Up for review I have here three bottles of Hamilton rums from the Ministry of Rum Collection – a pot still Saint Lucian rum from 2006, aged 7 years, the Jamaican Pot Still Black Rum and then the 86 proof Demerara rum. These are rums I was wanting to review for a very long time but couldn`t get to do until now.
Ed Hamilton, who I first encountered at his Ministry of Rum website back in 2008 and who was my first rum mentor sailed the Caribbean for many years searching for rums, visiting distilleries and sampling rums and by the beginning of 2000 started to import rhum agricoles from the French Caribbean and imported rhums such as Neisson and La Favorite.
He also wrote rum books, Rums of the Eastern Caribbean and The Complete Guide to Rum: A Guide to Rums of the World that were published in the 1990s.
And now he hand select rums for his own Hamilton label and is the one who brought us the Hamilton 151 Demerara to help us survive the for now (and maybe forever) not longer produced Lemon Hart 151 (well, the US for now since LH151 is still not yet dried up in Europe – but hurry up Ed and get it to Europe too before it runs out….) and as for the rest of the world I have no idea about the LH151 situation but I guess it´s pretty non existant?
The bottles are very nice, dark, and “rum looking” and the labels are beautiful with an old style map of the island or country producing the rums in the center.
Saint Lucian Pot Still, 2006, 63.8%
Starting with the one I was the most curious about, the pot still Saint Lucian. Each of the Saint Lucia Pot Still rums in the Ministry of Rum Collection were distilled and aged in Saint Lucia then shipped to the US in the barrels in which they were aged. For details of each of these rums can be found on the Caribbean Spirits webpage.
The molasses used at St Lucia Distillers was sourced from Guyana and contained 65% dissolved sugar, one of the highest sugar contents of any molasses found in the Caribbean. The high sugar content is attributed to the age of the Guyanese sugar mill. But it doesn’t matter what the sugar content of the molasses / juice is, after distillation there is no residual sugar left in the spirit and what comes out of the still is dry.
And the rum doesn`t taste very sweet, it more tastes like real unadultered rum, and there was no caramel color or flavoring of any kind added to this rum either.
I was met with a very pleasant nose of plenty of mature macerated tropical fruits, oak, orange peel, vanilla and creamy butter….
But taking a sip, be prepared for a taste chock…. it`s an explosion of heavy pot still punch and strong flavors! but the the thing that really hits you comes after when a dry earthy astringency lets itself be known, which immediately brought my mind to rhum agricole where I think I mostly have found these kind of flavors but here`s a rum made from molasses.
And it`s so very different!! really intriguing. It has flavors of the same tropical fruits i found in the nose, and then oak, leather, tannins, spice and dark plums, paired with this dry earhty astringency remniscent of an aged rhum agricole, it`s an amazing rum! heavy and vibrant.
Revisiting this rum the next day and this time with a few drops of water I don`t think very much changed, more than that the astringency became even more pronounced, maybe it got a little smoother in appearance.
Oh my…. this is very interesting rum!
I happen to really like strong rums with character and so I have no problem liking this one. Another thing that I like is the transparency which Ed puts out on the bottle label, it describes exactly what this rum is all about and at the Ministry of Rum website you can read a lot more!
Heavy rums like this tend to be a bit difficult to use in cocktails if used alone and so I think this one might be best together with something that can tame it a little bit….
Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black Rum, 46.5%
The next one is the Jamaican pot still black rum, this one is a blend of light, very light and heavy pot still rums from the Worthy Park Estate where rum has been made since 1670. And it has been colored with a double-strength black caramel.
Here`s for a very pungent nose… mashed overripe bananas and other tropical fruits, burnt sugar, heavy molasses, hints of wood and pineapple. It`s a funky smell that attacks your senses.
But contrary to the taste chock of the Saint Lucian rum this one enters very smoothly… and that surprised me.
Fruity notes with overripe banana, pineapple and charred wood, molasses and tropical leaves. It`s not an elegant rum, nor is it light despite using two lighter pot still rums in the blend, but it´s smooth with a punchy heaviness and I like it.
Hamilton Guyana Rum, 43%
From the rivers of Demerara…my favorite rum region….
This rum is aged up to five years. and bottled from the same bulk of rum that makes up the Hamilton 151 Demerara which will be the next one of his for me to try. But let`s start with this lower proof demerara and see what it gives.
The nose is quite light with fruity, slightly woody and buttery notes, there´s hints of banana peel and dark sugar.
It has a smooth taste and a velvety buttery mouth feel, charred oak and mash of overripe tropical fruits, some smoke and charred wood, so typical for the demerara rums made with the last remaining original stills of their kind still operating in the world.
Here´s a great rum for mixing up those great tiki cocktails! what i`d do is use this as a base, maybe with another rum and then use the 151 for a float 🙂
Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s Oh So Deadly (Recipe by the excellent Atomic Grog,)
0.5 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
0.25 oz orange juice
0.25 oz pineapple juice
3/8 oz (3 teaspoons) rich cinnamon syrup
0.5 oz rich honey mix (see below)
0.5 oz Hamilton Guyana rum
0.5 oz Hamilton Black Jamaican rum
1 oz light Virgin Islands rum
1 dash Angostura bitters
Blend at high speed with 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of crushed ice for 5 seconds. Pour into a specialty glass. Add more crushed ice to fill.
I recommend using an intense cinnamon syrup, such as the B.G. Reynolds. For the honey-mix use a ratio of 2:1 honey to water. Heat up slightly and dissolve the honey in the water, then cool in the fridge until use.
8 oz Lopez or Real Coconut Cream
2 oz fresh lime juice
4 oz Hamilton St Lucia Pot Still rum
3 oz Hamilton Guyana rum
Put everything in a blender and fill to the top with ice cubes and blend until slushy. Pour into ceramic coconut mugs or other tiki mugs.
Thanks to Jeanne “Catahula” Vidrine for letting me use her tiki collection while away from home 🙂
My conclusion: Is very simple – I love these rums! I like that they are so full of flavors. All three are very different, especially the Saint Lucian which I find to be something else.
They are full of flavors, complexity and punch! – all three of them.
On the last day, after Tales, we went on a distillery tour to the Donner-Peltier Distillery in Thibodaux and that was just the right thing to do because it turned out a fabulous day!
Starting at the Palace Cafè with drinks and then into the bus and off we went towards the sugarcane fields in Thibodeaux. On the bus the mood was happy and Rum Punches with Rougaroux rums were served 🙂 I have reviewed the Rougaroux Fullmoon dark, blackstrap rum before on this blog and that rum is one of my favorite rums and it has found it`s way into many of my tiki drinks!
Now to see where this fabulous rum is made as well as the other products they are making like the white overproof rum, the Sugarshine as well as their 13 Pennies rum, LA1 Whiskey and Oryza gin and vodka.
The distillery is a little gem way out in Thibodaux….and we were welcomed with a real nice lunch with spicy tasty cajun food and then cocktails with their products and a brief overview of what they are doing. Then after the lunch and cocktails we walked into the distillery to learn how their products are made.
The name “Rougaroux” (Roo ga roo) comes from a Louisiana tale about the Rougaroux which is a mysterious creature lurking in the sugarcane fields and swamps, emerging only during a full moon to exact justice on the wicked… its curse lasting 101 days….and therefore the Sugarshine rum is 101 proof 🙂
The legend of the Rougaroux is based on that the sugarcane fileds are quite a dangerous place for kids to play in, they can get lost or bitten by snakes or other dangerous creatures and so the legend was made to keep them away from playing there.
But the kids got scared by the Rougaroux so they couldn`t sleep….and so then the legend of the 13 Pennies was born….(which also is the name of their praline rum)
The legend has it that if you place 13 pennies outside your door on the ground you`ll confuse the Rougaroux because he can only count to 12….and when he comes and sees the 13 pennies he starts to count and when he gets to 13 he has to start all over again so he is busy counting all night and when the sun starts to rise he has to leave and go back to his lair….
13 pennies outside the door…..
The Rougaroux rums are made from local sugarcane and are distilled in both pot and column stills and there´s 3 rums, the Fullmoon Dark which is a blackstrap rum, made from a white rum that has been aged in white oak barrels and which to me tastes like something in between Cruzan blackstrap and El dorado 12, with the addition of dark sugary and fuel notes, it´s a very special rum! then the white Sugarshine rum which is a overproof “moonshine”rum also with a funky nose.
The 13 Pennies is a nice praline flavored rum, not so strong, more sweet and nutty, but it doesn`t have that much of praline in the flavor though, more just a sort of nuttiness.
The Rougaroux Fullmoon Dark Rum is aged on white oak with no extracts, caramel or artificial ingredients added. This rum is my favorite product of their range and it´s absolutely amazing in tiki drinks! but the Sugarshine rum is not to forget….it´s also a rum full of boldness and punch!
Then they make a whiskey, LA1, the Oryza vodka and a gin, and the Oryza vodka recenly was dubbed the “One of the best vodka in the US” by the “Fifty Best” – the vodka is one of two in the nation that is distilled from rice.
They also have a littel gift shop on the premises and I bought a bottle of El Guapo Bitters, flavor – “Crawfish Boil”….there´s a “Gumbo” Bitters too, very punchy and a more gentle “Polynesian Kiss”. These bitters are unique to Louisiana.
As a gift we could chose between the Rougaroux Full Moon Dark or the Sugarshine rums and since I already have the dark I picked the white Sugarshine rum, espect a review of it later. This tour was educational and fun and it was an excellent day!
Here´s a picture parade from the tour:
We started out at the Palace Cafè with morning Bloody Mary`s, followed by Rum Punches on the bus heading to Thibodaux.
To continue with cocktails in the bar in the gift shop and a lunch with many different spicy cajun sausages, boudin and other tasty things.
Then further into the distillery to see the stills, barrels etc and learn about how their products are made.
This raw sugar smelled and tasted heavenly….
Sugarcane fields and black strap molasses, used to make the flavorful Rougaroux rums.
If you get a chance, try to visit this distillery!
El Guapu Crawfish Boil Bitters
And to take home, I picked this one, the potent Sugarshine rum!
A friend of mine brought my attention to these stylish cup and glass holders, which you can use as gifts or bring along to a party and they allow you to carry a bottle or a wine glass or beverage and have hands free for cell phone, etc. while you for example wander a street festival or exhibition hall.
I think these are great gifts!
They are very stylish and comes in many different fabrics, sizes and color combinations. These are hand crafted by Caroline Hallak and are sold online at CHC-BeverlyHills.com and they also ship to Europe and worldwide.
Here are some pics I took of them in person, they are pretty nice and cool!
Red rosy and orange bottle bag, perfect for example a bottle of wine or why not rum?
Here`s black and old fashioned pink, glass and bottle holder.
Here´s a handy little app to discover new spirits and of course new rums! I tried it and think it`s a quite handy little tool plus you get to interact with your fellow booze enthusiasts around the globe.
For the most part, people`s usual spirit knowledge revolves around the mainstream brands, and with the wide assortment of craft liquors produced today, they’re definitely missing out. There’s for example more spiced rum varieties beyond Captain Morgan. As The Spirit Business document, “Along with bourbon and gin, craft rum is quickly becoming a firm favorite among spirits connoisseurs as distillers continue to drive experimentation and push premiumization in the category.”
Finding good craft rum may seem pretty difficult at first if you don’t have much experience in the area, unaware of any distillers or simply don’t know where to look, but with a smartphone or tablet in hand, you’ll be a connaisseur in no time. Thanks to advanced technologies and increased internet capabilities, mobile devices are now our go-to resource for many of our daily problems, thus an app like Swig would be beneficial for those with a curiosity or growing interest in spirit distillers and cocktails.
Touted as the Facebook for all drinkers, CNET describes the app as the ultimate bar and meeting place catering to drinkers with different tastes. With analysts anticipating the one billion global smartphone users in 2013, a statistic that was shared by the corporation running the mobile gaming hub Pocket Fruity, this figure is predicted to double by 2016, and with Swig, the app virtually connects you to a whole online community’s worth of expertise in craft spirits directly from your smartphone. From bartenders to sommeliers, there are plenty of people on the app that can teach you about the subject.
Some of the features of this Facebook/Instagram-like app include discovering beverages crafted by friends, bartenders and other community members, and an option to follow friends to learn about new producers, drinks, and bars. Swig is also packed with tasting notes, fun facts and videos for over 500,000 alcoholic beverages to educate you about some of the newest cocktail creations.
Swig is available on both Google Play and the App Store.
Following the two first books which I purchased at the last year´s Tiki Oasis, this is the new third volume of Kahuna Kevin`s Tiki Cocktails. The third book is in the same style as the two others, with 44 new recipes of tropical drinks to make with color photos and mixing instructions for each drink.
Within the pages of this book lies 3 years of cocktail making and there`s a lot of interesting drinks to try out, for example the “Ring of Fire” which contains Trinidad Amber rums and is garnished with a skewered red onion ring!
Or the “Pau Pau Punch” a gin based “secret” in this rum based book……which also has gin based drinks, and others that use blends of rum, whisky and even vodka spirits.
There is a cold remedy too….a hot botanical and rum elixir that cures what ailes ya! and if you`re into something special you can make Kahuna Kevin`s Black Spiced Grog Syrup and use in the “Kahuna Kevin`s Black Spiced Grog” – containing multiple and strong rums, fresh fruit juices and spice….sounds yum!
So this book contains a lot of things and I like the color photographs of the drinks and they are all beautifully garnished. The index contains “Drinks by Potency” and Ingredients in different cathegories – Rum, Liquor/Liqueur/Ale/Wine, Juice, Mixers/Soda, Syrup, Bitters, Herbs, Spices, Sugars, Garnish.
There`s 2 cocktails that contains separate associated ingredient recipes. 1 is the Black Spiced syrup and the other is a gin infusion for the Voodoo Nectar cocktail. Drinks are rated by Potency Skulls, more skulls = stronger drinks. Strongest drink has 7 skulls, or 7oz average equivalent of 80 proof spirits per drink.
And if you want a tasty island twist of the Mai Tai, there`s Kahuna Kevin`s Guava Mai Tai which looks fabulous to me….. (in the top picture)
In all there´s 44 tropical tiki libations, enough to keep you fortified for a long time! the drinks are all over the spectrum, tropical, spirit forward, spicy, bitter, sweet and blends of multiple profiles. Focus is on higher end spirits, fresh ingredients, cane based sweeteners, for top quality cocktails.
So I wanted to try a drink or two from this book and here they are, and since I didn`t have all ingredients or garnishes I subbed some rums and used what garnishes I had on hand, and the drinks turned out very tasty!
The Third Dilemma
This drink turned out very nice and rummy/spicy but also fruity. The next drink I tried is called “Escape Pod” which is a yummy cocoction of Coconut juice/water, dark rum, lime and other tasty, spicy ingredients topped with fragrant cinnamon bark….
You will find the recipes in the book….
The book was launched earlier in july and can be purchased at www.KahunaKevin.com (main website, all books on sale from Aug 1 to Aug 16th to celebrate Tiki Oasis)
And Aloha and Mahalo to Jeanne Catahula Vidrine for lending me tiki glasses and stuff for this post since i`m not at home! and thanks New Orleans for producing such nice giant Gardenia flower bushes…. perfect for tiki drink garnish… 🙂
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.