If you`re into tiki and exotic cocktails you might already be familiar with the Tiki Cocktail Challenge by “El Nova” (@el_nova55 and @tikicommando (Tacoma Cabana & Devil`s Reef) on instagram) which are weekly challenges to re-create or make a twist of, or go to a bar and order, a specific tiki cocktail and then post up a nice picture of it. The best picture wins. It`s all for fun and challenge your creative mode. It was a while ago (2015) but the Tiki cocktail challenge is back again and in full swing!
The pictures and recipes are posted in the “Tiki Recipes” group on Facebook and on Instagram with the hashtag that is set for each specific challenge for example #demeraradryfloatchallenge2019″ etc.
We are three weeks into it already and I made these drinks so far, my first entry, was for the “151 Swizzle” Challenge:
151 Tribute Swizzle Number Five
The recipe is based on the “Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s 151 Swizzle”v.4 by The Atomic Grog, my favorite tiki blog on this planet! but the grenadine is switched out for fassionola (homemade) and the ratios are upped as well while the sugar syrup is omitted. Then 0.5 oz Batavia arrack is added for a subtle layer of extra funk.
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fassionola (BG Reynold`s, homemade or other quality fassionola)
0.25 oz falernum
0.25 oz cinnamon syrup
1 oz Lemon Hart 151 overproof rum
1 oz Dr Bird jamaican rum
0.5 oz Batavia arrack (By the Dutch or Batavia Arrack van Oosten)
1 dash Angostura bitters
2 drops Absinthe
Pulse blend with 1 cup of crushed ice for 5 seconds and pour into a chilled metal swizzle cup, other swizzle glass or pilsner glass, adding more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
My 2nd entry was for the “Beachcomber`s Gold” Challenge, I changed the recipe a bit and it became a darker more “secretive” take on the gold.
1 oz Coruba Dark
1/4 oz Lemon Hart 151
1/4 oz Barbancourt 8
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz demerara syrup
1/4 oz Hibiscus grenadine
6 drops Pernod or Absinthe
2 drops almond extract
2 oz (1/4 cup) crushed ice
Flash blend for 5 seconds and strain into a saucer glass lined
with an ice shell forming a hood over the glass. Serve with short straws.
2.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1.5 oz passion fruit syrup
0.25 oz sugar syrup
1 oz Demerara rum
0.25 oz 151 Demerara rum
0.25 oz maraschino liqueur
Shake everything, except 151 rum, with ice cubes. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice (or lined with an ice shell). Carefully float 151. Do not stir.
By Don the Beachcomber, circa 1941.
The ice shell creation in the “Demerara Dry Float” is a bit different from the one in “Beachcomber´s Secret, with an ice shell that is not tilted to created a “hood” over the drink. It just sits upright and is also a little bit smaller or lower than the classic tilted ice shell you can see in the “Beachcomber`s Gold”. Drinks with these types of ice shells are usually served in a flaired glass,
In the old days of Don the Beachcomber these ice shells was a marvel to behold. They were made to perfection with very finely shaved ice creating very thin “walls” and the walls were not “buckled” in the way you see them today with crushed ice, instead they were smooth like silk! at least that`s what I`ve seen in a video.
I have yet to accomplish an ice shell that look that way, that`s partly due to me not having an ice shaver and partly that a lot of training is needed. It`s not easy to get them to look so perfect. When you make a hooded ice shell you need to consider the temperature of the ice. it need to be a little “soft”to easily mold, but not too soft and melting. Then it need to be as fine as you can get it.
You need a flaired glass and you fill it up with the shaved (preferably, and if not, crushed) ice and with your hands (or with something round) form a hole in the bottom that you press with your fingers and slowly tilt upwards on the side of the glass until a hood is formed. Add a little more ice to the bottom to”hold” the hood.
Then you put the glass in the freezer for at least 1 hour before pouring the drink in it. When you make the non-hooded ice shell you just make the hole in the bottom pressing the ice upwards on all sides around the glass and put it in the freezer and that´s it.
That was all for now, if you want to join in on the challenge or check out all the other amazing drinks go to the Facebook group “Tiki Recipes” and also check out the hashtags #151swizzlechallenge2019″, “beachcombersgoldchallenge2019” and “demeraradryfloatchallenge2019” on Instagram.
It was a very long time ago I wrote about gin even though i`ve used it here and there in my tiki cocktails but it`s rare, so it´s time for some tiki libations again that contains gin….and the gin I pick for this post is Martin Miller`s.
When i first tasted Martin Miller´s gin years ago I found it had a special flavor and I really like it, it has a smooth and a bit earthy-bitter juniper flavour paired with an overall pleasant spicinress and slightly bright citrus and herbal flavours in between.
This is the gin that uses pure soft glacier water from Iceland because this water is said to be cleaner, softer and full of life force. I find that pretty amazing that they actually ship the gin all the way to Iceland! There its blended with more neutral spirit and glacier water, then its shipped away again. There´s no doubt that this is very soft clean water.
As for steeping the herbs and spices the old traditional methods are used where the botanicals are steeped overnight in spirit and hot water and this gentle maceration is what is needed to create a premium gin.The dried citrus peels are also separately distilled in order to achieve a brighter citrus flavour.
The dried bitter seville orange rind is the most important botanical after juniper in gin making and personally I love the bright seville orange flavour – it has such a refreshing aromatic aroma.In Martin Miller`s gin lemon and lime rinds are also used.
These are the botanicals used as far as i know, surely there are some secrets too…
Juniper, seville orange, lime, lemon, coriander, angelica, liqorice root, cassia bark and to bind it all together and impart a floral aromatic flavour – Florentine iris.
The alcohol must be re-distilled and made from grains of the highest quality, there´s a lot of herbs, spices, roots and citrus peels involved which are picked from all over the globe and individually treated. The distillation is a whole process of its own. Martin Miller`s gin is distilled by a single pot still (as opposed to most gin`s using three pots) using only the heart of the distillate.This single pot still is called Angela and was made in 1904.
What I`m using here is Martin Miller`s traditional gin (40%) and the Westbourne Strength (45.2%) I like their freshness and that`s also why it´s one of my favorite gins, goes well in tiki drinks together with other rums and mixers.
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup
0.25 oz falernum
0.25 oz orgeat
1 1/4 oz Martin Miller`s gin
Float Rational Spirits 141 Cuban or other good floating rum!
Put it all in a blender and blend until smooth with 8 oz crushed ice, pour unstrained into a suitable glass and fill up with more crushed ice if needed (originally it was a pilsner or other tall glass but I used a snifter….bec I love them! This is a take on the Saturn found in Jeff Berry`s Total Tiki App, the original drink was made by J “Popo” Galsini in 1967 and awarded Popo at that year`s IBA World Cocktail Championship in Majorca.
Pololu Nui – a little potent mix of Martin Miller`s Westbourne Strength Gin, Jamaican and overproof rums, fresh pineapple, Creme de Cacao, Coco Real and Curacao… spiced up with a heap of fragrant ground cinnamon….served in Jeff Berry`s Latitude 29 Coco mug! And while Ku from the Floating Rum Shack carrying a pineapple on his head is laughing i`m drinking!
The original Pololu was made by Dr Bamboo and was a take on the good ole Painkiller…The name Pololu Nui means “the big Pololu” in this case “big in proof” with Martin Miller`s Westbourne strength gin and the overproof rum float combo.
2 oz Martin Miller`s Westbourne Strength Gin
1 oz Appleton Extra Jamaican rum
2 oz fresh pineapple juice
0.5 oz Ferrand Dry Curacao
0.5 oz Creme de cacao
0.5 oz Coco Real Cream of Coconut or Lopez
1.25 oz fresh lime juice
Hamilton 151 rum to float
Shake everything except cinnamon with ice and strain into a glass or tiki mug.
Add a generous float Hamilton 151 on top and dust with a heap of cinnamon powder and garnish with something tropical.
Mixology Monday lives on…..this is the 107th MxMo! This cult event is still going strong…since 2006 when it was first created by Paul Clarke, publisher of The Cocktail Chronicles, who ran the event for 6 years, and now as of August 2012, Frederic Yarm, one of the authors of the Cocktail Virgin blog, has taken over as moderator.
The theme is overproof and how you use overproof spirits whether it be as floats or as base spirit or something to flame up a cocktail with etc. This MxMo is hosted by Dagreb over at the Nihil Utopia blog.
I started to bring out anything I had that was above 50% since that`s the proof mentioned as criteria for what`s considered overproof in this MxMo event. I got quite a few overproof rums, I use them both as part of the drinks, as floats or as fuel for flaming drinks, that´s what I use my Stroh for…
A little about proof
The word overproof means “Containing a greater proportion of alcohol than proof spirit”
The term “proof” dates back to 16th century England, when spirits were taxed at different rates depending on their alcohol content. Spirits were tested by soaking a pellet of gunpowder in them. If the gunpowder could still burn, the spirits were rated above proof and taxed at a higher rate. Gunpowder would not burn in rum that contained less than 57.15% ABV.The gunpowder test was officially replaced by a specific-gravity test in 1816. The proof system in the United States was established around 1848 and was based on percent alcohol rather than specific gravity. 50% alcohol was defined as 100 proof.
So that`s what we are playing with, overproof spirits! in my case it gonna be overproof rum…
The first overproof rum I`m picking from my collection is Rivers Royale Rum from the River Antoine distillery, a very interesting rum from Grenada which is made in the a very old fashioned way, actually the River Antoine Estate distillery is unique on this planet and that´s what makes it so special.
They have produced their legendary high proof Rivers Rum since 1785 with unchanged age-old techniques and their antique equipment is still used today! for example their two potstills are both heated using locally cut hardwood and parts of the distillery´s machinery are over 200 years old…The crushing mill dates back to 1945 and is powered by water from the river.
And the the rum? – I just got a whooooole load of funky slightly grassy flavors in my mouth….Rivers rum…painstakingly handmade with ancient methods from fermented sugarcane syrup – a very special rum indeed. The flavor reminds about the more well known JWray overproof but more balanced and subtle. So it lends itself well in citrusy cocktails.
The one I have is the ” lower strength, export” version (69%) and there´s also one at 75% and yes there´s supposed to be even stronger local versions too…so strong it cannot be exported. The label of the 75% version is funny, it says “slightly overproof rum” 🙂 This rum is hard to come by…you can sub it with RumFire or JWray overproof, but the RumFire is closer to this.
I was thinking of Rivers and Ting, but right now I can`t find Ting anywhere so I settle for a daquiri instead, which is equally good!
Rivers Royale Rum Daquiri
1.5 oz Rivers Royale rum (or RumFire)
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz cane syrup
That´s a nice starter! the rum is so smooth despite being overproof and this drink went down too easy….
Now let´s move on to tiki….
There´s a drink called the “Tasman Sea” in Remixed, it´s the Bum`s version of an old drink called the “Lady Love” which was served at various bars in Oahu in the late 60s. The Bums version uses 151 Lemon Hart. But the drink also uses another 151 proof Caribbean rum (of your choice) so I thought this drink would fit into this post.
1 oz fresh lime juice
0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
0.25 oz orange curacao
1 oz demerara sugar syrup
1 oz amber 151 proof Caribbean rum (such as Cruzan or Bacardi, I used JackIron)
0.5 oz Lemon Hart 151
10 ounces crushed ice
Put everything in a blender and blend for up to 10 sec.
Pour unstrained into a large snifter or tiki mug.
Next up is a version of Martin Cate´s 2070 Swizzle called the 2070 Swizzle Redux made by Tim “Swanky” Glazner. The cool thing about the Redux version is that is uses coffee….and I really do love tiki drinks with coffee!
1 oz Angostura 1919 or other quality Gold Rum
1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151
1/2 oz Smith & Cross
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Infused Simple Syrup (If you use Trader Tiki/BG Reynold’s, you may need to cut it back. His syrup is extremely strong. Cut it in half)
1/2 oz Honey Mix
1/2 oz Strong Kona coffee (chilled of course)
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
4 drops Pernod
2 dash Angostura bitters
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg on top
Cinnamon Stick swizzle
Here is instructions from Swanky that i found on the Tiki Central:
Use about 1/2 cup crushed ice, flash blended for a few seconds. Lately I prefer to put everything in the blender but ice, set it to the lowest setting, on mine it is “Stir” and get all the ingredients mixed. Then I add the ice and hit it on high. I zap it for a second, let it stop and repeat. Do that maybe 3 or 4 times. Pour into the proper glass (collins/zombie, or the classic aluminum ones) and add ice to fill. Grate some fresh nutmeg on top. Add cinnamon stick as swizzle.
FIBAR is the biggest bar Show in Spain and was held in Valladolid in a pretty cool building that looks like a giant football, the Cúpula del Milenio on november 17-19.
The first ever European Tiki Experience took place there on the tuesday nov 17th and it was for that I was invited to do a seminar about the history of tiki together with Oriol Elias from the Rum and Tiki blog Three of Strong. We made a seminar called “Paradise Lost, the Roots of Tiki” where we covered the history and roots of the American Polynesian Pop culture with all it´s past and present bars and bartenders, carvers, artists, writers, musics and what the tiki culture is all about.
We also raised a toast with Chief Lapu Lapus to Jeff Beachbum Berry in appreciation of all that he did to uncover the lost recipes and all the books he wrote containing history and recipes for a lifetime! because without him we wouldn`t have all these recipes resurrected today.
And he toasted us back….in a video he made back in New Orleans 🙂
The other speakers in the Tiki Experience were Sly Augustin, owner of the Tiki bar Trailer Happiness in London who made a seminar called “The Future of Tiki”, and Miguel and David Perez also know as the two “Brothers in Tiki” were talking about tiki bar and tiki products.
Thanos Prunarus, owner of the famous Baba au Rum bar in Athens did a seminar about the Anatomy of Tiki Drinks and Miguel Escobedo, (Kona Lei) did a seminar called “Tiki-Orama:50 years of Cocktails and Iberian Tiki”
Among the guest bartenders were Guillermo Uriel, bartender at Mahiki in London.
Pavon tiki mugs was also for sale and I was happy to be able to grab a few….they have some that are really cool like the big bamboo and the pineapple mugs, they also have a swimming vahine bowl that is pretty cool and another with a smiling tiki that looks very happy and drunk 🙂
One thing that I learnt at the Tiki Experience is that Tiki in Europe is most likely going to become bigger and bigger but be formed in it´s on fashion and inventiveness – but without losing connection with the traditions. I see a very exciting future for both rums and tiki in Europe…
A very interesting seminar that I attended was Luca Picchis seminar about the Negroni cocktail where he also presented his book “Negroni Cocktail an Italian Legend” which I also bought a copy of and I would recommend anyone who`s a lover of cocktails to get a copy, it´s a masterpiece.
Every night after FIBAR there was a party and good food to have…the bar to go to was El Nino Perdido, great cocktails and nice atmosphere! Bar manager at El Nino Perdido is Juan Valls, also the organizer of FIBAR Valladolid.
There were a lot more things happening at FIBAR but we had only one day of the three so the other things that happened at FIBAR I cannot write about…..but i`m very happy to been able to be there, it was a great experience and I met so many nice people both new and old friends and I hope I can be back again the next year!
Here is as usual when I go to these kind of events, a picture parade….because pictures speak more…
Cúpula del Milenio
Beautiful Daquiris like these…
Paired with Spanish croquetas…
Siderit Hibiscus Gin, made in northern Spain and very tasty.
….made a very refreshing gin and tonic.
Hendrick`s Gin booth, give him a drink….
Luca Picchi (Head bartender in Coffee Rivoire of Florence and author of the book Negroni Cocktail) made a great seminar about the Negroni – The history of the Negroni cocktail and the Italian appetizer !
(pic credit FIBAR)
FAIR Rum from Belize!
And Puerto Rican Don Q
Mezcal goodness and burnt cinnamon stick – yummy…
Plantation rums! and of course the famous Stiggin´s Fancy….probably the tastiest pineapple rum I have ever tasted.
Big pineapple tiki mug from Pavon.
And a swimming vahine.
Aloha shirt and rums….
Oriol at our seminar “Paradise Lost, the Roots of Tiki”
And now we`re entering the realm of tiki…
Three of Strong and A Mountain of Crushed Ice taking it through the history of tiki to show where it came from and that tiki is so much more than just the drinks, which btw were some of the world´s first crafted farm to glass cocktails – in tropical costume.
While Miguel Escobedo (Kona Lei, Madrid) made a seminar called – Tiki-Orama:50 years of cocktails and Iberian Tiki, and Thanos Prunarus (Baba au Rum) spoke about the anatomy of The Anatomy of Tiki Drinks and of course his world famous rum bar, Baba au Rum (pic credit FIBAR)
Guest bartending was Guillermo Uriel, bartender at Mahiki in London. (pic credit FIBAR)
The Tiki Experience was created by Miguel Pérez Muñoz and David Perez, also known as the “Brothers in Tiki” (pic credit FIBAR) who also did a seminar about tiki bar and tiki products.
Three Dots and a dash, one of my fav tiki cocktails
There were so much more than what these pictures have shown and we were there only one of three days! try to go and visit the FIBAR in 2016!
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Named “one of the instigators of the cocktail revolution” by Esquire’s David Wondrich, and one of Imbibe Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Cocktail Personalities of the Past Century,” Jeff “Beachbum” Berry is the author of six books on vintage Tiki drinks and cuisine, including the recently published Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them (Cocktail Kingdom, October 2014; $27.95).
As a natural progression from this position of authority, Beachbum Berry has teamed up with Cocktail Kingdom, the premier barware producer and cocktail book publisher, to create the Beachbum Berry line of glassware and tools designed specifically for the Tiki enthusiast, which will be available starting late Monday, May 18, at www.CocktailKingdom.com.
Drawing on Tiki’s long history, Beachbum Berry and Cocktail Kingdom combined their talents to recreate items that were once essential items at the best Tiki bars and restaurants across the U.S.
Pearl Diver Glass
Named for the Pearl Diver cocktail, this uniquely shaped glass held many exotic drinks in its heyday of the mid-20th century – including the Planter’s Punch at Don the Beachcomber’s in Hollywood, the Sumatra Sam at Doc’s Place in Toronto, and the Deep Sea Diver at Mai-Kai in Ft. Lauderdale. By the 1970s, however, the distinctive but delicate glass had all but disappeared making them very rare, highly prized collector’s items.
Excellent for any tall drink, the Beachbum Berry Pearl Diver Glass from Cocktail Kingdom is an exact replica of the original exotic design.
Pack of 4 ($36.95), case of 24 ($179.00)
The long-lost Swizzle Cup came to fame in the 1940s at the hands of Don the Beachcomber, the father of the Tiki bar and the Tiki drink, who served up wildly popular faux-Polynesian concoctions, most of which had Caribbean roots. Among them were Swizzles, based on a West Indian technique of churning drinks with a spoked twig that had been whittled into a “swizzle stick.”
By the 1950s, the sleek metal Swizzle Cups frothed with exotic cocktails, but were expensive to make (and replace when customers absconded with them); by the 1980s they had disappeared from Tiki bars and been replaced with standard Collins glasses.
Cocktail Kingdom’s Swizzle Cup is an updated version of the original bespoke vessel – sleeker and made of lighter-weight stainless steel, perfect for any julep, cobbler, swizzle or other long drink.
Skull Bar Spoon
Tiki drinks didn’t just cater to 1950s suburban fantasies of a work-free island paradise; there was also the call of adventure, epitomized by such classic Tiki cocktails as “Skull & Bones,” “Shrunken Skull” and “Cannibal Grog,” drawn from pirate history and headhunter lore. To help you mix such South Seas concoctions, Cocktail Kingdom and Beachbum Berry created the Skull Bar Spoon for that touch of deserted island vibe.
The new Beachbum Berry Tiki items join Cocktail Kingdom’s other Tiki tools, including the Navy Grog Cone ($17.95), which was first created by Don the Beachcomber for the purpose of forming his signature ice-cone garnish in faux-Polynesian punches.
Tiki’s history and extensive array of cocktails can be explored further in Beachbum Berry’s book, Potions of the Caribbean, which is available at www.CocktailKingdom along with the new Tiki tools and glassware, all of which can be shipped nationally and internationally; shipping rates apply.
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That`s such amazing and good news!! I for one have been wanting that Pearl Divers glass and Swizzle cup or years! I`m glad they are re-creating them! and that nifty skull bar spoon is a must as well 🙂
Thank you Jeff Berry and Cocktail Kingdom now we can sip our Pearl Diver`s Punches and other drinks and Rum Swizzles in style! now go get it! I know I will….
Images courtesy of Jeff Berry and Cocktail Kingdom
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:
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.
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.
You are obviously obsessed with fire….and are quite the fire artist with flaming tiki drinks, how did that happen?
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.
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.
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.
You use almost only rum at your bar, why? and which rums do you prefer the most?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!!!
“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”
A Cabana Fogcutter…with Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum.
Here´s a whole load of Cabana Rum Barrels! aren`t they pretty?
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!
And a Flaming Rum Bowl for two…
“If it’s not on fire and Overproof, then why are you drinking it?” 🙂
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!
Pinch of black lava salt
4 dashes black strap bitters
12 drops absinthe
1oz Donns mix
1oz passion fruit juice
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
Pearl Diver`s PunchBowl for Two…
Pearl Divers Punch Bowl! Lime, orange, pearl mix, falernum and rums.
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…”
“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…. 🙂
Pieces of Eight…with eight pieces of pineapple hearts…brilliant!
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!
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
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!
– 1 oz lime, 1/2 oz maple, 1/2 oz falernum, 1/2 oz Amaro Meletti, 1 1/2 oz Plantation Overproof….
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?
Ed Hamilton Ministry of RumZOMBIE PREACHER! can i have one of these please?
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.
Coconaut Re-Entry, looks delish doesn`t it?
Demerara Dry Float, served up.
A Shrunken Zobie Fugu, served on a plate like a dish…
Lovely Tacoma Rum Barrels! i think i could have them all!
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 🙂
Jason`s beautiful version of my Guyana Zombie!
Mr Bali Hai….as cool as ever, comes loaded with fire and goodness!
Moai flask by Van Tiki and tiki shot glass by Scott Taylor.
Daniele Dalla Pola and Jeff Berry having great fun, Picture Laura Godel
This last post is a picture parade of a FEW of the tastings, parties, dinners and the rest of all the fun that took place on this years Tales of the Cocktail. Sure I missed several events I would have wanted to attend to but it’s impossible to do it all, there’s so much that’s is happening!
One of the must do things was the “Dynamic Duos” – two of the worlds best bartenders working in pairs at the best bars in the city mixing cocktails with the sponsoring brand! there were several Dynamic Duos happening in places like Kingfish, Bellocq, Cure, Cane and Table, SoBou…and we went to two events, the first one was at Kingfish where Chris Mc Millan and Dale deGroff mixed cocktails with Laird’s Applejack, the oldest native distilled spirit in the US. I like Kingfish and when these two gentlemen are at the bar it’s a win win and a guarantee for good fun and great cocktails.
Like the Tales description says, few people have done more to elevate the art of American mixology than Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail. Credited with kickstarting the bartending revolution, he’s inspired countless mixologists across the country.
And Chris McMillian, is a fourth generation bartender whose combination of dedicated craftsmanship and passionate storytelling has made him a living legend in New Orleans!
Two legends, Chris McMillan and Dale deGroff
After Kingfish we continued to the next event, Jeff Berry and Nick Detrich mixing up drinks with Plantation rum at the Cane and Table! we decided to get there early but it was already packed when we got there….lucky for us some people left 3 chairs at the bar to us and so we got premium seating!
After quickly making a name for himself in the New Orleans cocktail scene at Cure and Bellocq, Nick Detrich opened Cane&Table, a sophisticated tiki restaurant devoted to exploring New Orleans position in the development of rum. Who better to join him at Tales of the Cocktail’s Dynamic Duos than Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, author of the definitive works on tropical drinks and culture?
It turned out to become a fantastic evening with ALL the rum and tiki people plus many others with good cocktails made with Plantation rum, which had a strong presence at this years Tales, just like previous years.
And with Jeff Berry at the bar it’s a guaranteed success! there is no doubt in my mind that his upcoming bar Latitude 29 will be one of THE bars to go in this town, personally I can’t wait to the next year when I will finally hopefully be able to get there.
Cane and Table also had a kickass pop-up pool party at the Monteleone rooftop:
This is what did it for me….these mouthwatering grilled gulf shrimp skewers and the DIP SAUCE! the dip sauce was to “die for” and yet so simple, a mix of Crystal Sauce (the best Louisiana hot sauce in my opinion) and fresh squeezed lime juice served in baked bell peppers….the way the sauce tasted I think it was baked for a little while inside the bell peppers….this was soooooo GOOOD!!!
Delicious strawberry sticks in mango sauce……you get pampered at the Tales!
Cheers! and hope to be back at Tales again the next year!!
And here’s a picture parade:
The official Tales toast at the steps of Monteleone to kick off Tales.
Delicious drinks by Mandarin Napoleon using my favorite soft drink (together with Ting) Sanpellegrino.
Refreshing!! especially in the summer heat of New Orleans which btw I must say was unusally “cool” this year….nevertheless, the cold drinks really did their job! and who doesn’t like fresh and fruity drinks in the summer?
Mandarin Napoleon presented the 2nd Annual Imperial Battle of the Sexes, at the Napoleon House, where eight of the best male and female bartenders from around the country paired against each other to create their very own signature Mandarine Napoléon cocktail and, guests voted for the best. Each bartender had their own station to serve their signature cocktails, while strategically pleading for votes.
The teams also had to face off in challenges that tested their knowledge, creativity and skill. This portion of the competition was judged by an expert panel, including brand owner Marc de Kuyper. Hosted by John Lermayer , while Alex Straus and Mathias Simonis from The Bon Vivants were team captains.
So which team won? it was the male team this time….
Bayou Rum had a alligator themed tasting room, presenting their new rum for the summer, Bayou Satsuma along with their spiced and silver rum that they launched at the Tales last year, serving cocktails with these three expressions. They even brought a live gator baby in there..
I like Bayou rum, it’s a comfort rum to me! and they served a tasty cocktail called “Down the Bayou”, with Bayou Spiced, Blackberry Sage Syrup by Locally Preserved, orange juice, pineapple juice, ginger ale, full recipe is on their webpage.
Samogon is a 90 proof Russian Spirit never commercially bottled before, until this years Tales! and in their tasting room we got to use a new tool for opening fresh coconuts and everyone got to open their own nut, funny, and the tool along with a huge hammer made it easy. Fresh coconut water is so tasty! I think this one was a hit!
And at last, I wanna recommend a few places you can go to when you’ re in New Orleans for the Tales or other things, these are places I have greatly enjoyed over the years and this year because when I like a place, I keep coming back!
Arnaud’s French 75, get your well crafted cocktails by Chris Hannah and team! step into a world of it’s own right there on 813 Bienville street, the bar is adjacent to Arnaud’s main dining room and one of GQ’s top 25 bars in the US. Being there is a true delight!
SoBou – A Spirited Restaurant South of Bourbon! awesome Louisiana-centric and street food inspired restaurant with a beverage focus. Great cocktails by Abigail! don’t miss this place please! 310 Chartres Street.
Mai Tai at SoBou with Appleton rum and Cruzan Blackstrap float, Shrimp and Tasso Pinchos with Glazed Pineapple.
KingFish – This is where Chris McMillan resides….enough said, just go there and have a great cocktail or two and chat with one of the legends in New Orleans! they also got great food….just a step away from SoBou – 337 Chartres St
The Carousel Bar – is a MUST! the slowly rotating bar is an experience! and the place you always find yourself at during the Tales. I had a great Rum Alexander this year made with the local Rougaroux dark rum! it was awesome. But their signature cocktail is the Vieux Carre’. The Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge is the only revolving bar in New Orleans, Louisiana. The bar is inside the Hotel Monteleone on 214 Royal St.
Cane and Table – GREAT place! cocktails, tiki drinks, RUM and food! 1113 Decatur St.
Bourbon “O” Bar – 730 Bourbon St – go here for a treatment by Cheryl Charming and her staff of great bartenders! I will never forget the Bananas Foster snowcone cocktail I had there last year! and go and have a Pimm’s Cup made by Lynn Burgett, he makes the best Pimm’s Cup in town! perfectly balanced, nice garnish and sooo refreshing! this bar is right on Bourbon yet a world away….
Fabulous Pimm’s Cup….
The Rum House – a Caribbean taqueria and a great place for rum geeks because they do have an extensive rum list where you can find real rare treasures like Silver Seal Caroni and Samaroli demerara rums! and their fried oyster taco is a delight! find the Rum House at 3128 Magazine street.
Commander’s Palace – needs no presentation, let me just say, if you want a whole experience including fantastic food and impeccable service, there is Commander’s. Don’t miss their Shrimp Henican whatever you do….wild Louisana white shrimp stuffed with spicy Cajun tasso tossed in Crystal sauce with pickled okra and five pepper jelly!
That’s a few places but there are many more, cannot add them all I wrote about many of them in previous years, but go to for example, Cure, Bar Tonique, Coop’s, Parkway (for Poboys) just google them…I’m done, see y’all next year at the Tales!
Real treasures at the Rum House……
Commander’s Shrimp and Tasso Henican is unbelievable…..! wild Louisana white shrimp stuffed with spicy Cajun tasso tossed in Crystal sauce with pickled okra and five pepper jelly! on the right, a little refreshment, Aqua Fresca. (Macerated pineapple and lime juices with a pinch of sugarcane…served with fresh mint)