Happy Tiki Week here at The Menu Meme. I have been building and combining many types of rum with many more combinations of sugar, juice, and fruit, and will run a Tiki recipe each day this week. Forget what you think you know about ‘tropical’ drinks. Most of the recipes I will share are over 50 years old and have been served at some of the finest Tiki Bars in the country–because that was a big thing in the 40’s-60’s (and coming back, as is everything ‘cocktail’). So buy some rum, scour your local liquor emporium for orgeat and other weird ingredients, juice some citrus and serve up something different in the dog days of summer.
The Mai Tai is possibly the most renown tiki cocktail, yet the origins and inventor of the drink have been a controversy for decades. This is the recipe of Trader Vic’s Oakland bar in 1944. All the recipes are from the exhaustive research contained in books by Beachbum Berry.
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce orange Curacao
1/4 ounce orgeat syrup
1/4 ounce simple syrup
1 once dark Jamaican rum (Myers dark is good)
1 ounce amber Martinique rum (any amber rum works here. I use El Dorado 5yr amber)
Put all ingredients into a shaker with plenty of crushed ice, and shake well. Pour unstrained into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with mint sprigs and a lime.
Tiki Week Sidebar: Weird Tiki Ingredients
All of the Tiki recipes I will share this week have several unusual ingredients that can be found in large liquor stores.
A quick rundown, left to right:
- Falernum: A ginger lime syrup commercially available. Not sure I’d buy the brand I have pictured again, however It will be a year before I use this stuff up!
- Bitters: Many classic tiki drinks call for Angostura bitters. I have been substituting Bittercube’s Jamaica #1 with excellent results.
- Nutmeg: Buy whole and grate as a garnish
- Allspice Dram: Also known as Pimento Liquor in several classic tiki cocktails. The St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram is the only one I have found (quite regularly) in liquor stores
- Pineapple Juice: I use the Dole small cans that come in a 6 pack. More on juice tomorrow…..
- Orgeat: A almond syrup. I use the Small Hand Foods brand, which can be hard to find. Other commercial varieties of varying quality are available (orgeat in shatterproof bottles = probably not good) Other substitutes include mixing equal parts almond milk and simple syrup, or using almond syrup used in coffee, like the Monin brand.
- Pernod: An anise flavored liquor, Herbsaint is another alternative. A classic Tiki mixologist, Don The Beachcomber frequently finishes his creations with 6 drops of Pernod, which is why I keep it in a dropper.
- Coco Lopez Coconut Creme: Really no other brand works. Classic tiki recipes do not contain coconut flavored rum. Coco Lopez does this.
Have any questions about Tiki drinks and their ingredients? Ask away, and I will do my best to answer!