A lot of people have asked me how I got into the whole, as some might put it, “tiki thing”. Well, like anything good, it doesn’t take much to push you over the edge. Having damned good friends in the interest certainly got me started, but the properly made Fogcutter and Mai Tai one dark and enchanted eve at Trader Vic’s Emeryville really pushed it over the edge. Now, I could’ve gone to the trouble of getting a job behind the stick at Trader Vic’s, or tried to find some old time bartenders from Don the Beachcomber’s, but that damned well sounds like a lot of work. Though I won’t go so far as to accuse the man who cleared this path of working harder than he had to, I’d like to thank Jeff “Beachbum” Berry for laying the historic groundwork so the rest of us can make posts on the internet and sound like we know a damned thing or two.
If you haven’t picked up a tome from this silver-tongued devil of the south pacific, well, you’re just not getting the full picture of the tiki drink phenomenon. Jeff’s books have sent many a mad mixologist through the pantheon of exotic cocktails, with few turning back.
Jeff’s first book, Grog Log, was released in 1998. It contains over 80 tropical drink recipes, and includes many well loved classics, such as the Mai Tai, Navy Grog, Fog Cutter, and Missionary’s Downfall. This book really focused on unlocking the more well known of the Vic and Don cocktails, including a very interesting take on the Zombie.
Intoxica!, the next tiki tome, came out in 2002, and also features just over 80 exotic libations, including the unearthed 1950 “Spievak” Zombie. This book brings in more classics, but also includes quite a few original drinks, often the bum’s interpretations of recipes that were still under lock and key.
After nearly 7 years of mixing and making these classic drinks, Tiki Drink enthusiasts were full of knowledge, and rum, but needed a little something more… solid. So, taking a look at some dusty old books of Trader Vic’s, and researching “authentic” Polynesian cuisine, Jeff brought out his Taboo Table, featuring Tiki Cuisine from Polynesian Restaurants of Yore. Some of the more famed recipes being the Luau Spare Ribs, and Trader Vic’s Bongo Bongo Soup (no baby food spinach included). Of course, there are a few whistle wetters in here as well, including quite a few punches… to help with digestion, of course.
All of the above are now modern day classics, researching down a rich vein of recent history that had faded to its last glimmer. The recipes are there, a lot of lovely illustrations, and even sources and a paragraph or two of the history of the drinks, but what about the restaurants and mixologists behind them? What was it really like “back in the day”, when people were looking forward to the next Martin Denny album, or making reservations at Don the Beachcomber’s. Jeff’s 2007 book Sippin’ Safari finally got Jeff deep into the text. Sippin’ Safari holds within its cover many interviews with Donn Beach’s former bartenders, and other historic figures who may never have graced the headlines, but sure gave the customers a thing or two to talk about.
The Bum’s next book, Beach Bum Berry Remixed, will feature a revisit of recipes from the Grog Log and Intoxica, new photography, modern exotic cocktails, and we’re sure a few other surprises. There’s no set publishing date just yet, but “before the end of the year” is all we’ve gotten so far. What can you expect from a Bum? Well, a lot of good reading and drinking material, that’s for sure. Pre-order Beach Bum Berry Remixed from Amazon.com.
Another in the series of Easy Tiki Drinks.
This one’s a Jeff Berry original, out of the Grog Log, the Kapu Kai. In its initial writing, it’s no more than a Daiquiri with Lemon Hart 151 plugged in for a bit of a “supercharge”. Jeff named this one after the now defunct Kapu Kai in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Jeff says…
“Kapu Kai” means “Forbidden Sea.” My thinking was, if you can drink three of these without passing out, then you are permitted to venture on any sea you wish.
I decided to give it a bit of a modification, in homage to this past Thursday Drink Night, and the impending birthday of our own beloved Kaiser Penguin, by upping the portions, per The Bum’s suggestion, and changing the drink up to a swizzle. Is it still easy tiki? Well, if you’re lacking forearms, it might be a bit of a bear, but swift feet can still swizzle.
¢ 3/4 oz Lime Juice
¢ 3/4 oz Gomme Syrup
¢ 1 1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151
Build in tall glass, add crushed ice to fill. Swizzle with spoon or Lele stick until outside of glass begins to frost. Add more crushed ice if needed.
In fair trade for his knowledge, the bum asked that I don’t hold back on the announcement of his upcoming book, Beachbum Berry Remixed.
The book is a compendium of my first two — the Grog Log and Intoxica!– completely revised, updated, and expanded, with over 70 new and newly discovered vintage exotic recipes. It’s called Beachbum Berry Remixed, and will be in full color, with lots of new and vintage drink-pic porn. It’s been 10 years since the Log, and so much has happened since then (including the cocktail revolution that brought us all together) that the books were sorely in need of a makeover. With any luck it’ll be published before the year is out….
So, good news on that front! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any more info from the publisher, but just hold onto yer big dirty hat, any info I get will be passed on as soon as I get it.
Continuing in the series of EZ TIKI drinks, here we have the Jasper’s Jamaican, a fantastic little concoction I first tried when prepping for Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean seminar at last year’s Tales of the Cocktail.
¢ ½ oz Lime Juice
¢ ½ oz Pimento Dram
¢ ¼ tsp Sugar
¢ 1 ¼ Appleton V/X
Shake with Ice and Strain into cocktail glass, top with grated nutmeg.
Not unlike the previous drink in its Daiquiri origins, this drink adds Pimento Dram, a tasty allspice and rum based liqueur that’s best in small portions. Again, and I can’t be blunter about this, the basis of the majority of tiki drinks is going to be the daiquiri… Hmm, a family tree would be a good idea, I’ll have to talk to my graphics department about that. The Pimento Dram, now avaialable in retail as St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, adds a lot of rich spice and has elements of clove, ginger…well, it’s called allspice for a reason! Pimento Dram was a fairly popular ingredient with Don the Beachcomber, making it into a few of his drinks, and even his famed Don’s Spices #2, which makes for a fantastic Nui Nui.
I’ve got a few more drinks coming up for you folks in the coming weeks, stay tuned!
Oh Stevi, what have ye done? What mad Pandora’s box has been opened as the entire cocktail blogosphere confesses their sins as Lemon Drop downing Sour Apple Pucker Fans. Okay, it hasn’t gotten that bad, but there are a few confessors in this MxMo Guilty Pleasures that I’m on the borderline of giving a comforting hug, a Vieux CarrÃ©, and a brief smack upside the head.
Of course, I deserve a bit of a smack up the head myself (okay, an entire reenactment of the Three Stooges career, but anyway), as I’ve got my own niggling demons of self-doubt, as splayed before you below.
Okay, so I’ve been known to arrive at a party or two, here and there, when the need to roam outside of the Galley seizes me. Inevitably, my repayment for the inevitable smashed window or glass is, of course, bringing something for the Tiki-lovin’ tipplers (I keep my friends close, and drunk on Rum). Being the lazy bastard I am though entails bringing something simple, universally delicious, and that can be made without any more effort than I’d be able to put into it after the first few rounds. My fall back is Jeff Berry’s Coconaut, as published in the Grog Log.
- 8 oz Coconut Cream
- 2 oz Lime Juice
- 7 oz Myers Dark
Fill Blender with Ice and Blend for 20 seconds or until smooth. Recipe serves 2-4. Garnish with Lime Shell filled with 151 for a “Flaming Re-entry”
“But Trader Tiki,” as one may ask, “what is so guilty about that? It’s Tiki, it’s by a noted mixologist, what could cause you such shame?”. Well, ladies and gentlemen, fasten your monocles for these shocking revelations.
Revelation the first: I *LOVE* Tiki Mugs. You may not have noticed that I don’t do a helluva lot of pics with tiki mugs. Part of this is due to my, shall we say, collector’s dire fear of losing them to the concrete floor of the galley forever. I’ll make excuses about wanting to honor the drink, show color, frost… bah, whatever. Give me something in ceramic and I’m a happy fellow. For all the this and thats about it, Tiki mugs have been around for quite some time, and evoke a lot of happy memories for me. You can actually see a few of my collection over at Ooga Mooga. There are a few unlisted though, everyone has their own private stash of something.
Revelation the second: Fire Fire Fire! Set a beverage on fire, chances are you’ll see my eyes light up. Like so many of the other native urges, it’s just a primal thing. I do a few fire flicking tricks at home and abroad, and know the pain of not being quick enough with the 151, but it still amazes me when I see a creative new way to set liquid ablaze.
Revelation the third and final: Coconut Cream! It seems whether a person dislikes coconut, tiki drinks, rum, or anything else I’m generally passionate about, they love anything made with coconut cream, and I’m just as big a goober about it. It’s the Tiki equivalent of driving a marathon, no complexity or mysterious combinations, just straight up front sugary goodness.
There are a few other things hiding in there… specifically calling for Meyers’ Dark which I once rallied so against, the simplicity of it, the (oh noes!) use of a blender… but no, I fear I can take no more of this confessional. At least, and I can say this with all truth, I am not a Jimmy Buffet fan. There, I’ve taken a little bit back there, and feel a bit better. Here’s to hoping my pride gets back into strength for the next Mixology Monday. See you then!
For my own, and to be made very brief, foray into this Hulabalooza we call Mixology Monday, the subject is Rum, and is being hosted here at Tradertiki.com! I have decided to descend down the dark path of some pitch black and fiery rums, and their cocktail interpretations as developed by Don the Beachcomber. Each drink features only the one rum, and not the usual blended variety of rums Don was known for, but the man could take one note and make a symphony (and a few bucks as well).
The first rum up is the ever-increasingly hard to find Aged Martinique. In this instance, I am using St. James Extra old, one of my favorite mixing rums, known for its smoky, spicy and wooden notes. I am, alas, an ounce or so away from another empty bottle. This is my sacrifice to you, Don the Beachcomber’s Donga Punch (Sippin’ Safari, page 35). Taking notes from the spiciness of the dram, Don added a mellowed and sweet spice with his Don’s Mix, a blend of Grapefruit and Cinnamon. Unfortunately, it was never written down exactly what grapefruit was used, but I feel that Melogold tends to work wonders in all things tiki. There is the aftertaste of bitter, but none of the harshness that can come with the red of its kind. When you’re working with this much lime, one souring ingredient can be quite enough. Of course, lime makes its way into the drink, giving the palate a refreshing breeze to open it up to feel the notes of the rum. This is a beautiful drink, and a strong example of Don’s mastery of mixing with Rum.
Next on the list to try, the Ron Pompero Aniversario, making its way to take place of Infierno, a long defunct 20 years aged Rum of Cuban Origin. This is a very dark and sweet aged rum, a product of Venezuela. It has plenty of the dark smoke and wood tones, as well as an almost tangy maple. The Aniversario pairs very well with a nice cigar, Partagas Black if you’ve got ‘em. Don took this Rum, well, the Infierno, and matched it with two of its best friends, Gomme and Lime, in a drink, very aptly titled Rum, Gomme, and Lime (Sippin’ Safari, page 40). Put in white or gold rum, you have a nice Daiquiri. Match the Gomme and Lime with a well-aged dark rum, and you’ve got a testament to the very foundations of Tiki culture, the modern cocktail, and Liquor et al. Yes, that’s plenty of ice filling that cup… the rum can take it, and still smile all the way down your throat.
Finally, in the cavalcade of Rums and Libations is that great old bugger that adds depth and kick to just about anything, Lemon Hart 151, from Lemon Hart. This well-utilized Demerara Rum tends to make its way across the Tiki drink spectrum, mixed in everything from its own 151 Swizzle, to Don’s infamous Zombie. By itself, this stuff is one helluva kick, smooth up front with plenty of burn in the back. The flavor, well, to be honest is about as smokey as an overused ashtray. Once put into a glass with a few ingredients, however, this spirit opens up like nothing else, adding depth and warmth and a true spirit of the islands to all it touches. The drink I’m putting this sucker in tonight is, for the third time on this site, the 151 Swizzle (Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log, page 45), consistently my last drink of the night whenever I visit Forbidden Island. Spice, syrup, lime, Herbsaint, and plenty of ice round out the spirit, giving it more sweetness, longevity, and enhancing the natural flavors. It calms the 151 down, and brings it right back up into full flavor. It’s a fantastic drink I highly recommend.
Well, that does it for this MxMo Rum! entry. I hope you enjoy the wrap up to be posted tomorrow. As of this time, there are 27 entries, and still a few heavy hitters that haven’t pitched in. I can stay up as late as you can fellas, I’ve got plenty of bottles of 151 left.