It is hot in Seattle today. Not as hot as it’s going to be tomorrow, but still quite hot. And in the land of no air conditioning, that means you have to fight the heat some other way. For us, it means consuming large tiki drinks! With that in mind we set out to try some of the lesser known (to us) tiki drinks.
We like tiki a lot, but we tend to skip tiki recipes on the weeknights – too much work. But there’s a lot to be said for the recipes with a plethora of ingredients and lots of ice, so we try to remember to pull those out on the weekends when we have a little more time. There’s something meditative about putting together a 10-ingredient cocktail 🙂
This time, we decided to go back to the source, Donn the Beachcomber, and try a few recipes from the 30s and 40s. As always we consulted the source on all things tiki, Mr. Beachbum Berry. We found a couple of recipes with a respectable number of ingredients which both used an interesting icing technique. It has you blend the liquid ingredients with a cup or so of crushed ice, and then pour the blended mix over ice cubes. This gives you a nicely chilled drink that has a head start on dilution, which the ice cubes continue to add to. Very refreshing, and all that ice keeps the strong flavors in these drinks from being overwhelming.
First we went with a rum-soaked classic, the Rum Barrel. This makes an enormous drink, and easily makes two drinks if you use normal-person-sized glasses. Make sure you leave enough room for a couple of ice cubes, they are important.
Rum Barrel (Don the Beachcomber)
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 oz grapefruit juice
- 1 oz orange juice
- 1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1 oz honey mix (this is just a 1:1 mix of honey and water)
- 1 oz light rum
- 1 oz gold Jamaican rum
- 2 oz demerara rum
- 1 tsp falernum
- 1 tsp pimento liqueur
- 6 drops (1/8 tsp) absinthe
- 6 drops (1/8 tsp) grenadine
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 8 oz crushed ice
Pour everything into a blender; saving the ice for last. Blend at high speed for no more than 5 seconds. Pour into a large glass. Add ice cubes.
- Nose: Jamaican rum funk, blended notes from all of the citrus. Hint of honey.
- Palate: Honey, grapefruit, and sweet vanilla rum to start. Mid-palate is dark rum, molasses and Jamaican rum funk, brightened when all the citrus shows up with orange, lime, and more grapefruit, along with some pineapple. Finish is quite dry and astringent with clove, allspice, and a tiny hint of absinthe. Not a super harmonious drink, though it is tasty and tangy. Each flavor stands on its own rather than blending (think finger-picking instead of strumming). 😉 This is also one of those drinks that definitely needs dilution. We usually like our drinks strong and flavorful, so we often avoid blended drinks since our experience with them has usually been meh. This one really needs that extra ice though, shaken it would likely be overwhelming, and it would get warm before you could actually finish it given its size.
Next up , we went with a drink that backed off a little on the ginormous ingredient list but added always-welcome passionfruit flavor to the mix.
Penang Afrididi #1
- 1/4 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz passion fruit syrup (we keep the fruit freshness/tartness by making our own from a mix of passionfruit puree and simple syrup)
- 1/2 oz orange juice
- 1 1/2 oz light rum
- 1 1/2 oz amber Virgin islands rum
- 6 drops (1/8 tsp) absinthe
- 6 oz crushed ice
Put everything into a bender; saving ice for last. Blend at high speed for no more than 5 seconds. Pour into a tall glass. Add more ice to fill.
- Nose: Passionfruit, pineapple, orange, hint of absinthe.
- Palate: Vanilla rum, orange and absinthe to start. Pineapple and passionfruit on the mid-palate. Mid-palate into the finish is lots of acid from the lime and passionfruit. Finish is tart, with a little bit of lime along with hints of anise and woody barrel notes. Aftertaste is tart, floral passionfruit. Dilution isn’t quite as required on this one, but it certainly doesn’t hurt given that there’s still a substantial amount of booze. This drink comes across as fruitier and might be a bit more approachable if you want something that doesn’t smack you around quite as much.
Yum, tiki. Whether it’s hot or cold where ever you are, mix up a yummy tiki drink next time you find yourself at cocktail hour with a little extra time on your hands. They can be a bit of a pain in terms of preparation, but always worth it in our opinions.