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.
Every year the Libbey of Europe team with Kevin Vollebregt and Sofia Pereira launches a Tiki cocktail challenge on their Facebook group page, This is just one challenge among many others with other styles of cocktails. This year`s tiki theme was Halloween, or Mahaloween as it´s usually called in the tiki world (together with Alohaween and Tikiween) Last year`s challenge was to make a tiki drink in their new beautiful pineapple glass, and it was won by Oriol Elias. The challenge this year was to create a tiki cocktail (or tiki inspired cocktail) that had fall and winter flavors, and that could scare or awe the jury. Just like last year Daniele Dalla Pola was judging all cocktails together with the help of Elis Carriero from the Nu Lounge bar in Bologna.
The 50 participants were able to choose one glass each out of 3 new tiki glasses that was launched by Libbey this year. Two beautiful stemware glasses and a Tiki split glass with two personalities. I`m gonna present the five winning cocktails here on the blog starting with my own which I present here below.
I really like all the Libbey tiki glasses so it was a bit difficult to choose, but I picked one of the stem glasses (the Tiki Mai Tai) for my drink, because I got the idea of using McGrider`s new mini tiki torches… which actually was the inspiration for my drink, but unf and not surprisingly they were sold out. So instead I made two flaming sticks from bamboo and croutons. I wanted the scene for my drink to be omnious, dark and foreboding… and some kind of “ancient” and dusty with a slightly creepy drink. Then I happened to pass by our grocery store and in it were those little skulls… and that was it, now I had my cocktail idea clear!
Inspiration story: In the dark night of Mahaloween… the tiki skull needs a sacrifice – a sacrifice of blood… to appease the bad forces because they are angry. Flaming torches and blood in a glass… let the skull enter and drink himself content. The peace will remain, maybe, for another year.
15 ml Fresh Red Beet Juice
7.5 ml Apple Juice
7.5 ml Passionfruit Juice
6-10 Fresh Ginger Slices (to muddle)
15 ml Re`al Ginger Syrup
30 ml Fresh Lime Juice
7.5 ml Alamea Spiced Rum
7.5 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
15 ml Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal
30 ml Plantation OFTD
Muddle ginger slices in shaker with some of the lime juice. The ginger should be as fresh as possible so it’s juicy. Add enough to add a clear bite but not to overpower in flavor, but the drink should be sharp. Add the rest of ingredients and shake, strain into a chilled Libbey tiki glass, lined with a tropical leaf inside.
Add one large square shaped ice cube. Garnish with a skull and 2 flaming mini tiki torches.
*Flaming mini torches – secure 2 croutons on top of thin, short, bamboo sticks. Soak the croutons in lemon extract or overproof rum and set alight.
Or you buy the best mini torches from McGrider! but you need to be really really quick….because they are so popular they sell out as soon as he put them up on his Etsy page! NOW after the contest is done…I have finally been able to snag a few of his torches! so expect to see them later on this blog and also in upcoming books!
That was my entry and I had a lot of fun with it! but there were some really amazing cocktails in this challenge and I feel honored to have my drink among the winners with these beautiful cocktails! but there were many more…. and you can see them all and get the recipes and also see the videos on the Libbey Glassology page.
Behold in awe… here are the other four winners:
Kahe`ikeanu (cocktail and photo Oriol Elias)
Ingredients (for about 500ml of cocktail):
4.5oz Plantation 3 Stars
4.5oz Trois Rivières Cuvée de l’Ocèan
3oz Rum-Bar White Overproof
3oz Lime Juice
1.5oz Grapefruit Juice
1.5oz Banana Real
1.5oz Cinnamon Syrup
9 dashes Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters
18 Coffee Beans
1- Stir all the ingredients in a cup and let sit for 4 hours.
2- Strain with a cheesecloth to discard the curdle.
3- Strain another time with the cheesecloth in order to have a clear cocktail.
4- Bottle and keep in the fridge.
Serve chilled in the Libbey Tiki Coupe with an ice Shell.
Add some drops of grenadine to the ice Shell for a bloody effect.
Inspiration story: The ancient Hawaiians explains a legend about the winter. Each 300 years a never seen cold covers all the island of Moloka’i… an unsuspected sudden winter appears with snow and ice, on their tale the old men also explain that the winter brings the Kahe’ikeanu, a damned spirit who can take the shape of a human, he can acquire any face, and nobody can assure to have ever seen him…only blood stains remain in his path…he is considered invisible killer…nobody can survive him…mmm…you feel it? It’s cold outside…It seems that the Winter is coming…
*tiki jungle mix: 2 part of carob orgeat + 1 part of Re’al ginger syrup
Tecnique: shake all ingredients and strain into couple glass.
Inspiration story: We are in unknown jungle on an island, where we find only strange and unexpected roots and fruits. We create a magic potion, we don’t know if we will survive: just let’s try that!
White Walker ( Cocktail by Ásgeir Bergmann Pétursson, Photo credit Maja Jantar)
3cl J.Walker Red label
2cl Monkey Shoulders
2cl Port Charlotte,
3cl Falerum syrup*
1cl Pumpkin Spice*
3cl Lime Juice,
1 drop Rosewater
*Syrups are from commercially available company that rhymes with Samurai with out a master.
Shake vigorously and serve with the shaking ice
Inspiration story: As the wind howls, the cold and darkness set in. Further into the woods yet you wander, cursing your vow in every step. “My shift begins now bullshit” you think, knowing that you are deep behind the wall and there shall be no salvation for you. Yet, as both frost and terror freeze you in your steps, you are filled with amazement and wonder as your eyes feast up on magical sight before you. “This, this is how it happens?”. Before you the earth opens up and slowly but surely a new one emerges. It will be the death of you but neither your lips or feet are willing to leave it. From the earth a new “White Walker” has been born.
Jack’s Tipple (cocktail and photo by Timos Spanos)
60ml Shortbread Butter Gold Rum
35ml Sweet Vermouth
25ml Cinnamon & Raisin Triple Sec
2 dashes Elemakule Tiki Bitters
Rinse the glass with Fernet Branca
Garnish: Bone (doesn’t need to be from an actual human being)
Inspiration story: Jack’s Tipple is inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas, a film which takes place in Halloween Town. This creepy concoction combines Tiki features with a hint of Christmas, much like the film, and is made with Shortbread Butter Rum, Cinnamon and Raisin infused Triple Sec, Sweet Vermouth, Fernet Branca and Elemakule Tiki Bitters, served in a Libbey Tiki Mai Tai glass and garnished with a bone.
Much Aloha and big mahalo to the Libbey team and to Daniele Dalla Pola and Elis Carriero for creating this great opportunity for us to get creative and have fun! same time the next year I hope!
They are already launching new rums and I`m a bit behind, but the World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum is an interesting addition to the tiki and craft cocktail scene. World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum is the creation of Lester Schutters and Tom Neijens. ( the Drifter Bar, Belgium) I have tried the dark also and tried them both paired with some really exquisite chocolate, a very pleasant experience. and of course, in a couple of refreshing drinks too. In this post i`m making my own drinks, but before I do that, a little about the World`s End Rum:
The first World’s End Rum was created 3 years ago by Lester Schutters and is a spin off of his liqueur company 2240 Social Club . Out of a lifetime interest in rum, the next step was to create something that he was looking for but could not find on the rum market . And so the dark spiced rum was born, a combination of pot and column still rums.
After being on the road a lot, getting the chance to meet some great people in the business, Lester met Tom Neijens. Tom liked what he did with the dark spiced rum, and with the opportunity to talk about a mutual interest “rum “, they finally, after several rum-talks, came to the point that Tom was looking for – a way to commercialize what he had created . He already used a raw version in his cocktails . And as Lester was looking to expand his range of spiced rum, they decided to get together to create what would become World’s End Rum Tiki Spiced .
Lester created a tailored blend for this project, which was a blend of Trinidad, Tobago and Jamaican rums . Pure focused on taste, he started to look for the character that this blend would become and finally, after adding the right spices, he released the World’s End Rum Tiki Spiced . Main spices in this rum are allspice and cinnamon . That`s the story in short. It`s difficult to make a good spiced rum because to get balance of flavors when spices are added, paired with not getting it too sweet, is a not-too-easy task. And generally, many spiced rums i think, falls into the category of “too sweet” or “unbalanced”, but there`s some that are balanced and good too.
Personally I usually tend to prefer to use spiced rums as cocktail ingredients, and that`s because to my palate, a little goes a long way here and they are usually sweet, with anything from balanced, to quite sweet, to so sweet that your teeths cringe. But this rum I think, is on the balanced side on the scale.
It`s also a quite perfect match for a good Coke. And a good Coke, (a MUST for a Rum & Coke) is not the usual thing in the supermarket, sweetened with the horrible and unhealthy high fructose corn syrup, it`s the Mexican Coke which is sweetened with natural sugarcane. There`s also “old-fashioned” craft cokes you can try. One (local brand) in my country that I like is “Kitty Kola” which uses organic apple juice as sweetener and ecological ginger juice, lemon and kola nut. It has a really old-fashioned cola-like flavor, the way I imagine coke used to taste in the 40s-50s and I find it delicious. It does not taste like just a coke though, it has a flavor of it`s own.
And actually, when researching, I found out that this cola was launched in Sweden in the 1953, (originally from England) It disappeared because Coca Cola out-competed it but it`s now back again on the market (with a re-developed improved recipe with only organic all-natural ingredients).
The for this year unusually hot summer is now gone away, but a well-made Rum & Coke is really refreshing on any given day, so gonna present that here together with a few other drinks. Apart from going well with coke, I feel that the tiki spiced rum would go very well with a good Root-beer too, in for example the Caribbean Punch. I made a take on the “Don`s Caribbean Punch” (Don the Beachcomber, cirka 1957, from Sippin`Safari by Jeff Berry) on this blog many years ago. But of course, the tiki spiced rum as you can imagine, goes in all kind of cocktails. I decided to make a new take on the Caribbean Punch though, and making it on the slightly bitter side switching out Root-beer for Chinotto. Likewise I mixed equal parts of Kitty Kola and Chinotto in the rum and coke-type of drink to add a bit of a bitter edge to it.
But before I post the recipes, here`s just a little short note on how I find the World`s End Tiki Spiced rum neat:
The first thing that hits my nose is allspice and cinnamon with hints of citrus and sugarcane. The citrus is lingering around, lightly caressed by the sweetness of sugarcane. it´s backed up by the spicy notes of the allspice and cinnamon.Then at first sip I feel a warm cinnamon flavor with orange peel and hints of allspice followed by sugarcane notes. It´s quite balanced even though cinnamon dominates a little. it`s sweet and in my opinion does best in mixing where you can balance the sweetness with lemon or lime. It mixes very well in tiki drinks (and other cocktails) No burn either, it´s not harsh at all.
At the German rumfest last year I tried it with chocolate, but a chocolate pairing is another thing, and with the dark quality chocolate we had it became a different and elevated drinking experience.
The aftertaste is semi long with lingering orange and cinnamon notes.
Bitter Caribbean Punch
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz falernum
1.5 oz Chinotto* (to top)
1 oz World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
0.5 oz Plantation OFTD overproof rum
0.5 oz Foursquare Triptych Barbados rum (or similar)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1/4 tsp fassionola (or hibiscus grenadine)
4 drops La Maison Fontaine Absinthe Chocolat Liqueur
1 cup crushed ice
Blend at high speed for 5 seconds, (or shake it) pour unstrained into a suitable glass or tiki mug, and add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with something tropical. It turned out to be very refreshing, with a pleasant bitter backbone from the Chinotto that just blended so well with the spicy notes of the rum.
Chinotto is an italian carbonated soft drink made from the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree. It looks like coca cola but have a taste of it`s own, a bit cola-like, a bit orange-flowery, less sweet and with a slight bitterness, it`s truly delicious.
1 oz /30 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced rum
1 oz /30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum
0.5 oz /15 ml Alamea Hawaiian Coffee liqueur
1 oz/30 ml fresh lime juice
0.5 oz /15 ml Cream of Coconut
0.5 oz /15 ml Guava nectar
0.5 oz /15 ml fresh pineapple juice
1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice
Blend at high speed for 5 seconds and pour into a chilled snifter, add more crushed ice to fill, dust a little cinnamon powder on top. Garnish with paper parasol lantern.
There´s 2 oz of sweet/semi-sweet ingredients here and I found 1 oz of fresh lime still made a nice drink but if you prefer it more on the sour side just add up the lime a bit.
World`s End Rum & Bitter Cola
2 oz World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
Top with equal parts Chinotto and Mexican Coke (or other craft coke not containing HCFS syrup, I used the old fashioned organic Kitty Kola)
Squeeze of 1 lime (or more to adjust the sweetness)
Cracked or crushed ice
Garnish large cinnamon stick, lime piece and speared amarena cherries.
Shake rum and lime with cracked or crushed ice, pour into a fancy tall glass and top up with more ice if needed. Garnish with a large cinnamon stick, lime piece and speared amarena cherries.
The combo of organic cola and chinotto makes a bitter-sweet combination.
1.5 oz/45 ml fresh lime juice
0.25 oz/7.5 ml ginger syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml cream of coconut
0.25 oz/7.5 ml strong cold brewed coffee
0.25 oz/7.5 ml Alamea Hawaiian Coffe Liqueur
0.5oz/15 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced rum
1 oz/30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum
1 oz/30 ml Plantation Stiggin`s Pineapple rum
1 oz/30 ml fresh pineapple juice
Garnish – 3 speared Fabbri Amarena cherries, orchid and pineapple leaf.
Add ingredients to a blender. Blend with 1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice at high speed for 5 seconds, pour unstrained into a suitable tiki mug, or glass.
In the picture I used 2 mugs that belongs together and are called “Lieutenants Marqative and Posquesan”, made by Robbie Toth and you can view his artwork on Instagram here. Swizzle stick by MkGrider.
And like i said in the beginning of this post, the World`s End are launching two more rums! the Dry Spice and the 57 Navy Rum. You can find World`s End Rum on instagram here. They just won bronze medal for their new Navy Rum at the German Rum Festival,
They now have four rums in their range of rums, and a Falernum. They are so worth checking out!
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.
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.
The Lost Spirits Rums hit the world with a bang! I have already seen and read several great posts about this rum and have written myself also about the Navy Style and Polynesian Inspired rums.
The Lost Spirits latest addition – the 151 Cuban Inspired Rum – has already been spoken about as well but I`ve been unable to write about until now since I been away to New Orleans and California including a road trip with Bryan and Joanne from the distillery to the Tiki Oasis in San Diego and where I got time to get to know this rum a bit better but time alone with it was needed.
One thing is clear, it`s a very pleasant overproof rum and it both mixes and sips well, even though, if you sip it for a while you will get a “fried” palate due to it`s strength typically what happens when you drink overproof rums neat, which mostly I do not – I use them most of the time in drinks as floats or combined with other rums – but you should not let this rum fool you – it`s way too easy to sip.
That said, I recommend it to be used like you use other overproof rums, in drinks, as floats etc.
This femme fatale comes dressed up in a very innocent looking outfit…the stunning label is a work of art with light pastel colored retro style 1930s pre-Castro Cuban theme with palm trees and a Pan Am (?) plane taking off to the sun….(and Cuban daiquiris…) and there`s a lady dressed in fashionable 1930s tropical wear. It`s like the other labels from Lost Spirits, very detailed and in all it`s a stunning label made by Bryan himself.
1930s Cuba….isn`t it beautiful? makes me wanna go back in time…or at least have a couple of cold daiquiris which btw is one of my favorite rum drinks.
I suspect that the curved end of the label is inspired by the same curved pattern you see on top of the copper still, you can see it in this post by Cocktailwonk, it´s pic number seven from top.
Of course your mind goes straight to the daiquiri when you see this rum but it´s good for all sorts of drinks both classic, modern and tiki. And here is what i like so much about it, it gives enough flavor to the drink to make things happen, to make it exciting, yet it´s smooth as silk but it kicks your butt!
If you have never heard of Lost Spirits Rums before I advise you to go and read about them here, and here and here……..plus check out their own website. It`s well worth the time reading all the posts because Bryan Davis is like the “mad scientist” up there at the distillery producing both rums and whiskeys. I have noticed that posts about this distillery have a tendency to become quite lengthy and there´s a reason for that, so keep reading the posts…
You might see some fancy tiki drinks with their rums here on my blog – but this is where it starts:
Manipulating the biochemistry of the yeast or stressing the yeast, is one important part of the production, read more about that here. Picture Bryan Davis.
I asked Bryan how the idea came about making a 151 Cuban style rum? he said when making the navy style rum is was mostly about making rum with the biggest range of flavor from the fermenter coming through.
But how about making the opposite? With this Cuban style it was the opposite end of the spectrum starting with the super flavorful high quality molasses and then highly rectify it like a Cuban from 100 years ago and then age it using his own scientific approach. Bryan tried lots of different woods and finally blended the Cuban from all the experiments.
The Cuban inspired 151 proof rum differs greatly from the Polynesian Style and Navy Style rums in that it has less of those higher alcohols giving the other two rums their “heavy” type of flavor, this rum here has a totally different flavor profile, more “clean” but I wouldn`t say “light” because there is nothing “light” about any of the rums from the Lost Spirits Distillery. But at the same time as the 151 Cuban differs from the others they still have clear bonds of being from the same “family”.
Well, i have to say the end result is nothing but spectacular!
They are only three people at the Lost Spirits Distillery, Bryan Davis, Joanne Haruta and Joanne`s brother James and if you haven`t seen the distillery and the hand built pot still with it`s smoking dragon head check it out here and here
And check out this video, (click on the left play button at the bottom) :
The smoking dragon pushing out the steam from the still at night….(video by Bryan Davis)
Pretty cool eh? it´s all hand built on site.
The nose is to me fruity (slightly like pineapple and apricot but not at all as pineapple forward as the Polynesian style, and here´s also vanilla) with a wonderful whiff of lovely soothing butterscotch.
The flavor is intense and has the same fruitness beautifully rounded out by the aforementioned butterscotch, vanilla and toffee aromas. It`s so strong yet it caresses your palate like silk!…that`s why it´s so dangerously sippable.
With a little water in the glass i think it becomes much more Pineapple flavored but compared to the Polynesian (also with a few drops of water in it) it`s actually smoother despite it´s higher strength.
I have used their rums specifically in tiki drinks simply because well, I love tiki drinks – and because they fit so well in these kind of drinks because the bold flavors of these strong rums stand up so well against the fresh mixers and us tiki drink loving folks we just LOVE bold rums don`t we?? At the Tiki Ti we had Nui Nuis made with it and they were nothing but awesome!
But Lost Spirits rums are not only fit for tropical and tiki drinks, they can be used in any kind of cocktails thus making this rum very versatile. One example is the classic daiquiri…so I made one and of course it made an excellent daiquiri that also packs a punch! drink one of these and you`ll dance!
Also, use it as a float in a variety of cocktails..
Then i was pondering what to do next and got to think about two of my old favorites, the Missionary`s Downfall and the classic Pago Pago.
The Missionary`s Downfall is a very tasty drink but it´s not a strong one…so I decided to make a twist of it and change that with the 151 Cuban rum. Be warned though, this drink is potent!
The Drunken Missionary
This drink is so potent it makes the tiki mug “sweat” and “moan”!
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!
This drink packs a punch and is VERY tasty!
The Pago Pago dates to at least 1940, when it appeared in a book called The How and When, andthis classic cocktail is a longtime favorite of mine and i`ve had it on this blog before but not with this rum though – so i decided to give it a try. What makes this drink so nice is the addition of Green Chartreuse which not only adds lively vibrant herbal aromas to the drink but also goes very very well with rum!
1 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum
3 squares of fresh pineapple (about 1 oz)
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz green Chartreuse
0.25 oz white crème de cacao
Add all ingredients except the rum in a cocktail shaker and muddle the pineapple with a muddler. Add the rum and a lot of ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (double-strain through a mesh tea strainer in order to filter out the little bits of pineapple)
Beware of this drink`s strength…
151 Cuban Nui Nui
Another favorite of mine is the Nui Nui….and with the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban it becomes a high octane real treat!
1.5 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz orange juice
0.25 oz cinnamon syrup
0.25 oz Don’s Spices #2
1 dash Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients with a handful of crushed ice, blend for 5 seconds and pour unstrained into a chimney or tiki glass with more crushed ice. Insert a long strip (6+ inches) of orange peel into the drink and let some of it hang out.
Well I poured mine into a tiki mug and also added fresh mint.
I was pondering what next to make ( yeah that`s what happens when i have Lost Spirits rums in my hands…) and then i remembered that yummy Coconut Punch i had in London made by Martin Cate at the last years UK Rumfest and decided to make a twist of it starting with making a baked pineapple syrup.
Flaming Coconut Punch
1.5 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz Coconut and pineapple juice
5-6 dashes Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters* for that pineapple and coffee touch. (sub with some coffee flavored bitters and use dashes depending on how bitter they are)
Baked pineapple sugarcane syrup*
Shake all ingredients well and strain into a coconut filled with crushed ice, that is placed on top of a larger coconut that is filled with cracked ice. (or use a tiki coconut mug)
Garnish with pineapple leaves.
Fill a lime shell with overproof rum or drench a few sugar cubes and set alight, dust with cinnamon powder to get the volcano effect.
Baked Pineapple Sugarcane Syrup
Place 5-6 chunks of pineapple in a pan and bake them on high heat until they get brownish, then lower the heat and add dark sugar syrup on top, let it sizzle for a few seconds then take off heat and mash the pineapple chunks with a fork. Set aside to cool and leave for about 15-20 min for the flavors to set.
Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters is a homemade product by Oriol over at the Three of Strong blog, write to him and see if you can get some. They are not sold commercially. You can sub with some other coffee flavored bitters, or make a different variety by for example muddle fresh coffee beans to get the coffee flavor. Do not use any coffee liqueur as you cannot omit the baked pineapple syrup in this drink.
This drink turned out pretty good! actually VERY tasty! I really like it and I`m gonna keep this one. I think the rum married so well together with the rest of the ingredients. And I love that it also packs a punch…
Now I should be very drunk right? well no…not really…the truth is I don`t make all the cocktails for a post like this in one evening…I prefer to sip and savour over a week or two because with rum it works like this – you need to re-visit a rum several times to get the flavors of it and to make cocktails too.
And since this rum is overproof it´s better to pace it…actually I recommend to drink just one of these in one sitting.
So…the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum…have you not tried it yet and are able to get it? – my advice…do not wait!