Just to set the mood, I want to lead off Tiki Month 2011 with a cocktail, the Nui Nui. This is a Don the Beachcomber creation from 1937, and tastes like it.
- 1 part fresh lime juice
- 1 part fresh orange juice
- 1/2 part Trader Tiki’s Cinnamon Syrup
- 1/2 part Trader Tiki’s Don’s Spices #2
- 4 parts amber rum
- 1-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 8 parts ice
Combine in a blender and flash blend (~5 seconds). The consistency should be chunky slush, not like a smoothie. Serve in an appropriate vessel. The classic garnish is a honking long orange peel.
Of course the true cocktailistas among you may want to make your own syrups, and good on you if you do. Don’s Spices #2 is believed to be an equal mix of vanilla syrup and Allspice Dram if you want to give it a go. (I specify Trader Tiki’s syrups because he makes good stuff, during Tiki Month I’m going to need lots of different syrups and I don’t want to make it all myself, and because I like Blair and am happy to pimp his product.)
Cinnamon, Vanilla, and Allspice are all strong, exotic flavors, and the Nui Nui presents them well. It’s not the easiest drink to make, however, as I’ve found that even minute adjustments in the amount of the syrups can really effect the flavor and balance of the final mix.
I find this drink to be fairly emblematic of the early Tiki drinks, that were heavy on the exotica. These flavors would have been practically unheard of in drinks in the 30’s and 40s, and would have been critical in creating the vibe of foreign, even alien, excitement that drove Tiki in its early heyday. Don’s drinks in particular have this sort of flavor profile. I’ve found a number of his recipes where he’s gone too far for me with the spices, but this one is just right.
(Source: Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Safari)