spina. It was so tasty I ordered more than one… This amazing cocktail was in the Bacardi Legacy Competition.
The Nu Mai Tai with passion fruit…
Happy bartenders 🙂
And the rockabilly band Lucky Strike kept playing all night…
Me getting the alamea tattoo, both a memory and a hommage.
One of the things I like about this place… among all the tiki stuff you see a deer horn? 🙂
And some videos…
What a party! they say this was the party of the year and I agree on that, it was amazing.
When I first heard about the Meermaid rum I got quite curious, “Meermaid rum” what on earth is that? then I saw some pictures posted and they picked my interest especially since I also read positive thoughts about it written by trustworthy people. Being an infused (or spiced) rum you tend you get a bit suspicious…..too many spiced rums are way too sweet….
But not this one! in fact there is no sugar or artificial additives at all – or as the label says on the back of the bottle – “17 real fruits & spices macerated in a blend of Jamaica/Trinidad rums. No sugar, artificial flavors or nonsense added” – Bravo! that elevated my hope! btw I like how they say “nonsense” ……..
Meermaid rum comes in two expressions, and they come in some really cool stoneware bottles – a 70ml 40% infused rum and then an overproof version of the same rum at 62% in a 500ml bottle, also stone, which is really cool. The one thing I feel could be improved is the wooden cork because it doesn`t hold very tight… I wouldn`t try to bring an opened bottle with me if I was going somewhere and that`s a pity. So a better tighter cork is needed!
What this rum is – is interesting, and with an overproof version of the same rum it opens up for some tiki fun and rum pairings!
Something to note – Meermaid rum is not to be mixed up with the “Mermaid rum” from Florida, the “Meermaid” rum is infused and bottled in Berlin, Germany.
Meermaid rum began with a passion to learn how to produce flavored rum…the thought is to preserve the actual rum flavor and with the 16 all natural ingredients like fruits, dried fruits and spices they add, just enhance the flavor. The rum is recommended for use in tiki cocktails (yay here I come…) or ginger beer or ginger ale, or on the rocks.
Recommended is also pineapple…..did they say pineapple? now this really talks to me!
Meermaid Infused Rum – Conceived in a long gone Tiki Bar….
And it got even more interesting when I learnt that Stefan Waltz, the maker of this infused rum, once set up a tiki bar on a boat….and later used to be the co-owner of the since now long gone tiki bar in Berlin called “Tabou Tiki Room“….
Where he had a mermaid painted on the door to the Ladies Room, which later on also became the design picture for the Meermaid rum, a name that he first discovered on a cup from the 60s where there was a recipe for a cocktail called “Meermaid”…I love when I stumble upon interesting things like this while researching for writing a rum post…that*s how it comes that I sometimes sit up all night…
The Tabou Tiki Room was inspired by Stefan`s visits to Trader Vic in London and Munich, and the Mai Kai and Tonga Room in America and the idea of escape from the outside world that real tiki bars is all about.
Here is the history of this infused rum as told on the website by Stefan Waltz:
I used to be the co-owner of the “Tabou Tiki Room”. An infamous tiki bar, and first of its kind, in Berlin, Germany. The place is long gone now, but it was there that the dream to produce my own infused rum was born.
“Tabou” was a bar that focused on the almost forgotten, rum based cocktails of the old days served in authentic tiki mugs, and an assortment of sipping rums fifty strong. I had the pleasure of acquiring these rums from around the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are fine spiced rums out there nowadays, but I want to show that it is possible to produce handcrafted infused rum at a reasonable price, while maintaining a far superior quality to the industry standard.
I began by trying several recipes using quality rum with an assortment of exotic spices and various types of fruit infusions. After several months of experimenting, analyzing, and taste-testing I concocted several unique possibilities, but felt that something crucial was missing. In the end, it was my girlfriend who suggested the last, key ingredient and I knew that we had crafted something special. Two weeks and several business meetings later, I had found a way to make naturally infused rum in small batches.
As you can imagine, it being in charge of searching and was a fun and exciting job. However, back in 2004 I just could not find a brand of spiced rum that met with my high standards. What I found was mass produced liquor, flavored with artificial vanilla to cover up the taste of what was quite obviously mediocre rum. It was through this search that the idea to make my own bottled rum began to form.
Quite interesting story isn`t it? And now he finally has his infused rum which btw is excellent!
Here`s my thoughts on the flavor:
Meermaid Infused Rum:
The color is lightly straw and when I swirl the rum in the glass, legs are quickly formed on the sides. The nose is very pleasant with a lot of citrus fruitiness, some herbs and a bit of spices with a very slight hint of rum in the background.
The nose is very mild yet has a lot of flavor notes in it.
The taste is spicy and herbal with he rum resting discreetly in the background, it´s mild and balanced and has an interesting flavor which is complex. It also has a pronounced fruitiness. It`s more mild and balanced than I expected and there`s no “overly sweetness” or “too much vanilla” in it, there´s a clear hint of cinnamon but there`s nothing that takes over.
There`s also something else there I cannot put my finger on…cherry?
There’s fruity orange and a bit of woody spicy aftertaste with hints of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, herbs…and the finish is medium long. It`s definetily one of the better spiced rums and this one distinguishes itself from the rest in that it`s a bit different.
Meermaid Overproof Infused Rum:
The overproof version has a naturally sharper nose with creamy fruitness in it, light on the spice and little bit herbal. I really like this creamy fruitness, it`s an intoxicating scent.
The flavor is also very fruity and herbal, even a little bit floral with a touch of woody spices like cinnamon and clove. It`s mild enough to sip, the alcohol doesn`t kill you. In all I would say that both these rums are well balanced and mild enough to not overpower anything which so many other spiced rums does.
They can be both sipped and mixed! and yes they are right, it really pairs well with pineapple!
Pretty cool labels, with a skeleton mermaid on the overproof…
Wim Thielemans from Flap`s Tikis made a special tiki mug for Meermaid rum – is it the captain with a mermaid tail? or is it a tiki face? a really cool mug!
Ok and now it`s time for the drinks! i`m in the mood for pineapple, rum, lime and coconut! so it´s a lot of fresh pineapple juice and tiki drinks…
First drink is a pineapple bowl…a mix of fresh pineapple and lime juices, orgeat and three rums to make it strong plus dashes of Angostura and Zulu bitters to make it nice! the whole awesomeness is served in a scooped out pineapple garnished with pineapple leaves, lime wheels and tropical flowers.
I wish I had one of those little plastic cocktail garnish mermaids to add to the bowl….she could swim around there in all the rum…
Meermaid Pineapple Bowl
2 oz/60ml fresh pineapple juice
1 oz/30ml fresh lime juice
0.75 oz/22.5ml orgeat
1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
0.5 oz/15ml Meermaid overproof rum
1 oz/30ml demerara rum
A couple dashes of Angostura and Zulu* Aromatic bitters
Blend in blender with 1 cup crushed ice for 5 sec, then pour into a scooped out pineapple (or glass/tiki mug) and fill up wityh more crushed ice and garnish.
This drink is very refreshing!
*The Zulu bitters are hard to get outside of Brazil where they are made from local ingredients in the rainforest, ( try e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ) – Otherwise using Angostura is just fine!
The next drink….looks very innocent but it is not!
2 oz /60ml fresh pineapple juice
2 oz/60 ml fresh orange juice
1 oz/30ml Coco Real or Lopez cream of coconut
0.25 oz/7.5ml cold brewed coffee
1 oz/30ml fresh lime juice
1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
1 oz/30ml aged Jamaican rum
Blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with 1 cup of crushed iced and pour into a large snifter.
Mermaid Ginger Cooler
In a rocks glass with large pieces of cracked ice, add:
1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
A little squeeze of fresh lime
Top up with ice cold ginger beer and stir
Garnish with fresh mint and lime
It packs a bit of a punch!
Grande Pina Colada
2 oz/60ml fresh pineapple juice
1 oz/30ml Coco Real or Coco Lopez
2 oz/60ml roasted coconut water
1 oz/30ml fresh lime
1 oz/30ml Jamaican rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
A couple dashes of Angostura bitters
Blend in blender at high speed for 6 sec with a cup (2.5dl) cracked ice)
Pour into a goblet or pineapple filled with cracked ice.
Add a generous float of black strap rum
2 oz/60ml Guanabana (soursop) juice
0.75 oz/22.5ml fresh lime juice
0.5oz/15ml macadamia nut syrup
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
2 oz/60ml Santeria rum or a dark Jamaican rum
Flash blend in blender with 1 cup of crushed ice for 5 sec, pour into a tall glass and fill up with more crushed ice.
Garnish: wrap the glass in banana leaf and tropical orchid.
Overall I think for this infused rum, it´s a work well done! The Meermaid rum is for those who appreciate quality handmade flavored spirits – if you want your own bottle of Meermaid you can order it here. ( I do not know if they ship outside of Europe) And if you are going to the German Rum Festival in october (15-16) you can also find it there!
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!
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:
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…..
This is such a tranquil and peaceful place….if staying at this hotel you get both all this plus the Latitude29 in one place…..
Eat Drink and be Merry!
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!
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.
Shrimps in Blanket
These green beans were amazing…..
An array of seductive tropical tiki drinks…..
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.
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!
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.
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….
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.
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.
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!
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 🙂
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 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.
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…..
Fruity, spicy, rummy Lapu Lapu and little mermaids swimming in the bowl….
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?
The Interior Decor…..
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?
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….
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
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.