I love tikidrinks and because the tiki drinks have such an exquisite balance and extraordinary depth of flavour yet having such a clean finish they deserve to be equally appreciated and respected as cocktails that are classic cocktails just as the other classics like the Old Fashioned or the Ramos.
They are not only tasty they carry a very special feeling and whosoever have had a great ice cold tiki drink in a tall mug knows what i`m saying. They transport you, that´s what they do and they are fun, have imaginative and exotic names and are also very diverse. Some are fun looking with elaborate garnish served in stately or crazy-looking tiki mugs or tall glasses, others comes with fire or smoke and yet others are elegant and small.They also break barriers, makes people relax – i mean who can be uptight when holding a say – skull mug or laughing tiki mug in hand filled with a yummy tropical libation?
And they do have one thing in common, they leave an impression, makes you feel something and they make you happy. I`m talking about real and well crafted tiki drinks containing perfectly blended quality booze and fresh ingredients.
Don Beach & Vic Bergeron were true masters in their art who knew the flavour profiles of the rums that they mixed and they also knew their mixers. They paired rums to create new flavours that wouldn`t have been there without the specific blend of rums they created. To create a good and balanced tiki drink isn´t so easy, you need to know your rums and it takes time to learn which rums pairs well together and then these are to be mixed with a range of other mixers that in the end perfectly harmonizes resulting in a complex and balanced drink.
I think Beachbum Berry has done an outstanding job in bringing up many of the forgotten recipes to us as well as creating new ones and to place the tiki drinks where they are today.There`s a renaissance of the true tiki libations made after the authentic recipes and the use of fresh ingredients and at the same time new modern quality tiki drinks are being invented, yet still there are too many tiki bars and other bars serving crap so that many people today have no clue how a real Mai Tai or Zombie should taste.
Tiki drinks have had a reputation of being cloingly sweet tropical drinks due to the bars kept serving false tiki drinks throwing in a little bit of this and a little bit of that ending up with oolorful but unbalanced and messy drinks without much thought or attention to the original recipe or how a tiki drink should be constructed.
But luckily a LOT has happened! and nowadays there are many good tiki bars out there paying attention to the details getting it right.
The tiki drinks really deserves their respected place and i really hope the false crap disappears and leaves way for the real tiki drinks to move forward and shine, sparkle, dazzle and seduce you with their perfect blend of exciting flavours and air of mystical appeal.
TIKI DRINKS MOVING FORWARD
There are many great new tiki drinks being made as well but that you must use only rum isn´t written in stone. The reason rum was used so much in the old tiki era was mainly because after the repeal day it was cheap and readily available. Also rums pairs very well with fresh fruit juices and spicy tinctures and the whole tropical feel, no doubt about that, its like they are made for each other – but its possible to make good tiki cocktails also with say gin..
And i like gin! so i was very excited when i read about the drink called The Winchester (named after Angus Winchester) that really is a gin zombie invented by Brian Miller at Death & Co in NYC (a bar i really can recommend btw) This drink is made with three different gins just in the same way Don Beach mixed with several rums, creating a flavour profile that one spirit wouldn`t be able to accomplish.
Maybe the essence of a good tiki drink is the blending of base spirits? its certainly critical. Anyway, its really exciting to hear about someone treating gin the same way Don treated rum and as life is much about change so is drinks and it looks to me that tiki drinks are moving forward to a new dimension and at the same time the old original tiki drinks are gaining more respect.
25ml Tanqueray London Dry Gin
25ml Old Tom Gin
25ml Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin
20ml lime juice
20ml grapefruit juice
20ml St Germain elderflower liqueur
12.5ml home made grenadine
7ml home made ginger syrup
1 dash angostura bitters
Shake with 3 ice cubes and strain into a Tiki mug.