Can you feel the heat coming? As summer draws nearer, thoughts immediately turn to relaxing on the beach, the smell of the barbeque, and late summer evenings sipping on a bellini… or a strawberry daiquiri… OK, let’s simplify with a beautiful summer cocktail made with rum, gin or bourbon. Feels like heaven. But when we discuss cocktails these days, the word “simple” is far from the truth. Or is it?
Summer cocktails come in so many forms. Common words thrown around are frozen, shaken, juleps, sours, tiki, sparking, and flip. Pardon, but did you say tiki? Based upon a romanticized conception of primitive Polynesian tropical culture, the first “Tiki Bar,” named Donn the Beachcomber, was created in Los Angeles in 1933 by Ernest Gantt. The bar served a wide variety of exotic cocktails, mostly made with rum, featuring the popular Zombie and Sumatra Kula (rum and fruit juice- based cocktails). Included in the Polynesian theme was the bar décor, which displayed palm trees, tiki torches, and many Polynesian artifacts like tiki masks. In 1936, Trader Vic’s was created in Oakland, California, where the quintessential tiki cocktail, the “Mai Tai,” was later created. Tiki was spreading like a Zombie apocalypse… sorry, but I had to.
So, we know the tiki cocktail culture is not a new one, but it is seeing a revival right in our own backyard. A few years back, Shawn Soole, then Bar Master at Clive’s Classic Lounge in Victoria, B.C., now owner of Little Jumbo in the same town, began to redefine the tiki cocktail culture. He brought out the classic recipes, the tiki masks, cups decorated with tiki masks, grass skirts, and so on, while adding some new tiki cocktails of his own recipe.
More recently, the team at Clive’s, which includes Bar Masters Katie McDonald and Jayce Kadyschuk, have literally taken the Clive’s tiki torch and run with it to keep the spirit alive with their annual spring “Tiki Party and Summer Cocktail Launch.”
The beach is heating up, the barbeque is lit, the summer tunes are blasting, and we just bought this year’s fabulous swimwear. It looks like a fantastic time to have a tiki party and get your tiki on!
Here are some fabulous tiki cocktails from the pros you might want to try this summer…
PEACH AND DAISY:
(Nate Caudle at Little Jumbo)
– 2oz Pimm’s
– Heavy bar spoon Giffard peach syrup – 2/3oz cola syrup
– 1/2oz (15ml) lemon juice
– 3 dashes creole bitters
(Katie McDonald at Clive’s Classic Lounge)
– 1 1/2oz Havana Club 3 year white rum – 1/2oz Kraken rum
– 1oz guava juice
– 3/4oz lemon juice
– 3/4oz Giffard vanilla syrup – 1/2oz simple syrup
– 1/2oz pineapple juice
Add all ingredients, shake and strain, and serve over crushed ice.
By Stuart Brown inside the 2014 summer issue of NICHE