The Port Light Cocktail, a Columbus Tiki Contribution

Port Light cocktail from the Kahiki in Columbus Ohio
My recent post about the demolition of the Kahiki Supper Club got me to wondering about what contributions, if any, Columbus and the Kahiki had made to the Tiki drink oeuvre. Fortunately, when you wonder things about Tiki, the path to answers is fairly simple….

Google it?

No, silly sockpuppet. Beach Bum Berry it. For a guy who calls himself a bum, he’s put a bit of work into researching the whole Tiki thing. Remixed has not one, but two drinks we owe to those who toiled at the Kahiki in its heyday. The one I want to talk about is the Port Light, a child of Sandro Conti from 1961.

The Port Light is that relative rarity among Tiki drinks, a whiskey-based one. The recipe calls for bourbon, but since I was working on my Crown Royal Black review at the same time, I decided it would be a good way to test the Tiki suitability of the brand.

Canadian whisky for Tiki drinks?
Globally, doesn’t that miss by, um, all the way?

Hey, the original recipes for this supposedly South Pacific movement came from the Caribbean, which misses by, um, most of the way. So I fail to see why I should expect geographical consistency to be any more of a hobgoblin of the Tiki mind than any other kind.

True, the mind of Tiki is indeed gloriously free of any consistency hobgoblins.

Exactly.
Now, a lot of Canadian whiskys are so gentle that they might well become lost among the wildly varied flavors of Tiki-style cocktails. But since Black was specifically designed to hit the Bourbon dance and not be a wallflower, I figured it would be up to the challenge. Here’s the recipe (substitute bourbon for the Black if you want the original):

PORT LIGHT

  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. passion fruit syrup*
  • 1/4 oz. home made grenadine
  • 1 1/2 oz. Crown Royal Black
  • 5 oz ice

Combine in a blender and flash blend for about five seconds, until you have a chunky slush consistency. Pour into the glass of your choice and add ice if needed for fit. (The original recipe calls for a full cup of ice, but that seems like too much to me.)

The resulting drink is one of the more refreshing whisky based drinks I’ve tried, Tiki or otherwise. In fact, I’ve marked the recipe for reuse this Summer when things get sticky. It is not as perfectly balanced as some recipes. I think this is because from a texture standpoint, I just don’t want to use so much ice. And as I learned earlier this month, the amount of ice you use in a blender drink can seriously affect the balance. Still, perfectly balanced or not, it’s perfectly tasty. The flavors go so nicely together, I’m surprised that there aren’t more passion fruit and whiskey recipes. Next time round, I’ll up the grenadine or simply hit it with a quarter ounce of simple syrup.
Or a few of you could make the effort and report back here. I’ve got other drinks to make this month, you know!
Regardless of your deification to helping me with my research, I suggest you give this drink a try. It’s well worth it.

* I’ve been specifying Trader Tiki’s syrups this month for most everything he makes, but the passion fruit syrup is one I don’t have.

About the author

Doug

I am 48 years old, married with two young daughters. My interests are tennis, reading, computers, politics, and of course cocktails. I run a murder mystery party business that caters to both corporate and private events, Killing Time, murder consultants.

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